There was a time when diesel cars were the popular choice of motorists in any part of the world. Things changed after the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal broke in 2015. Today, diesel (along with petrol) is no longer preferred and favoured. It is now considered a danger to the environment and human health.
As air pollution has become a global environmental health problem, authorities in countries around the world continue to find ways to reduce and eventually eliminate toxic air. Just recently, the European parliament has decided to put an end to the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by the year 2035.
Centre-right lawmakers wanted a weaker target for emissions reductions, but they failed to get the votes of the majority. The lawmakers agreed that vehicle CO2 emissions should be reduced by 55% as compared to 2021. Their obligation to the automotive industry is a planned 37.5% average CO2 emissions reduction towards the end of the decade as compared to 2021.
The EU lawmakers made the announcement last June 29, 2022.
By the year 2035, all new vehicles that are sold in the EU market will have to have zero tailpipe emissions. The move is in line with the climate goals set for 2050, which requires all developed countries to stop selling non-zero emissions light vehicles by 2035.
EU authorities will soon announce if hybrid vehicles or those that use alternative fuels can still be sold after 2035. Car manufacturers, however, are expected to present proof of zero-emissions.
According to Franz Timmermans, EU’s climate chief, the goal is to see more zero-emission vehicles. Using e-fuels is not yet a realistic goal, though, unless manufacturers are willing to take the challenge and prove otherwise.
For his part, European parliament environment committee chair and French centrist MEP Pascal Canfin believes the historic vote is a push forward towards climate neutrality. He considers the vote on the ban a major victory.
Some countries wanted to push for a 2040 implementation date, but the majority prevailed and an earlier date was voted on. There was a total of 612 votes and 339 of these were in favour of the changes while 249 votes were against the proposal.
The EU lawmakers agreed on an emissions obligation exemption lasting five years for car manufacturers that produce fewer than 10,000 vehicles every year. This niche includes several of Europe’s most popular luxury vehicle brands.
Aside from the ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles, EU lawmakers also agreed on carbon pricing for pollutant fuels that are utilised in road transport. This new pricing will be launched in 2027.
Approximately one-quarter of the European Union’s emissions footprint every year is from transport. Around 70% of transport-related emissions are released by road transport.
In the UK
The UK government also has new plans for its zero-emission vehicle goal. Beginning 2024, carmakers will have to follow zero-emission mandates and guarantee that a significant number of their vehicles are already zero-emission ones.
For cars, UK authorities proposed a 20% to 30% proportion range in 2024, while the proposed proportion range for vans in 2024 is 8% to 15%.
The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal
As mentioned earlier, the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal was what changed the automotive industry and car owners’ perception of diesel.
In September 2015, US authorities found defeat devices installed in Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold throughout the United States. VW initially denied the accusations but later on admitted to knowingly fitting their vehicles with the cheat device.
A defeat device is programmed to detect when a vehicle is in lab testing for emissions regulations. Once it does, the device caps the vehicle’s emissions levels to ensure that lab findings reflect results that fall within the limits set by the World Health Organization.
When the vehicle is driven in real-world driving conditions, the defeat device reverts to the original emissions levels, which are multiple times higher than the EU and WHO limits. Thus, the vehicle emits high levels of NOx or nitrogen oxide.
Nitrogen oxide is a gas with NO or nitric oxide and NO2 or nitrogen dioxide as the main components. It is responsible for the formation of smog, acid rain, and bad ozone or ground-level ozone. NOx also significantly affects vegetation, slowing down or stopping the growth of plants and crops.
Exposure to NOx impacts human health. It can lead to breathing/lung problems, asthma and aggravated asthma, asphyxiation, chronically reduced lung function, increased risk for cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers, and premature death.
Nitrogen oxide can also trigger mental health-related conditions such as depression and anxiety.
Car owners affected by the diesel emissions scandal are encouraged to file a Dieselgate compensation claim.
How do I file my diesel claim?
While the process can be tiring and time-consuming, there are things you can do to make the compensation process easier. The ideal thing to do would be to work with a panel of emissions solicitors who are regulated and experienced in filing and winning emissions claims.
The panel of emissions solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk are trained and committed to helping car owners like you win the compensation you deserve. Best of all, they offer a no-win-no-fee guarantee, so you won’t have to worry about your expenses and fees. Visit their website to find out if you are eligible to claim.