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Euro 6 emissions standard

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has launched a campaign to publicise the latest range of super-clean Euro 6 diesels. This is to counter growing anti-diesel rhetoric in recent months, something the car industry body describes as “misguided”.

All new-to-market diesel cars meet Euro 6 emissions standards, and every single diesel car on sale will have to meet them by law from 1 September 2015.

Has the recent demonisation of diesel been fair?

The SMMT’s pro-diesel campaign, backed by CEOs from BMW UK, Ford of Britain, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen, has been launched to “challenge the increasing demonisation of diesel”.

The organisation has found that almost 9 in 10 UK adults are unaware of Euro 6 emissions standards – but over half blamed cars and commercial vehicles as the biggest cause of air pollution in the UK. This is incorrect, said the SMMT: power stations are the country’s biggest polluter, but less than 1 in 5 UK adults actually know that.

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It would take 42 million Euro 6 diesel cars – four times the number of diesel cars on the road – to emit the same amount of harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollutants as one coal-fired power station; there are currently 15 coal-fired power stations in the UK. With fossil fuel reserves depleting renewable fuels are increasingly being developed. Here are the eight fuels of the future that could be powering your car in decades to come.

But exactly what is a Euro 6 diesel?

In brief, it is a car that meets super-strict emissions regulations that came into force in September 2014. Read more about the Euro 6 emissions standard for diesel cars.

Why are Euro 6 diesels such a step on?

Meeting Euro 6 emissions regulations is, with a few exceptions, relatively straightforward for petrol engines. For diesel cars though, it is much more challenging. Read more.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Diesel engines are generally more efficient than their petrol equivalent, though the gap is closing. The selection of diesel vehicles by an increasing  proportion of new car buyers in recent years has made a significant contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emissions and has also reduced fuel bills for their drivers.

"There is evidence that the previous generation of diesel emission standards (Euro 4 and 5) that have applied to new vehicles purchased since 2006 have not delivered all of the reduction in emissions of nitrogen dioxide and have not been as great as forecast because the internationally agreed tests that the vehicles have to pass have not adequately reflected real world driving.

"These testing procedures are being addressed by the international standards community and there are no reasons to believe that the reductions in oxides of nitrogen associated with the new Euro 6 standard for diesel vehicles, which will apply to all new diesel vehicles from this September, will not be delivered.

“However, it would be wrong to penalise motorists retrospectively for chosing a diesel vehicle when they believed it to be the best choice from an environmental perspective because of its low carbon dioxide emissions. Motorists should therefore continue to select the vehicle type that best fits with their needs.”