DIESEL DE­BATE 1

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Project Mercedes-benz E320 Cdi -

u I thought your Edi­to­rial in the June is­sue fell a lit­tle short of your usual sen­si­ble stan­dards.

The Govern­ment’s de­ci­sion some years ago to as­so­ciate car tax­a­tion with CO2 emis­sions was a worth­while ob­jec­tive. The link be­tween CO2 and cli­mate change had been es­tab­lished and mo­torised trans­port is a sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tor to the UK’S CO2 emis­sions. By de­fault, this pol­icy in­cen­tivised more eco­nom­i­cal diesel cars and in­creased the pro­por­tion of diesel ve­hi­cles on our streets.

More re­cently, ev­i­dence has emerged re­gard­ing the tox­i­c­ity of diesel emis­sions, in­clud­ing smaller more harm­ful par­tic­u­lates emit­ted from newer, sup­pos­edly cleaner ve­hi­cles, as well as other health im­pacts. In ad­di­tion, car man­u­fac­tur­ers have not been meet­ing suc­ces­sively ad­vanc­ing emis­sions stan­dards, which was not en­vis­aged. It is in this con­text that the Govern­ment is now be­ing en­cour­aged to re­view its po­si­tion.

In truth, nei­ther petrol- nor diesel-pow­ered cars are good for the en­vi­ron­ment, but a new bal­ance may now need to be struck to help car­bon re­duc­tion and air qual­ity.

Thirty years ago, lead ad­di­tive was banned in petrol fol­low­ing a proven link be­tween lead and health is­sues, the ad­verse ef­fects of which can still be mea­sured. No one would ar­gue for this prac­tice to­day. In time, our re­liance on diesel com­bus­tion in streets, towns and cities may also be viewed as un­de­sir­able. J Hep­ton Mar­tyn Knowles re­sponds: Be­ing a life-long asthma suf­ferer, I’m all for cleaning up the at­mos­phere, but my point was that, to me, scrap­ping some­thing that is still vi­able to use and passes an­nual MOT emis­sion tar­gets, isn’t the way for­ward. Let’s not for­get that to re­place it with a new model in­volves pro­duc­ing loads of man­u­fac­tur­ing CO2, and that’s be­fore the en­gine fires up for the first time.

Many more ve­hi­cles are scrapped by own­ers these days, mainly due to the high cost of re­plac­ing cer­tain com­po­nents – DPFS, DMFS, elec­tri­cal sen­sors, tim­ing chains, etc – be­ing higher than the ve­hi­cle’s value.

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