Diesels are even worse for the environment than we knew
A new study finds that diesels pollute more than petrols
Many carmakers and even European regulators still favor diesel engines despite how much they pollute.
Transport&Environment, an organization in Brussels lobbying for sustainable transport has issued a study claiming that the typical diesel car emits 42.65 tonnes of carbon dioxide, while a petrol car emits 3.65 tonnes less.
“Diesel cars are not only more polluting in terms of air pollutants including harmful nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, but also churn out more CO2 and cost on average €2,000 to €3,000 more than petrol”, claims Transport&Environment's study. Up until now, regulators favored diesel cars because they were seen as emitting less CO2.
After Dieselgate, the scandal that shook Volkswagen, the sale of diesel cars has been on a steady decline in Europe. Dieselgate proved that harmful Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) emissions, linked to different types of cancer, were much higher than thought. However, carmakers are still disputing claims that diesel-engine cars are such an issue.
The study finds three causes for Europe’s addiction to diesel:
1. Distorted national fuel and vehicle taxes. Diesel fuel is taxed between 10% and 40% less than petrol in most countries. This “diesel bonus” costed national budgets almost €32 billion in lost tax revenue in 2016 alone;
2. Unfair EU Euro emission standards that for decades allowed diesel cars to emit more NOx than petrol. This has been exacerbated by the use of obsolete tests (recently updated) and ineffective regulatory oversight that has allowed carmakers to fit cheap, ineffective exhaust controls that they turn down or off most of the time;
3. Biased CO2 regulations that set weaker targets for carmakers producing bigger and heavier diesel vehicles.