SMMT Mounts Robust Defence Of Diesel Vehicles

Key Facts About Diesel Vehicles

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)  has mounted a robust defence of diesel vehicles, saying they play an important role in helping improve air quality in towns and cities, and in tackling climate change.

The SMMT has produced a list of key facts about diesels which, despite their recent bad press, saw British car buyers register almost a quarter of a million new diesel cars in March 2017 – an all-time record.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented: “In addition to their important contribution to improving air quality, diesel cars are also a key part of action to tackle climate change while allowing millions of people, particularly those who regularly travel long distances, to do so as affordably as possible.”

Here’s a breakdown of the SMMT’s reasons why diesel vehicles are still a popular choice for consumers and businesses, and how diesel vehicles still have a role to play in your fleet.

The SMMT’s key facts about diesel vehicles:

Diesel Performance and Growth

  • Half of all vehicles currently registered in the UK feature diesel engines. Those continuing to buy diesel vehicles still value the performance of diesel engines over petrol, due to their economic fuel consumption.
  • In 2016, 1.3 million new diesel cars were registered in the UK. This is an increase of 0.6% from 2015 and an upward trend that appears to be continuing into 2017.
  • Out of the 4.8 million commercial vehicles in the UK, 96% of those are diesel vehicles, some of which are dedicated to providing the country with emergency services and the transportation of vital goods.

Fleet Management Tip: Making the switch from petrol to diesel vehicles could have a positive impact on your fleet. Consider overall cost savings before making the switch – will the reduced diesel fuel consumption and reduced emissions have a big enough impact on cost savings to warrant leasing brand new diesel fleet vehicles?

 

Diesel Emissions & Fuel Consumption

  • On average, diesel vehicles emit 20% lower CO2 emissions than their petrol counterparts.
  • Under the new London Ultra Low Emission Zone regulations (due to start in 2019), all Euro 6 cars will be classified as low emission. As a result, all of these new diesel vehicles will be allowed to enter the Ultra Low Emission zone, free of charge.
  • Diesel vehicles use 20% less fuel than their petrol counterparts.
  • Although vehicle emissions are responsible for around half of London’s NOx emissions – diesel vehicles represent just 11% of those emissions. This varies depending on peak travel times as well as congestion.

Fleet Management Tip: Do your drivers regularly hit the London congestion zone? Soon to be the Ultra Low Emission zone, this initial area will soon mean an extra charge of £12.50 for the most polluting cars and a further £100 for larger buses and HGVs. (That’s not including the existing congestion charge!) This change will apply to petrol vehicles that do not meet Euro 4 standards and diesel vehicles that do not meet Euro 6 standards. Consider forecasting the cost of the new charge with your existing fleet and compare to that of a new Euro 6 diesel fleet – what would your cost savings be?

 

Diesel Engine Technology

  • With continued advances in technology, and the introduction of specialised filters, 99% of damaging soot particles are captured – significantly reducing the damaging effects that diesel vehicles could have on the environment. In fact, since 2011, all brand new diesel vehicles carry diesel particulate filters (DPFs).
  • The most recent Euro 6/VI diesel vehicles feature new technological elements that convert dangerous air pollutants, such as NOx, into water and nitrogen, before it is released via the diesel exhaust.
  • Do you need to be aware of the Euro 6 standard? As a fleet manager or business owner that relies heavily on a fleet of vehicles, it would certainly be advantageous to familiarise yourself with the Euro 6 vehicle standards. The aim of the European Directive is to reduce harmful levels of air pollutants caused by all vehicle emissions. Older diesel vehicles are beginning to be targeted by the directive as they tend to produce more harmful pollutants, however it’s worth noting that newer diesel vehicles should not be tarred with the same brush, as those that are compliant with the Euro 6 standard are generally more eco-friendly.
  • The new Euro 6/VI advances have been heavily tested using a new diesel bus on the London 159 bus route. The results? A 95% reduction in NOx when compared with older generation buses.
  • In September 2017, the EU will begin a much more accurate and rigorous form of on-road emissions testing. The European-wide testing will now more accurately reflect on-road conditions, taking into account traffic, speed, and driving style.

Fleet Management Tip: Do all of your fleet vehicles have a diesel particulate filter? Consider auditing your existing diesel fleet to check if the DPFs have been recently emptied. The filter will need to be emptied fairly regularly to avoid the possibility of clogging and causing serious damage that could be costly. Although this is automatically done as part of the filter system, regular stop-start driving can cause blockages, and sometimes irreparable damage, so it’s worth making this a regular part of your fleet maintenance checks.

Evidently, diesel cars still have a vital role to play in modern business fleets, but with stricter diesel emissions testing and Euro 6 standards coming into force, it’s worth paying close attention to your fleet vehicles to make sure they’re not costing you more in charges and performance than you think. Consider discussing your current fleet performance with a fleet management specialist – they could help you form a more cost-effective and economical fleet that doesn’t see your costs creeping up over time.

If you would like to discuss the role diesels could play as part of your fleet, then please get in touch.