Diesel cars - the end of an era?

Cartoon red car blowing out toxic fumes on the street

Posted by Holly West-Robinson on 12 June 2017

Are you a young driver who owns a diesel car? If so, you may have heard about a few changes that will be taking place to help reduce carbon emissions and the country’s air pollution. Here is the lowdown on how diesel cars will be affected in the UK over the next decade.

  • The Mayor of the London (Sadiq Khan) announced in his autumn statement, that there will be an additional “T-Charge” of £12.50 a day on top of the current congestion charge of £11.50 in central parts of London. This applies to all diesel vehicles registered before 2006 (and other polluting vehicles) bringing the daily charge to £24 as of October 2017.
  • Many other British towns and cities to follow suit and introduce “Clean Air Zones” by 2019.
  • London Boroughs areas are looking at increasing parking charges for diesel cars by up to 50% along with other major cities in the UK such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham, Manchester, Derby and Leeds.
  • Overall tax hike announced for all diesel vehicles in the UK.

The new regulations come about after it was established that the UK are currently not meeting EU standards when it comes to the countries air pollution. It has also been anticipated, that we will not be able to meet these rules throughout all cities until 2025, despite the government being taken to court on several accounts over the failure to put tougher measures in place. In London alone, 9,000 people die every year due to the deplorable state of the air. In 2016, 40,000 people died as a result of air pollution according to the Royal College of Physicians. Diesel cars account for 10% of harmful emissions in the UK, by imposing these plans NOx and NO2 levels are expected to drop by 50% by 2020.

The dirty diesels currently on our roads

Remember back in 2015, when VW got caught out with the emissions scandal? 11 million of their vehicles world-wide had been fitted with what’s known as a “defeat device” which rig the cars to make them appear as if they produce less Nitrogen Oxide than they actually do. Approximately 10% of those vehicles affected are in Britain, and comprise of Skodas, Seats and Audis.

According to the SMMT, 509,817 diesel cars have been registered in the UK year to date for 2017, and although overall sales have gone up for petrol, electric and hybrid vehicles – getting all diesel propelled vehicles off the roads by 2025 is certainly going to be a challenge.

Good and bad news for diesel owners


Ministers are still considering the options and the best way to ensure diesel owners aren’t completely out of pocket if they choose to get rid of their cars. Depending on how old your vehicle is, you may be eligible for the “scrappage-scheme”. Details of the plan are yet to be released as the proposal hasn’t been finalised, but if it does go ahead - it will mean any vehicles which were registered in the last 10 years, could be eligible for a cashback sum of up to £2000, if owners exchange their diesel in for a low emissions vehicle.

For any car buyers who purchased a diesel after 2015, these vehicles fall into the Euro 5 + 6 categories (meaning they produce the least harmful emissions out of all other diesel vehicles due to an exhaust filter which traps harmful particles), so although these drivers will not be eligible for the scheme, they shouldn’t have to pay the same congestions and charges of vehicles which fall under categories Euro 1, 2, 3, and 4.  

The evolution of electric and driverless cars

It’s no secret that many drivers are becoming more conscious of their own carbon footprint and beginning to realise the effects our trusty combustibles can inflict on the environment. Car manufacturers such as Honda, Tesla and Nissan (to name a few) have been battling it out to produce the safest, economical replacements for petrol and diesel vehicles for the last 20 years! It just wasn’t the most talked about topic back then.

Now tech giant Google (and the same companies and manufacturers above) have stepped up to bring us back to the future with the long awaited - driverless car. The prospect of being able to leave your house, and essentially tell a robot to take you to the supermarket with the touch of a button, or whizz you down to the pub with for an extra drink with your mates, is the stuff of dreams. No more taxi fares, no more harmful emissions, no more congestion, and more importantly – no more petrol or diesel costs. If the world’s transportation were to run on electricity entirely, this is is when our economy will well and truly begin to see the benefits.

But until then… prepare for 3 more decades of parking tickets, inhalers, traffic and inconsiderate drivers!  ;)

About the Author

Holly West-Robinson
Holly West-Robinson

Hi I'm Holly and I'm a young driver based in Peterborough! I love tattoos, food, drawing and anything art related, enjoy hanging out with friends and family and making a fool of myself XD I'm a huge lover of music and also a part time DJ in the underground drum and bass scene. I passed my driving test first time when I was 17 years old have been loving life and my new found freedom ever since! I'm definitely one of the adventurous types who's always up for a good old road trip!