Motoring bosses have launched a campaign to increase awareness about the latest low-emission diesel car technology.
Launched by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), it is backed by the RAC along with BMW UK, Ford of Britain, Jaguar Land Rover and Volkswagen.
It will lobby policy makers and those considering imposing local measures against diesels, in an attempt to avoid confusing motorists by penalising one fuel technology over another.
The new campaign will include a diesel facts myth-busting guide which motorists can download or pick up in car dealerships.
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 that have applied to new vehicles purchased since 2006 have not delivered all of the reduction in emissions of nitrogen dioxide, 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 conditions.
"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 standard for diesel vehicles, which will apply to all new diesel vehicles from this September, will not be delivered."
A recent YouGov survey found that 87% of UK adults are unaware of new EU vehicle emission standards that all cars must meet from September.
A further 54% incorrectly blame cars and commercial vehicles as the biggest cause of air pollution in the UK - with just 19% correctly stating that it is power stations producing the most harmful nitrogen oxides (NOx).
Mr Bizley added: "It would be wrong to penalise motorists retrospectively for choosing 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."
Copyright Press Association 2015