Diesel drivers could face rising taxes as the government considers reversing fuel duty cuts introduced in 2001.
Speaking to the London Evening Standard, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said reversing the tax breaks is “something the chancellor will need to look at in due course”.
Reduced rates of company car tax for diesel cars are also likely to be targeted. Both this and the reduced diesel fuel duty were introduced to encourage drivers into diesels for their lower CO2 emissions.
“In fairness they [the government at the time] thought they were doing the right thing. The consequences of what they did was to bring about a reduction in carbon,” McLoughlin said.
In recent times, the ongoing emissions scandal has brought the negative effects of NOx emissions into the public eye. The tax breaks, which were introduced by Gordon Brown and helped to bolster diesel sales considerably, are now being recognised by MPs as a mistake, given the harmful properties of NOx, even with the reduced CO2 levels taken into consideration.
Despite experts forecasting a sharp decline in the sales of diesel cars following the emissions scandal, the most recent set of industry figures revealed a 5% growth in diesel sales.
A spokesperson for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) couldn’t speculate on what effect the raised costs may have on sales of diesel cars. However, Tamzen Isacsson, SMMT director of communications and international, said: “Demand for diesel cars in the UK remains very strong, with registrations in May up 5% - ahead of the overall market’s growth.