This has led not only to a lower cost of driving fossil fuel powered engines but also to the fact that approx. 70% of all diesel-powered vehicles build each year are sold in Europe. However, despite how affordable it is to own and drive one of these cars, the 2015 Volkswagen scandal has lowered the popularity of diesel cars.
While only Volkswagen got caught, the event impacted the reputation of all the other carmakers that produce cars for Europe and has also led to the development of strict regulations regarding diesel engine emissions.
This having been said, the taxes on diesel fuel are still lower than those on gasoline. Furthermore, there is a large number of diesel cars in the region and their popularity is still quite high. Manufacturers may want to suppress the age of electric vehicles for a while longer, in order to maximize their profits.
This desire has lead to a campaign designed to greenwash diesel. The European Car Manufacturers Association (ACEA) recently stated that diesel engines release up to 20% less carbon dioxide than gasoline ones. The head of the organization made the statement, to be more exact, Dieter Zetsche(CEO of Daimler, which is the parent company of Mercedes-Benz).
The organization argued that electric vehicles are not popular enough for people to buy them, and also that there is no charging infrastructure that they could use. They have also proposed that they are allowed to manufactured diesel cars, with the specifications that they will reduce emissions by another 20%.
The answer of the regulators was that, in reality, diesel engines emit 0.3% more carbon dioxide than their gasoline counterparts, when it comes to real-world driving. We must also keep in mind that there are other harmful gases produced by diesel-powered vehicles, such as nitrous oxide.
The tests performed on 188 diesel vehicles have uncovered the BMW models produce 0.141 grams of nitrous oxides per kilometer and those made by Renault 1.674 milligrams per kilometer. The vehicles from all other carmakers were between these two. This is more or less shocking news, as all the vehicles were required to conform to the Euro 6 standard, which calls for a maximum of 0.080 grams per kilometer.
In essence, none of the 188 vehicles passed the test. This suggests that car manufacturers will not only have to find ways to make existing diesel engines conform to the Euro 6 standard but also develop new technologies to ensure that future models will be prepared for the stricter requirements of Euro 7.
Hopefully, carmakers will be unsuccessful in further slowing down the elimination of diesel cars from Europe. Regulators have already scored a victory due to the fact that they have seen through Zetsche’s deceptive offer.