The government is clamping down on emissions regulation, so we've answered your most burning diesel-related questions
Steve Cropley Autocar
7 April 2017

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.

Is it time to give up on the diesel engine? 

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.

UK car market hit record high in March

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.

Greed, lies and deception - the VW Dieselgate scandal laid bare

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.

Best diesel cars for £500 - used buying guide

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.

Diesel engines: what comes out of your car's tailpipe?

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.

Volvo boss predicts the death of diesels

Our Verdict

Volkswagen Golf

Just how good is the mighty Volkswagen Golf? The seventh generation of Europe's best selling car has been facelifted to keep its nose ahead of its rivals

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Comments
18

7 April 2017
I tried one of these add one, and it increased soot.

7 April 2017
Glasses guide say used prices are holding up. I'm looking nationally for a new car and without exception a diesel BMW, Merc or Audi is cheaper in the southeast. Of course I'm the other end of the country but that's life.

Over time hopefully we will get diesels out of the city and away from 10 miles per day drivers (it's amazing how many of the cars I look at are 3 years old and with less than 30000 miles) and out into the areas and drivers who always have and always will drive diesels in the way they are meant to be used...

7 April 2017
Why did people buy heavier, noisier, rougher, more polluting Diesel cars for around £900-£1400 more when they were doing 6,000-10,000 miles a year?

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

7 April 2017
xxxx wrote:

Why did people buy heavier, noisier, rougher, more polluting Diesel cars for around £900-£1400 more when they were doing 6,000-10,000 miles a year?

Because they were encouraged to do so by cheaper ved rates, a 1.25 petrol 05 fiesta is £145 whereas a 1.4 diesel 05 fiesta is £30, that plus better economy figures and the promise of better residuals. In 02 we bought a new scenic and I actually calculated how many miles it would take to offset the higher purchase price of the diesel over the petrol I bought, it was 90,000 miles to recover the added cost on just fuel savings, which on a 10k/yr limited mileage 3 yr pcp purchase just wasn't worth it. Most people don't look at this and just see the higher economy figure and assume savings.

7 April 2017
si73 wrote:
xxxx wrote:

Why did people buy heavier, noisier, rougher, more polluting Diesel cars for around £900-£1400 more when they were doing 6,000-10,000 miles a year?

Because they were encouraged to do so by cheaper ved rates, a 1.25 petrol 05 fiesta is £145 whereas a 1.4 diesel 05 fiesta is £30, that plus better economy figures and the promise of better residuals. In 02 we bought a new scenic and I actually calculated how many miles it would take to offset the higher purchase price of the diesel over the petrol I bought, it was 90,000 miles to recover the added cost on just fuel savings, which on a 10k/yr limited mileage 3 yr pcp purchase just wasn't worth it. Most people don't look at this and just see the higher economy figure and assume savings.

That's my point, 90,000 to recover, most people who can afford new cars buy new every 4-5 years. As to the Fiesta example you're going back 12 Years. Last month a 1.4 A3 COD was £30 a year to tax, the same as the Diesel (and you don't even pay the first year) so Tax was never really that much of an issue on a £20,000 car.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

7 April 2017
xxxx wrote:

Why did people buy heavier, noisier, rougher, more polluting Diesel cars for around £900-£1400 more when they were doing 6,000-10,000 miles a year?

Let's take your argument apart bit by bit.
Diesels are heavier, yes, but if weight is a problem most would be better off dieting.
Diesels are noisier, only at tickover, in normal use many are actually quieter due to running at lower revolutions.
Diesels are rougher, they do vibrate more at tickover but are just as smooth as petrol in most driving situations this is particularly noticeable once cars have accrued thousands of miles.
Much of the extra cost of purchasing a diesel car over a petrol one is recovered by higher residual values plus of course the typical 500 mile range per tank full.
I have a sister who qualifies for a Motobility car, her last three cars have been BMW 1 series diesels although she only drives about 2.5k miles per annum. Why you ask does she choose diesel, simple she says she cannot feel or see any difference in use yet the diesel cash upfront payment is approx £1k every three years yet it is approx £2k on a petrol version. It is all down to the resale value of the used car after the three year lease is up, simply the diesel costs less to provide.
Personally I would only choose petrol if I bought a small cheap car or was lucky enough to be able to afford to run a V8 or V12. My choice is different from yours but the difference is I am not criticising your choice yet many on this website seem to want to control others choice.

7 April 2017
Campervan wrote:
xxxx wrote:

Why did people buy heavier, noisier, rougher, more polluting Diesel cars for around £900-£1400 more when they were doing 6,000-10,000 miles a year?

