Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Blog : What happened to Issigonis’ Mini world? – Part 2

Back in September 2012, I penned a blog asking where had all the small cars gone and why were people driving around in diesel-powered behemoths. I concluded that the price of diesel fuel had created a situation where it was perceived that it was just as economical to drive around in a large diesel car as it was a petrol-engined supermini.

This has become known as the ‘dash for diesel’, as the British Government encouraged motorists to go for the more economical diesel engine through tax breaks as a way of prolonging the planet’s natural resources. To be fair to the decision makers, it was a policy that had been embraced by other European Governments a lot earlier. This was much to the chagrin of UK diesel owners, who used to pay more at the pumps than for petrol.

Now I am not going to go into the politics of this decision, that is for others, but to examine the long-term effects.

Why the dash for diesel?

The ‘dash for diesel’ has changed the UK motoring scene completely. Petrol is for classic cars, motorcycles and superminis driven by new drivers and pensioners. Diesel completely dominates the scene. Initially, it was fleet buyers and those affluent enough to afford a new car who benefited but, as the supply of diesel cars filtered down into the used car chain, the general populous began to enjoy big car luxury with small car running costs.

The Government had, in effect, handed the great mass of the motoring public a tax break which they then fully exploited. If I look at the official data for one of my own barges, a 2004 Jaguar S-Type (above) with the 4.2-litre V8 petrol engine I find it has a fuel economy of 25 mpg. The corresponding 2.7 litre V6 diesel model attains 42 mpg, a whopping 68 per cent improvement in fuel economy.

The more common S-Type found on the roads is the AJ-V6 3.0-litre petrol variant, Jaguar only claimed a mere 26 mpg for that, which means the diesel version is 61 per cent more economical. The diesel S-Type might not be as refined as the V8, but it does offer comfort, an excellent climate control system and built in sat-nav – all this combined with the fuel economy of a 1990s Rover Metro fitted with the 1.4 litre K-Series engine.

I kid you not. What is there not to like about going diesel?

Really… what’s not to like?

Diesel even makes the gargantuan L322 Range Rover a viable used car. While some people may baulk at the 17-18 mpg offered by the 4.4-litre V8 petrol, the diesel options are more appealing. The smaller 3.0- and 3.6-litre diesels give about 25 mpg, but the 4.4-litre TDV8 diesel offers 30mpg, a 66% improvement over the equivalent petrol variant.

On a modern car like the best selling Nissan Qashqai (above), the 1.5-litre diesel is 48 per cent more economical than the 1.2-litre petrol, which itself offers an impressive 50 mpg.

However, the British Government’s transport policy has been plagued with blunders over the decades. Remember the drastic pruning of the railway system, which was regarded as being an expensive relic of the Victorian era and had no future in a modern Britain? Now rail usage is at record levels and the capacity lost is sorely needed.

Was our love of diesel a mistake?

Now we are told that the ‘dash for diesel’ was a mistake, that it has caused excess pollution and that diesel usage has to be curbed as a matter of urgency. Local government is actively looking at introducing financial penalties for those who drive dirty diesels in major cities.

While I am not going into the reasons for this apparent U-turn in the establishment mindset, it does pose central government a major problem. Getting rid of diesels means impoverishing the motorist/electorate by forcing them back into petrol cars which are 50 per cent less economical. How much has the economy benefited from motorists having more money in their pocket because they made the switch to diesel?

For many people in rural areas the diesel option may still be popular for years to come, but places like London might become no go areas. Governments dating back to the time of Ernest Marples have found that upsetting motorists is not a good idea, so what does the future hold?

Will diesel survive or will there be a gradual drift back to petrol and Alec Issigonis’ Mini world?

