Diesel vehicles have long been known for their fuel efficiency, with many believing that the added cost of a diesel vehicle will be outweighed long term by the fuel savings, especially those embarking on long distance journeys. However, recent news has continuously portrayed diesel vehicles in a bad light with much publicity about pollution and health issues.
In November 2016, the Government lost an air pollution court case, accepting that their current plans to tackle air pollution levels are not adequate, with the court ruling the plans so poor that they are illegal.
Diesel cars in particular emit nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant which is at illegal levels in many countries, therefore one of the expected measures to come from this ruling are charges to deter diesel vehicles from entering ‘clean air zones’ in cities across the UK.
On the 17th February 2017, Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, announced that drivers of older diesel vehicles (those that do not meet Euro 4 emission standards which are typically vehicles registered before 2006) will be charged an additional £10 ‘toxicity charge’ to enter London from October. Whilst welcomed by many, some critics believe this charge should go further and be applied to more diesel vehicles.
The Mayor of London is also calling for a scrappage scheme to be introduced to financially incentivise owners of older diesel vans and cars to replace them with more eco-friendly models.
In addition, Westminster council is to introduce an increased charge for people to park diesel cars and vans, which could see these drivers pay as much as 50% extra an hour to park. Islington council also introduced a higher parking permit for its residents with diesel vehicles in 2015.
The negative publicity received by diesel vehicles appears to be having an impact with sales of diesel vehicles falling over the past months. Recent figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) suggest that whilst a year ago, diesel sales were outnumbering those of petrol cars, this trend had reversed by January 2017. The same source also reports that sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles jumped by 19.9% when comparing January sales in 2017 to the same period the previous year.
Whilst the fuel that your vehicle uses won’t necessarily affect your insurance premium, it is worth considering these potential rising costs, especially if your business operates in some of the larger cities across the UK. With ongoing discussion by some countries about banning diesel vehicles entirely from cities over the next decade, this is just another possible risk to businesses running diesel fleets.