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Auto Express - - Contents - Mo­tor­ing’s most out­spo­ken and opin­ion­ated colum­nist sounds off Mike Ruther­ford

Mike Ruther­ford’s plan of ac­tion to solve the diesel dilemma

BE­FORE it’s too late, we need a proper ‘what to do about the diesel dilemma’ plan of ac­tion for our­selves, our coun­try and our world. For starters, I’d ar­gue a pri­vate mo­torist shouldn’t buy a brand-new diesel car to­day. In­stead, lease (or hire, or bor­row) it for 36 months max, thereby forc­ing the leas­ing com­pany to worry about re­sale val­ues, pos­si­ble bans, etc, three years from now.

For the driver who’s al­ready bought a diesel in good faith, I say keep it – for now at least. Then study the used mar­kets be­fore de­cid­ing to get rid of it, run it into the ground or break it up as it’ll be worth more in parts.

On a re­lated point, VW has spent bil­lions buy­ing back thou­sands of diesels from cus­tomers. Many have al­ready been crushed, but they should be dis­man­tled. A bought-back car with a now-re­dun­dant en­gine still has a us­able in­te­rior, sound sys­tem, wheels, tyres, body pan­els, etc. It’s called re­cy­cling!

Com­pro­mises are es­sen­tial, so if you drive a diesel car to city cen­tres that fi­nan­cially pun­ish such ve­hi­cles, ask your­self if you re­ally need to go there. My guess is that 90 per cent of us don’t. Af­ter trav­el­ling by car from the coun­try­side or sub­urbs, try park­ing a mile or three from your fi­nal des­ti­na­tion and per­haps con­sider do­ing the fi­nal leg by bike, pub­lic trans­port, walk­ing or pogo stick!

Talk­ing of com­pro­mises, how about a bold, sym­bolic ges­ture from the car man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try (the heads of which dis­cussed diesel in depth in Is­sue 1,517), who will hereby vol­un­teer to halt pro­duc­tion of diesel city cars and su­per­mi­nis – in ex­change for greater lee­way with large saloons or SUVS run­ning on the same stuff? Tiny, low-mileage, in-town run­abouts (in­clud­ing small vans) just don’t need diesel. Big, high-mileage saloons, es­tates and 4x4s usu­ally do. Let’s bite the bul­let, ad­mit this, then vol­un­tar­ily cull some diesel pro­duc­tion.

If you’ve got a big, al­legedly dirty diesel and you’d re­ally like to keep it, how about agree­ing to park it for three days out of seven? It might even be that do­ing this is bet­ter for air qual­ity than a petrol that runs seven days. Dis­cuss.

A third of trains still run on diesel. And mil­lions of pol­lut­ing buses, coaches, taxis, com­mer­cial/con­struc­tion/agri­cul­tural ve­hi­cles and wa­ter­craft drink it in high quan­ti­ties. Yet the above are rarely crit­i­cised for their Derv ad­dic­tion.

How can it be ‘wrong’ when not-for-profit mums, dads and teenage kids buy a few drops of diesel for their fuel-ef­fi­cient fam­ily cars, yet it’s deemed ‘right’ for profit-ob­sessed pub­lic trans­port op­er­a­tors, cab­bies, truck­ers, builders, farm­ers and ship own­ers to guz­zle squil­lions of gal­lons of the same ‘filthy fuel’ for their no­to­ri­ously noisy, in­ef­fi­cient ve­hi­cles?

If you’ve got a big, al­legedly dirty diesel and want to keep it, how about agree­ing to park it for three days out of seven?

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