Let's take your argument apart bit by bit.
Diesels are heavier, yes, but if weight is a problem most would be better off dieting.
Diesels are noisier, only at tickover, in normal use many are actually quieter due to running at lower revolutions.
Diesels are rougher, they do vibrate more at tickover but are just as smooth as petrol in most driving situations this is particularly noticeable once cars have accrued thousands of miles.
Much of the extra cost of purchasing a diesel car over a petrol one is recovered by higher residual values plus of course the typical 500 mile range per tank full.
....

Love the bit where you say you're gonna take my argument apart bit by bit then agree with me on the first 4 items.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

7 April 2017
xxxx wrote:

Why did people buy heavier, noisier, rougher, more polluting Diesel cars for around £900-£1400 more when they were doing 6,000-10,000 miles a year?

1: Because in the real world I paid £20 tax against £130 - that was £330 saved straight away without the car moving from my drive for 3years.

2: Taxation is based on Co2. I know anti-diesel lobby avoid the topic but diesel produces less greenhouse gases than petrol.

3: Because I prefer the low-torque of a diesel car. I'm rarely in town centres, why have a car that cruises at 3000rpm when i could have one which sits at 1800rpm?

4: because modern diesels are clean !!!!! When you say more polluting, you're just wrong.

5: avg mpg stats taken from motoring website had the 1.5 petrol return on average 43mpg. The 1.6tdi I had returned 58mpg on average.

6: Because when it comes to trade in - the extra expense at outlay is returned.

Even as a low miles driver, my last car which was diesel was cheaper to run and more relaxing to drive than it's petrol counter part.

7 April 2017
scotty5 wrote:
xxxx wrote:

Why did people buy heavier, noisier, rougher, more polluting Diesel cars for around £900-£1400 more when they were doing 6,000-10,000 miles a year?

1: Because in the real world I paid £20 tax against £130 - that was £330 saved straight away without the car moving from my drive for 3years.

2: Taxation is based on Co2. I know anti-diesel lobby avoid the topic but diesel produces less greenhouse gases than petrol.

3: Because I prefer the low-torque of a diesel car. I'm rarely in town centres, why have a car that cruises at 3000rpm when i could have one which sits at 1800rpm?

4: because modern diesels are clean !!!!! When you say more polluting, you're just wrong.

5: avg mpg stats taken from motoring website had the 1.5 petrol return on average 43mpg. The 1.6tdi I had returned 58mpg on average.

6: Because when it comes to trade in - the extra expense at outlay is returned.

Even as a low miles driver, my last car which was diesel was cheaper to run and more relaxing to drive than it's petrol counter part.

1. Lots of 1.2/1.4 Turbo's as of last month were only paying £30-60 a year e.g. 150hp A3

2. All new tax system, besides Diesel's produce far more NOx and particles.

3. I prefer Torque though-out the rev range, look at 1.4 and 1.5 Turbo you're be impressed

4. You wrong, just read the World Health Organisation Report and how many lives Diesel's take.

5. Diesels can cost £1000 - £1500 more and you can expect 50mpg for 1.2/1.4 petrol these days

6. Trade-in values, people are turning their back on diesel's now, just look at monthly sales figures. It goes to explain why Suzuki dropped Diesel from the new Swift range

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

10 April 2017
xxxx wrote:
scotty5 wrote:
xxxx wrote:

Why did people buy heavier, noisier, rougher, more polluting Diesel cars for around £900-£1400 more when they were doing 6,000-10,000 miles a year?

1: Because in the real world I paid £20 tax against £130 - that was £330 saved straight away without the car moving from my drive for 3years.

2: Taxation is based on Co2. I know anti-diesel lobby avoid the topic but diesel produces less greenhouse gases than petrol.

3: Because I prefer the low-torque of a diesel car. I'm rarely in town centres, why have a car that cruises at 3000rpm when i could have one which sits at 1800rpm?

4: because modern diesels are clean !!!!! When you say more polluting, you're just wrong.

5: avg mpg stats taken from motoring website had the 1.5 petrol return on average 43mpg. The 1.6tdi I had returned 58mpg on average.

6: Because when it comes to trade in - the extra expense at outlay is returned.

Even as a low miles driver, my last car which was diesel was cheaper to run and more relaxing to drive than it's petrol counter part.

1. Lots of 1.2/1.4 Turbo's as of last month were only paying £30-60 a year e.g. 150hp A3

2. All new tax system, besides Diesel's produce far more NOx and particles.

3. I prefer Torque though-out the rev range, look at 1.4 and 1.5 Turbo you're be impressed

4. You wrong, just read the World Health Organisation Report and how many lives Diesel's take.

5. Diesels can cost £1000 - £1500 more and you can expect 50mpg for 1.2/1.4 petrol these days

6. Trade-in values, people are turning their back on diesel's now, just look at monthly sales figures. It goes to explain why Suzuki dropped Diesel from the new Swift range

Your time would be better spent reading a report on the correct use of apostrophes.

I don't need to put my name here, it's on the left

 

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