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Diesel decline could see emissions targets missed

Date: 17 January 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

Vehicle data expert cap hpi is warning that a clampdown on diesel vehicles could result in the UK missing European environmental targets.

The company says there is a real danger that the EU's 2021 environmental targets could be missed if the percentage of diesel vehicles continues to decline on UK roads.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders reported a 17.1% drop in diesel car registrations in the UK in 2017.

Matt Freeman, managing consultant at cap hpi, said: "Hitting the 2021 environmental targets for CO2 reduction would be a significant challenge without the likely decline in diesel. Therefore it is imperative that diesels continue to command a substantial share of the new car marketplace.

"If consumers, with no option of transitioning to hybrid or EVs, switch to petrol the environmental impact is clear - their CO2 emissions would likely rise between 3% and 23% according to model."

Although the UK is to leave the EU in 2019, Freeman suspects the targets will remain similar to those already set, irrespective of Brexit.

Even if consumers decided to change over wholesale to electric cars in the next few years, cap hpi says there is not sufficient manufacturing capacity in place for this to happen. 

Furthermore, it says there is not enough battery production capacity, although manufacturers are investing to address the gap.

Consumer education is said to be key as there is an apparent risk that consumers are being led to believe that "all diesel is bad", and that any suggestion that there is a good diesel option is due to the automotive industry seeking to resist change and preserve the status quo.

This needs to be countered if diesel is to have a short to medium-term future, cap hpi says.