London is introducing an Ultra Low Emissions Zone in April of 2019 and understandably, the public have a few questions. So, we've taken it upon ourselves to answer some of the most popular diesel-related, oil-burning questions.
I’m changing my car soon. Would it be safest to buy petrol?
Lots of people are thinking like this, just as we move into an era of truly clean diesels. We see no reason not to consider an EU6-compliant, WLTP-era diesel when they go on sale later this year.
Am I risking a low resale value later if I buy a diesel car now?
So far, there’s no evidence of that. Demand for new cars is falling a bit, but Glass’s Guide says used diesel values — even for VWs from the pre-EU6 ‘defeat device’ era — have been holding up well.
Are all car manufacturers tarred with the same brush as Volkswagen?
We believe not. There have been some rumblings, but the shock of the VW scandal has become conflated with market disappointment about over-optimistic fuel economy results returned using the outmoded NEDC test cycle, soon to be replaced.
What about all those old taxis and vans I see driving around in London?
Surely they’re worse than my car? Possibly, but they won’t be around for much longer. New taxis have to be plug-in hybrids or range-extenders from 2018, and tough new congestion charges are coming this year for all high-pollution vehicles.
I have a 15-year-old diesel car. Should I scrap it?
If it’s healthy and is never driven in urban zones where pollution is an issue, you’re not doing much harm, and you’re saving money.
Is there anything I can fit to an old diesel to cut pollution?
Probably not. A few accessory companies have tried selling addon gadgets over the years, but there’s no evidence that they work.
How can I check which pollution standard my car has been built to meet?
The best way is via your car’s VIN number, usually displayed at the base of the windscreen. You may be able to look up its specification on a website, but more likely you’ll have to ask the manufacturer directly. Get a letter, just in case.
Will car pollution laws get tighter still?
It’s possible, although the combination of tough standards, rigorous testing and proper after-treatment provides pretty good protection for the environment from toxic emissions. One threat may come from a new strain of high-efficiency, high-compression engines that, some experts say, produce fine particulates of their own and will need their own particulate traps.