Diesel goes to penalty time

If the diesel engine were taking part in the current World Cup, it wouldn’t be likened to any of the players.


It would be that round ball, in the middle, getting kicked around, picked out of the netting after another Harry Kane goal, before being leathered around once more.

Diesel has been made the auto industry scapegoat following dieselgate [penalty!], pantomime villain of the motoring industry by the government [kick!], vilified as the dirty culprit of the clean air issue [goal!], held to ransom on benefit in kind  [booomph upfield!]…and so on.

So it was good to see the whistle blown on some of this by Emissions Analytics, the independent global testing and data specialist for the scientific measurement of real-world emissions and fuel efficiency.

I was reading an article in Fleet News, that found latest diesel models are 71% cleaner than petrol cars.

The real world testing company had been assessing the latest Euro 6d models – those measured to the most up to date emission standards – and it found diesels had 71% fewer particulates than the equivalent petrol car.

Particulates are those tiny, tiny particles that can be responsible for respiratory diseases.

Emissions Analytics says in the article that within 10 years most diesels are likely to be the cleaner variety it has been testing – and a switch to petrol vehicles by fleets might not produce the desired consequences for cleaner air quality.

It’s all part of this continuing conundrum for fleet managers over fuel choice: what’s right for my fleet?

My view is there is not one silver bullet answer. It depends on usage which varies from driver to driver – read my colleague Grant Boardman’s excellent blog, Grant goes green.

And while we would encourage fleets to take the greenest route – whether this is hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric – for many high mileage fleets there is only one choice: diesel.

It’s reflected in our fleet: 77% of the fleet business we have sold year to date has been diesel.

Switching fully to electric might sound the ideal way to clean up our air. But such things are rarely that easy.

As Lancaster University has discovered.

It has looked at Germany’s desire to ban gasoline-fuelled cars by 2030. It suggests that if Germany were to do this, it would end up creating more air pollution than it was replacing.

Because it would have to generate electricity from ‘dirty’ sources since it does not have the ‘green’ energy producing network to generate the electricity required. You can read the full report here: Energy policies of Germany must work in sync to achieve a successful transition to electric cars.

So all diesel kickers, place the ball on the mark of the centre circle. And treat it with respect next time the whistle blows for kick off.

Diesel has its place in fleets – and might be around longer than we anticipate.