With the rising price of diesel fuel no longer making it the most economical choice, and rising concerns about the impact on health and the environment, several motor trade manufacturers have announced their decision to stop producing diesel cars altogether.
Once chosen for its fuel economy and lower emissions due to engine efficiency, diesel fuel is increasingly being linked to air pollution and health issues including cancer, lung problems and brain damage. German car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has gone even further, pledging to put an end to the production of petrol-powered cars, as well as diesel models, by 2039.
Ola Källenius, head of the company, said that the entire Mercedes range will be electrically powered within less than three product cycles (a product cycle tends to be around 8 years). The aim of Mercedes-Benz is to become carbon neutral by 2039. Along the way, they have also pledged that by 2030, at least half of the new cars sold by the company will be electric vehicles or plug in hybrids. Ten new electric vehicles are expected to be launched by 2025, and the company will continue to research alternative and experimental technologies, such as hydrogen fuel cells.
Other car manufacturers have made similar commitments to the future. Volvo intends half of its sales to be of electric models by 2025, Volkswagen has pledged to drop petrol and diesel manufacture after 2026 and Toyota have even pledged to end sales of diesel models in Europe by the end of 2018.
Environmental charity Greenpeace has produced a list of motor trade manufacturers at the forefront of alternative fuel technology, this will help drivers make their purchasing decision based on a motor company’s long-term policy as well as the vehicles it’s producing today.
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Korean firm Kia has stopped its development of new diesel engines completely with a view to phasing them out, as have the Cadillac company and Groupe PSA, the owner of Vauxhall, Peugeot and Citroën. Bentley has already stopped selling diesel cars in Europe, while Subaru and Mitsubishi no longer sell diesel vehicles to the UK market, Porsche has also stopped sales altogether. Other companies committed to phasing out diesel sales include Nissan and Fiat.
Drivers have already proved that they are more than willing to make the switch to electric models because of environmental concerns, savings on fuel, cheaper insurance policies and vehicle tax. If the trend in attitude continues, we can expect almost all new and used cars on the road to be zero emission models by the middle of the 21st century.