Ian Nicholls

Ian Nicholls

Born in Bedfordshire but now residing in Norfolk, Ian Nicholls is an ardent BL enthusiast. Currently he owns a Jaguar and two classic Minis. A stalwart of the Norfolk Mini Owners Club for nearly a decade he is an enthusiast for all things Issigonis. A stickler for historical accuracy he has recently performed the marathon task of mining the online newspaper articles for all BMC>MG related stories. Ian is unable to help with technical queries – he pays other people to fix his cars!
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36 Comments on "Blog : What happened to Issigonis’ Mini world? – Part 2"

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  1. mm says:

    The mistake in the “dash for diesel” is the error of placing public trust in the car manufacturers, drivers were encouraged to select diesel engines over petrol by taxation measures, however, those diesel cars were supposed to be fitted with fully functional emissions control systems.
    Official testing performed post the VW diesel revelation show how ineffective the diesel car is at suppressing its tailpipe gases, the latest specification diesels were tested and on average were emitting 500 mg/km of toxic health-hazardous Nox, 500mg being 6 times their Euro 6 specification, petrol cars were within their Eu 6 limit.

    Due to the more stringent limit for the petrol car, a single Eu 6 diesel is as toxic to humans as a total of 10 petrol cars

  2. Jonathan Pallant says:

    If you look through the car magazines at the long-term tests, it’s rare to see a big diesel car getting than 40 mpg, despite the ‘official’ results and it seems to me that turbocharged vehicles are worse than regular vehicles. Perhaps this is because turbocharged vehicles are easier to tune for on-boost performance / off-boost economy. I see this as a failure of Government (both national and EU) to ensure the official tests were at least somewhat representative of the real world – those big diesels can probably get through mostly off-boost at impractically low revs which is quite unlike how they are commonly driven.

  3. Maestroman says:

    I studied Transport Policy as part of my degree at the time Government started the dash for diesel. We discussed this in class and it was clear that it was well known that diesel emissions were much worse for human beings. However, the Government’s and to be fair the wider world main concern at the time was the rising level of CO2. Thereby putting the stability of the planet before the survival of the human race! Personally, I have never liked diesels, too smelly and noisy.

    • hybrid says:

      The problems of hazardous diesel tailpipe emissions were indeed known by government ministry scientists at “dash for diesel” time, however the diesel car makers claimed they had the technology to solve the tailpipe problem, in fact they received considerable loans and grants from the European Central Bank and others for R & D into the clean-up technology, together with an extended 10+ year time frame in which to incorporate the new technology.

    • Jemma says:

      Half the problem isn’t the diesels but that people aren’t trained how to drive them. I never drove a diesel until years after my test, and the number of people who drive them like a petrol engine in (formerly) clouds of black smoke is depressing. We’ve had XUD turbo diesels, HDI diesels, a Mercedes (which is so fast it’s literally dangerous) and my parents currently have a new c3 diesel, Ducato camper diesel and the 10+ year old Mercedes C diesel estate that has a queue around the block waiting to buy it.. It’s still on original battery.. (although it ate the turbo under warranty). 44mpg average from a 3 litre automatic – what’s not to like?
      But here is the clincher – they’re driven like diesel cars should be, using the torque, not revving the nuts off them like most people do..
      Diesels are as has been said cleaner like for like in CO2, are more fuel efficient by reason of design, last longer generally and with some additional systems are better/equal at NOx which incidentally is another human issue, not a majorly important ghg.
      And if you want a good look at what can be done with diesel.. Go to ecomodder.com & look at the Arba Centurion thread, 18hp,65mph & 3 passengers capacity.

      • hybrid says:

        Jemma, re your statement diesel engines better/ equal at Nox is simply not correct, please study the difference between petrol and diesel engines and how their in-cylinder processes operate.

        Diesel in-cylinder combustion takes place under conditions of high-pressure and high-temperature, a reaction which leads to significant by-product of nitrogen combining with oxygen .. Nox.

        Petrol engines operate at much lower compression pressures and lower combustion temperatures, far less nitrogen and oxygen combine to form Nox..

        By way of those lesser conditions of combustion the petrol engine creates modest quantities of Nox which can be controlled.

        The greater conditions of combustion of the diesel engine causes the creation of far greater quantities of Nox.

