A trade body representing used-car dealers has issued guidance to its members seeking to dispel â€˜confusionâ€™ over diesel vehicles and emissions among consumers.
The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has published the advisory leaflet this week (12 September), which offers guidance on the types of vehicle that customers might consider depending on their driving habits.
According to NFDA consumers are â€˜confusedâ€™ about emission levels from diesel cars, which has been linked to an increase focus in the national media on vehicle emissions due to concerns over air pollution in towns and cities.
Diesel vehicles are known to emit lower levels of CO2 than petrol vehicles, thus helping to reduce the impact of transport on climate change.
However, diesel cars, in particular those built prior to 2009, also emit higher levels of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, which can worsen air quality and harm human health.
During the 2000s, government had been keen to incentivise the uptake of diesel cars among consumers in order to meet carbon reduction targets, and had enacted policies to encourage drivers to switch to diesel. However, more diesel vehicles on the road is also thought to have contributed to poor air quality in urban areas, which has become apparent in recent years.
As issues around air quality have come into greater public focus, and politicians hint at potential moves to restrict the use of vehicles emitting high levels of air pollutants, sales of diesel vehicles have slowed.
In order to provide a greater level of clarity to traders and consumers, NFDAâ€™s leaflet analyses the different types of pollutants including NOx, CO2 and particulates, and sources from which these arise.
The leaflet also examines the role of diesel with a differentiation between â€˜oldâ€™ diesel and Euro 6 vehicles and the different impact they have on air pollution. Finally, it looks at the governmentâ€™s plans to cut emissions and how these could affect drivers of diesel cars.
It also outlines criteria that drivers should consider when choosing which car to buy, including the length of their commute, whether they are a high or low mileage driver and the type of journey they are likely to be taking.
Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA, said: â€œWith the confusion and media speculation surrounding diesel and emissions, the NFDA and its members are striving to help consumers understand the issue. It is in the interest of the automotive industry that consumers have accurate and honest information to select the car that best suits their needs.
â€œModern Euro 6 diesel cars must not be compared to older diesel. Euro 6 diesel cars emit around half of the NOx and a fifth of the particulates of diesel cars built before 2009. It is also important to highlight that cars are not the biggest contributors to air pollution, others include: industry, trains, gas boilers and many types of machinery.
â€œRecent negative media coverage has been affecting consumer confidence in diesel and consequently diesel car values. However, there are currently no Government plans to change diesel taxation in a way that would punish retrospectively motorists who own a diesel car.
â€œNFDA members will use the leaflet to clarify the whole diesel debate and help consumers find the car that most suits their driving habits. Depending on the driverâ€™s behaviour, modern diesel vehicles can be the most efficient option.â€