The car industry is under the spotlight this week. Fiat are facing accusations of cheating on diesel emissions by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Like Volkswagen it is about using technology that hides the true impact and damage their cars are doing. The accusations came just a day after Volkswagen admitted to cheating emissions tests in over 500,000 vehicles and received fines of $4.3bn. At the same time, French judges have opened a preliminary investigation into Renault due to suspicions they’ve been “cheating” diesel emission tests. These are serious charges against Fiat and Renault which show that this industry is in crisis.
Again we are seeing much needed scrutiny of car industry, but it does little to stop the ongoing damage caused by the billions of diesel cars on the road.
The writing should already be on the wall for diesel vehicles. Air quality in cities across Europe continues to suffer as a result of these cars polluting far more than they are allowed to, and we know that diesel emissions are toxic to human health. It’s time to embrace cleaner technologies: governments need to step in to end the sale of these cars and the motor industry needs to turn the page on this grubby chapter.
How many nails in the coffin does diesel need?
Last week, as the UK went over the annual limit for air pollution, we renewed our calls to end the sales of new diesel cars in the UK. Phasing diesel out is the first step towards cleaning up our air and we have to begin with diesel cars. This is because cleaner alternatives to diesel cars exist and are available. And we know that diesel cars have been sold us to us as the ‘greener choice’ when in reality, they emit much more pollution that they should. This is unacceptable.
What about heavy trucks and buses powered by diesel? Whilst they do contribute to air pollution, it is not on the same level as the average diesel car. International Council on Clean Transportation have found that modern diesel cars produce 10 times more toxic air pollution than heavy trucks and buses.
With record levels of cars being sold in the UK last year, the likes of Fiat, Renault, Volkswagen and the rest of the car industry need to start investing in a future with greener technology. Diesel is contributing to health problems and the car industry cannot ignore or hide its role in them.
In December, the European Environment Agency reported that 12,000 premature deaths in the Britain could be attributed to exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Nitrogen dioxide is largely produce by diesel engines emissions. In the same same month the High Court ruled that the Government had failed to meaningful reduce NO2 pollution.
Globally authorities and Governments are waking up to the problems with diesel. Our own can not take a softly softly approach to the car industry. We need to show there is demand and support for an industry that values moving to greener and cleaner technology.
We shouldn’t penalise people who bought diesel cars in good faith. But we can stop putting more of them on the roads. The Government has to stop propping up and promoting dodgy diesel. Over 100,000 people have joined us in demanding a diesel free future. Will you join them?