        Now the problem, since the diesel inherently creates high Nox then to reliably and consistently deal with such, we must install a Nox treatment exhaust system of considerable cost and complexity, a bad proposition to the car maker and car buyer, hence the VW solution , programme code within the ECU to detect the official test conditions, and temporarily treat the Nox exhaust emissions while gaining a certification pass

  4. Christopher Storey says:

    The irony of the current panic is that the diesel predominantly is more efficient in urban driving because of its higher effective compression ratio at low power . Outside town running the true difference in consumption between diesel and petrol cars of the same weight is probably no more than 25% . I have no idea whether the fears about nitric oxide , bordering on hysteria, have any real basis in fact, but all one can say is that despite the preponderance of diesel vehicles, the air in our cities is immeasurably cleaner than 40 years ago. Incidentally, I have no axe to grind, never having owned a diesel vehicle

  5. 406v6 406v6 says:

    Apart from the pollution aspect, the villain in this as far as I’m concerned is the totally unrealistic fuel consumption testing regime. Most small cars get nowhere near the figures in the official test and the public has been massively conned. In the real world large engines working with a middling load are almost as economical as these tiny screamers that are working their guts out at normal loads but the big engine is disproportionally penalised in the tests.

    Another factor to consider is the higher repair costs with expensive replacement parts for these small so-called economy engines.

    The public have been denied a valid choice between engines because of skewed and unrealistic official tests.

  6. Will M says:

    I recently traded in a petrol turbo Saab with a thirst (25mpg) and a high tax bill (£305) for a VW group diesel getting 45+mpg and £20 a year tax, I can see why people flocked to diesel. (Though no doubt I’ll have higher servicing costs once EGRs etc. inevitably go)

    Annoying having just bought it to see the gov U turn on anti-diesel rhetoric, including increased urban charges, is annoying.

    The diesel fiasco reminds me of the 80s catalytic convertor “fix” which turned out to be a stop gap and increased CO2 emissions.

    I was actually borderline mileage between it worth my while getting a diesel vs a petrol, but wanted an autobox – petrol autoboxes tend to either be luxury saloons or tiny 1 litre citycar hatchbacks.

    • Londoner says:

      I understand your annoyance over the Govt U-turn on diesel cars, but surely your feelings should be directed at VW who sold the defective vehicle. If you were a USA citizen, VW would are legally obliged to buy back and provide financial compensation to owners such as yourself. Here in Europe, where consumer laws are weak, and VW and others have in great influence in the courts and parliaments, VW have so far evaded the consequences of their misdeeds.

      • Ferdinand P. says:

        Not sure where to start with that one!

        Will seems to be rightly delighted with the fuel consumption of his VW, why would he have cause to direct annoyance at them?

        Why would anyone in the USA or elsewhere in the world be entitled to compensation for buying a VW in 2017? The effect of the “emissions scandal” on worldwide VAG sales and used car values shows how little concern it is to the buying public.

        Would you care to explain why you think the government have U-turned on diesel cars? Cars like Will’s will continue to enjoy very low road tax, new diesel cars have had the road tax advantage removed in order to arrest the loss of revenue to the treasury but have not been penalised in comparisone with petrol and hybrid cars.

        Sure, the newspapers are full of reports of cities taxing older diesel cars to enter, or to ban them all together. Less well reported is that this applies to older (pre Euro5) petrol engined cars too.

        Viewed as a whole the emissions regulations of the last few decades are a logical progression;
        1990s – mandatory catalytic converters to reduce unburned hydrocarbons (cause of smog) as well as CO and NOx
        2000s – taxation incentives for cars with low CO2 emissions to reduce greenhouse gasses, effects of global warming.
        2010s – prohibition of the most polluting cars from the most populous areas to incentivise the move to low tailpipe emissions cars

        To me that looks not so much a U-turn, more like a journey in one direction towards a cleaner destination.

