There was a time where diesel cars were the popular choice amongst motorists, thanks to the low road tax and superior fuel economy offered. This meant frugal motorists bought more diesel cars than petrol because of the savings they made in their monthly budgets.
However, times change with the roll of a dice and diesel-powered cars are no longer considered good investments. They no longer receive the following benefits:
No longer low road tax: only electric cars are free of road tax, whilst all cars that produce emissions are charged a fixed amount after the first year. This means that diesel cars are as expensive to tax as petrol cars.
The residual value of diesel cars once meant that these cars held their value longer than petrol cars. However, in recent years that difference has begun to level out with the decrease in residual values.
Manufacturers charge premium prices for the same diesel model as a petrol car. However, thanks to recent developments, petrol cars have become more economical and cleaner to drive, which means diesel cars no longer justify those higher prices.
There is the threat of legislation regarding diesel engine because of the failed emissions test scandal regarding diesel engine and the concern over air pollution. Whilst diesel cars do not produce as many CO2 emissions as petrol cars, they do produce more harmful particulates that contribute to the rising problem of air pollution in our major cities.
Contributing to air pollution
Diesel engines produce nitrogen oxides, which are one of the main causes of air pollution. This has resulted in the introduction of additional charges for the oldest, highest-polluting diesel cars when driven in Low-Emission Zones at peak times.
However, developments have been made on the newer models of diesel cars. In January 2011, we saw the launch of the Euro 5 standard engine. This meant that car manufacturers ensured their engines complied with the limit of 0.18g/km of NOx, which resulted in the cars being fitted with diesel particulate filters (DPFs). DPFs captured 99% of all particulate matters before it leaves the exhaust, thereby reducing the amount of harmful pollution entering the air.
With the launch of Euro 6, which is September 2015 onwards, diesel cars cannot produce more than 0.08g/km of NOx. This means that any diesel car manufactured after that date are the cleanest diesel cars in history. Alongside the DPFs, these new engines have systems that convert the NOx produced by the engine into largely nitrogen and water, thereby removing the harmful particulates.
What new charges will you face as a diesel owner?
In April 2017, Vehicle Excise Duty (road or vehicle tax) changed. Before the change, any car that produced CO2 emissions of 99g/km or less were exempt from paying for vehicle tax. However, now it is only cars that produce zero emissions (electric cars) and worth less than £40,000, that qualify for free VED.
The new rates mean that after the first year, petrol and diesel cars are charged the same as standard. In the first year of the newly registered car, the charge for VED ranges from £10-£2000 with a CO2 output ranging from 1-255g/km. From the second year onwards, the cars will be charged £140 annually. If the car is worth more than £40,000, it will face an additional charge.
This means that whilst previously, diesel cars benefited from low VED because they produce less CO2 emissions, they now face the same cost as taxing a petrol car to drive on the road.
Ultra Low Emission Zones
This is one thing to watch out for in the coming years. In April 2019, London and other cities will launch Ultra Low Emission Zones. These zones will result in any diesel car not compliant with the Euro 2016 standard and any petrol car that doesn’t meet the Euro 4 standard having to pay an extra £12.50 to drive through them.
Diesel cars continue to improve
Car manufacturers are constantly improving their diesel cars in terms of efficiency and cleanliness. This means that as long as you keep your cars up to standard, you will not have to face any additional charges.
In terms of efficiency, diesel cars are still more efficient in terms of MPG than petrol cars, meaning that whilst the price of fuel is at a similar level, diesel cars will result in lower running costs. For those of you with older diesel cars, there is a discussion of scrappage schemes being put in place to encourage you to upgrade to either petrol or newer diesel cars.
If you are interested in a diesel car that suits your needs and is up to the correct standard, Hippo Leasing can help. We have a huge selection of diesel cars available for your consideration. Enquire with us and our dedicated team will find you the best car lease deal to suit you.