Sale of diesel in London falls 40% in four years

Transport & Environment UK are today reporting that analysis of Department for Energy Security and Net Zero statistics shows that the sale of diesel fuel in London is falling twice as fast as the national average. 

At the current rate of decline, in around ten years no-one will be buying diesel in the capital, prompting T&E to call on other cities to emulate London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and drive diesels off the roads.gas station, gas pump, refuel

Matt Finch, UK Policy Manager at Transport & Environment, said: ‘Regardless of the impact of the ULEZ on air pollution, this data shows the remarkable impact clean air zones can have on energy and trade. Diesel is another dirty fossil fuel that the UK has found itself reliant on imports for, often from countries with undemocratic Governments that have poor human rights records. The smart move would be to follow London’s lead, stop burning imported dirty diesel and switch to using clean British electrons as quickly as possible.’

Under London’s ULEZ, which was introduced in 2019, non-compliant diesels (those made before 2016) were subject to a £12.50 charge to enter the city. Last year this expanded to also cover outer London. 

In the four years since the ULEZ started, sales of diesel have fallen by 40% in London, compared to 20% elsewhere.

An interactive map has been published that demonstrates the improvement in NO2 levels across London, in just one year from 2021 to 2022.

T&E also highlight the economic benefits of moving away from diesel, calculating that in 2024 Londoners are on course to pay over a quarter of a billion pounds less in diesel costs than they paid in 2022. 

Oliver Lord, UK Head of Clean Cities Campaign, said: ‘We’ve known for years that diesel fumes are ruining our lives so it’s inspiring to see this change in London, but the bottom line is we won’t breathe freely until diesel engines are ditched for good. With the right commitment, coordination and leadership from all levels of government our cities can be almost free of diesel by 2030, but only when coupled with the support to make that happen and especially for small businesses.’

Jemima Hartshorn, Founder of Mums for Lungs, said: ‘Air pollution from diesel vehicles is known to cause cancer, asthma and stunted lungs and the UK has some of the largest number of childhood asthma. There is no doubt about it: for so many reasons, but primarily for children’s health – diesel fumes have got to go and government at all levels needs to ensure that it is phased out in a fair and equitable way.’


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