        • Londoner says:

          Agreed, we are heading in the general direction of a cleaner direction, lessening pollution which is harmful to health, ie the Clean Air Acts of the 1950s, banning of leaded petrol in the 1990s, but in towns and cities the solution of the diesel car has proved to be a problem due to a policy of falsification of emissions data by the car makers. The Vw scandal in the USA triggered tests on a wide range of diesel cars which revealed the scale of the falsification, The typical Eu6 diesel was 6 times over the Eu6 figure for the toxic gas Nox, a harmful gas which is believed to cause a significant number if premature deaths among adults and health problems in young children. The Eu6 cars were within their more stringent Nox limits, a conclusion for the test figures: a single Eu6 diesle had the toxicity of 10 Eu6 petrol cars.
          It is disingenuous and cynical to suggest that the U turn is to grab cash from the drivers pocket. In London Nox level exposure to humans breach World Health Organisation limits by a factor of 3 and the Uk will be fined for this matter.

          • bartelbe says:

            I am cynical about this, because with high new car sales the simple solution is to change the taxes on new cars to remove new diesel from the roads. Ten years later problem solved.

            So why isn’t that solution being offered? Simple, this a tax grab by councils and being exploited by the green lobby. The later hates cars and car drivers and sees this as a way of charging us off the road. In a country with an appalling public transport system.

            Trust me, when the charges are introduced they will find excuses to hit petrol and other vehicles. This is a tax grab.

  7. David 3500 says:

    I drive a diesel-powered MG ZR which was acquired new in late 2006. At the time there were concerns over the reliability of the alternative petrol engine while the appeal of better fuel economy from the L Series was hard to resist.

    In the end it hardly racked up much mileage to justify the extra outlay for an oil-burner, averaging under 3,000 miles a year (total mileage to date is just 25,000 miles). Over eighty per cent of all journeys are over 30 miles long. Average fuel economy is around 50MPG although on one occasion I did manage to achieve 60MPG! Since Day one I have kept a record of how much fuel has been put in at the pumps, together with the mileage showing on the odometer. This has enabled me to work out my average fuel consumption.

    Needless to say I was not disappointed that my one-off figure of 60MPG was 7MPG less than the extra-urban figure quoted in the sales brochure.

  8. daveh says:

    It is funny how diesel is getting bad press when actually a recent study has shown that most petrol engines also do not match their tests – testing vehicles on roads in Aberdeen showed this. In fact it showed that Petrol cars are actually high pollutants on n/ox when they are cold running. The same study also showed that even brands fluctuated with the amount of n/ox produced – Audi A3 and A4s compared in Euro 3,4 and 5 series went in up and down in the opposite direction, which as the study pointed out is probably due to lack of maintenance and wear of engine on each car.
    The problem is most commercial vehicles be it buses, lorries or vans are diesel and the number of these have increased as much as diesel cars, especially with the increase in online shopping. The cars are probably a small amount of the problem considering most of these vehicles are powered by large and sometimes less modern engines and veritably poor maintenance.

  9. hybrid says:

    The most advanced technique for controlling the toxic tailpipe Nox is the Adblue / SCR method when heated urea based fluid is injected into the exhaust stream. In an employment court deposition by a senior diesel engineer sacked by VW, the engineer revealed when correctly calibrated for USA emissions, the VW Tiguan ussed a litre of Adblue every 65 – 70 miles. Adding the cost of Adblue consumed to the fuel bill effectively negated the savings of diesel fuel over petrol.

  10. Ian Nicholls says:

    I would just like to comment that my Jaguar S-type is very green…….

  11. Glenn Aylett says:

    I made the change to diesel in 2000, when the fuel was slightly cheaper than petrol, and the cars were far less complicated. Compared with the 1.5 litre Proton I had prior to that, the difference in fuel consumption with a 1.9 SDi Ibiza was considerable, about 15 mpg. Also for all the Ibiza wasn’t a ball of fire, it was quite a relaxed cruiser on long journeys and could easily do over 60 mpg on long journeys. You can see why many people made the change.
    However, the rising price of diesel, the cars becoming more expensive and components like DPFs failing, persuaded me back to petrol and as someone who mostly drives B segment( Fiesta sized) cars and does 9000 miles a year, there is absolutely no point in me going back to diesel.

