‘Anti-diesel agenda’ threatens CO2 targets

‘Anti-diesel agenda’ threatens CO2 targets
The government’s “anti-diesel” messaging could prevent the UK meeting proposed C02 emissions targets, a new report suggests.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says “confusion over government policy” has contributed to rising C02 levels by causing a 17.1% decline in sales of diesel cars – which produce less CO2 than petrol vehicles.

The new report found that average CO2 emissions for new cars rose 0.8% in 2017 – despite an annual reduction of 5.9% being necessary to reach the existing CO2 targets lined up for 2021.

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By this time, average C02 emissions from new cars should be no more than 95g/km. This figure currently stands at 121g/km.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “The industry shares the government’s vision of a low carbon future and is investing to get us there – but we can’t do it overnight; nor can we do it alone.”

The report claims inconsistency in government messaging over diesel vehicles is to blame. Back in 2001, incentives were being offered by Gordon Brown’s Labour government to switch to diesel in a bid to lower CO2 emissions.

However, in last year’s Autumn budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a tax hike on all new diesel vehicles which don’t meet Euro 6 RDE2 standards.

The SMMT is now calling for more “consistency from government in messages to consumers and long-term incentives to deliver shared ambitions on climate change”.

The report also proposed all new cars must emit 12.6% less C02 than the previous model. They must produce a third less than their equivalent model from 2000.

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Mr Hawes added that a lack of consumer confidence in going electric is also pushing people towards petrol vehicles.

He explained: “The anti-diesel agenda has set back progress on climate change, while electric vehicle demand remains disappointingly low amid consumer concerns around charging infrastructure availability and affordability.

“To accelerate fleet renewal, motorists must have the confidence to invest in the cleanest cars for their needs – however they are powered.”

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