  12. Paul says:

    Issigonis Mini world was 1956. The year of the Suez crisis and the year BMC decided it needed a new small car. When the UK was only just starting to emerge from post war austerity. 60 years on and rationing is a very distant memory, we live in houses with central heating, double glazing and ensuite bathrooms and we don’t eat bread and dripping for tea and holiday at Butlins in Bognor Regis. Society is far more affluent, aspirational and ambitious than it was 60 years ago. “Ordinary” people can easily access cars like the Quasquai shown above and don’t need to drive round in tiny, slow, noisy, leaky contraptions like the 1959 Mini. Surely that’s a good thing isn’t it?

    • Glenn Aylett says:

      In 1959, less than one in three households owned a car and the ones that did often owned elderly, unpleasant cars like a 1949 Ford Popular as this was all they could afford and only the seriously well off could afford a new Rover( the aspirational brand of its day as German premium brands were unknown then).
      Times change, when I was a teen in the early eighties, a Ford with a Ghia badge and the requisite equipment like velour seats and the Ghia badge wasa sign you’d arrived, but now it has to be either something German or a crossover like a Qashqai.

    • technician says:

      Also we should acknowledge the production engineers who have striven with manufacturing techniques for creating “more product for less money”, making better cars available to the ordinary person.
      The changes in price and specification are not as obvious as the phenomenon of the laptop computer, from £1000 to £100 since 1990.
      The semiconductor industry has Moore’s Law, an observation made in 1965 that manufactured semiconductor density doubles with a cycle period of two years, (therefore specification improves for lower cost).

      Is there a Moore’s law for car manufacturing and what is the cycle period?

  13. ChrisKK ChrisK says:

    I never believed that diesel was any ‘greener’, than petrol: you only have to drive to work in a British city to work that out, but I do feel that many people were misled by clueless politicians. Diesel smoke mixed with pollen is especially horrible this time of year.

    Diesels can be good to drive, but they are also expensive to maintain long-term, especially for second or third owners who may well be less likely to be able to afford the inevitable DPF filter or EGR valve change.

    I agree with Glenn A above. For those of us that do not have a long commute and are fortunate to have a low mileage classic to tinker with, a small petrol car makes sense. 50 MPG average real life consumption and £30 road tax. I can’t do over 50 mph most days so it makes no difference.

    • hybrid says:

      “Clueless politicians” please do not blame the politicians for the dieselgate scandal, the politicians were not the programmers who wrote the special ECU software to cheat the emissions tests, nor the management who authorised its use. Even when caught “red-handed” by the USA Epa who confronted Vw with powerful evidence of the fraud, VW pursued a policy of evasion and denial to the point of criminality and perjury. It took the action of an Vw employee who blew the whistle which forced Vw to reveal their deceit.

  14. maestrowoff says:

    There’s a great episode of Top Gear from a few years ago, in which they did an economy run. The real stand out was the X350 XJ6 diesel, which did amazing mpg with Clarkson at the wheel putting his foot down on the Motorway. This explains why virtually every “normal” luxury car or SUV is diesel powered (other than the hot versions)

    The glory days of diesel seem to be over, though it has to be noted that the new generation of high efficiency small turbo petrol engines also seem to produce worrying high levels of NOx in the REAL WORLD.

    Indeed, a massive failure has been the whole regulatory regime of testing cars, which is open to fraudulent abuse (e.g. VW), but even without that is clearly producing results which are not realistic measure of real world performance, whether for MPG, CO2 or NOx.

  15. LeonB USA says:

    In the USA, most commercial vehicles that have a gross weight of vehicle and load of 7,000 pounds and almost all over 10,000 pounds gross have diesels. Only at tiny number of cars and SUV have diesels, some luxury SUV and crossovers are getting them to meet corporate average fuel economy rules. Also DEF is almost universally needed in newer diesel vehicles.
    To me we are going to see lower rates of vehicle ownership and leasing as many the middle class and their incomes decline, fewer teens unable to afford driving due to insurance, mandated lessons and pricier cars and more interested in the top smartphone than a car or greater college/uni loan debt, high housing costs, more wanting to live in urban or inner suburban areas so don’t need a car.

    • Glenn Aylett says:

      America is unusual. They class a large pick up truck as a car and their two best selling cars are pick up trucks. Also while over here they’d almost always have a turbodiesel with acceptable fuel economy, in America they’re nearly all powered by V8s or large six cylinder petrol engines that are lucky to see 20 mpg.
      As for their conventional cars, SUVs and people carriers with the same thirsty petrol engines as the pick up trucks abound, while cars in the traditional sense, which tend to be a lot smaller than the old gas guzzlers from the seventies, are mostly two and four door saloons. For some reason, Americans have never endorsed hatchbacks in great numbers.

  16. John says:

    As a fairly large user of diesel (currently a Euro 6 3.0 V6 Diesel, driving around 30,000 miles a year), I’d like to blow a huge raspberry to those hateful little ticks that advocate removal of emissions control equipment from modern diesels and even promote it to users of properly functioning particulate filters and AdBlue systems, in order to earn their own sorded little living from it! Every single vehicle that ends up belching avoidable pollutants into the atmosphere harms us all and brings further regulation down on the law abiding.

    • Londoner says:

      True, and it is a offence under Construction and Use Acts to operate a vehicle on a public road with the emissions systems such as the DPF eliminated or disabled.

    • russell wheeler says:

      You are missing the point, while cars are under warranty, their emissions systems are repaired as necessary. Further down the line when the car is older and faced with a sizeable repair bill, the owner at that point will choose to “bodge” the repair and just get their vehicle back on the road. The problem is that emissions control systems on diesels do not last the life of the car and the older it is, the less likely the owner can afford large repair bills. Petrol on the other hand, the technology just works (usually) for the entire lifespan of the car

  17. Jemma says:

    Funny, no one has mentioned the TFSI type engines that make diesels emissions look like bottled oxygen. Heaven forfend that all the senior executives would have to admit their Audi’s are the problem…
    And I wish people would stop with the “scrappage” eco garbage. Here’s a thought – have a SET gearbox to engine mounting and a set configuration for engine & transmission mounts (think S100 or PCI buses for PCs or mini/micro/type c ports for phones). I would love to put the 6 speed manual from the 2011 Accent into my 2005 – 2500rpm @ 70 mph.. Instead of 3150rpm. Which of course won’t work because the engines have a different bell housing. Ditto the smaller more efficient engines – same power & torque, less weight, better mpg.
    Just swapping out my .83 5th to the .70 gear (6th 2011) would be more efficient between 40-70mph by 20.6%! I’d happily do that too but I can’t afford the ridiculous parts prices, and the utterly ridiculous labor costs.. Even if the later gear will fit the 2005 box.. If anyone feels like lending their skills?
    Proper engineering is the way to go – not over complicated electronic guff..
    There’s so many simple ways to improve efficiency but that doesn’t sell new cars does it? Because they can all be retrofitted at a fraction of the cost.
    Catalytic converters have exactly zero benefit against climate change by the way, they’re purely to combat ground pollution (ie save already sketchy humans, it reduces O³ at ground level which is nasty for breathing impaired p.narrans*). They convert an environmental pollutant that is well down the scale to the one at the very top, cause all sorts of fuelling complications – that’s not including the CO2 produced just making, transporting & reclaiming the things.. (using Diesel of course).
    A bit of honesty and reality would be nice in environmental reporting too..

    *me being one, courtesy of a serious reaction between mirtazipine/histamine syndrome, my lungs and London pollution a couple of years back which is the major reason I’m trying to fight off pneumonia right now.

  18. Ian Nicholls says:

    Let me pose this question. Do the great mass of the motoring public really care whether the diesel emission data is fabricated as long as they get the fuel economy from oil burners?
    Has the emissions scandal really hurt Volkswagen sales in the long term?

    • Jemma says:

      No and no, most probably, but more worryingly most of them wouldn’t understand the simple chemistry and would be perfectly happy to believe anything they were told – they believe electric cars such as Tesla are clean after all, I don’t think 82% dirty can be said to be in any way clean, or environmentally friendly – at least it wasn’t when I was at school..
      Tesla 70D.. EPA rating 1.9 Easter Bunnies per 100km. You can bet some of them would believe it :(.
      Elon Musk: It’s like watching a cross between Delboy Trotter & the Antichrist.

  19. Dave says:

    The problem is that these emission control regulations were never meant to be a benefit to the environment.
    Once our regulation makers persuaded car makers into properly corrosion protecting their products in order to reduce the high number of road deaths. One measure was to have cars that didn’t fall apart in case of an accident because they were terminally rotten after only a couple of years. But they had to offer the manufacturers a compensation by creating a way of politically forcing drivers out of their cars by making them obsolete in regular intervals. Exhaust gas regulations were chosen because they seemed a good idea at that time.
    Why else are the intervals for new EU emission control regulations more or less identical to the intervals in which car manufactures expect their customers to buy a new car?
    This political corrosion is simply a sales support vehicle, no more.
    If emission control regulations had been an IT project, its project manager would have been fired at the latest with the introduction of Euro 3 regulations.
    How many rounds of a ninety nine percent reduction of anything do you think are sensible when taking into account the costs and the law of diminishing return?
    But by now the regulation makers and the car manufacturers are trapped in the dead end road they chose.
    The problem with VW (and others) Diesel is not that the cars are dirty. They violated regulations. If regulations had been set in a way that what VW had done was legal, would we complain? Probably not. Only a couple of years ago any engine as clean as the „cheating“ engines would have been very welcome.

  20. bartelbe says:

    The attack on diesel has nothing to do with the environment. With finance creating a new car boom you could eliminate diesel pollution by taxing diesels out of the showroom. This is about greedy local councils looking for an excuse for more taxes and fanatical greens who hate car drivers.

    When councils introduce congestion charges for diesels, which will happen with no mandate, how long till the charges are extended to petrol? This would be more acceptable if there was a public transport system outside London, but there isn’t. Just hopeless slow, dirty, unreliable privatised busses.

    Even the figures used for this diesel panic are dubious. Headlines talk about x amount of people receiving NOX and particulate exposure. In reality all the data tells us is the exposure at pollution monitoring sites. The levels can change street to street and are very weather dependent.

    I have no problem using public transport alternatives when they are reliable and fairly priced. However they are no in this country, this massive tax grab will not be used to fund underground and metro systems outside London.

  21. Glenn Aylett says:

    In the supermini class, as petrol cars have become far more economical, diesels are becoming irrelevant. The previous generation Nissan Micra that I drive didn’t even have a diesel option as the two petrol models offered economy that was little worse. Typically I can get 50-60 mpg from my petrol Micra, I’d imagine had there been a diesel option, it would probably only do a few mpg more, it would cost more to buy and maintain, and the fuel is more expensive, so there would be no point.
    Diesel probably comes into its own with bigger cars, where the drivers have higher mileages and the cars are company owned and changed just before MOT time. I can see the appeal of a 55 mpg diesel Mondeo, which has similar performance and better torque than the petrol version, but returns 15 mpg more.

  22. Ian Nicholls says:

    The notion of using the diesel option to upgrade for the same fuel economy makes sense even more after my experience driving to the Bromley Pageant from North Norfolk on June 18th. The weather was baking hot, but with the S-types air con it was extremely comfortable, fantastic in fact. The coolest place in Britain.
    Other cars had their windows open, we travelled in air conditioned comfort.

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