Diesel engines have been around for a long time, but it seems like they will soon be a thing of the past. They may have their perks, but they emit significantly more emissions than petrol, gas or any kind of electrically powered cars. With global warming on the rise, and millions annual deaths due to poor air quality, it is high time that we take action against these hazardous vehicles.
Statistics show that Europe has been lacking in terms of shifting to newer eco-friendly automotive technologies. 50% of the new registrations in 2016 were for diesel cars as compared to the mere 1% in US and 4% in Japan. Maintaining better air quality needs to be more prioritized in Europe, and one of the first steps to achieving that is by banning diesel-powered vehicles.
Why Ban Diesel Cars
A study conducted by the German Association of the Automobile Industry stated that banning Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) in cars altogether would be unfeasible for the economy and would have more disadvantages than advantages. Comparatively, banning diesel cars would reduce a staggering 80% of the world’s harmful CO2 emissions by the year 2050.
In Europe alone, about 467,000 premature deaths are linked to air pollution and harmful emissions. 40% of these Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions are caused by traffic, and 80% of those come from diesel-powered cars. They cause a number of respiratory illnesses such as lung cancer, emphysema, and so on. Recent studies have even linked air pollution to heart disease and dementia
Warnings from government bodies
As a result, the European Commission sent out warnings to several countries not meeting the air quality standards. They referred Britain, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Romania to the EU’s highest Court of Justice, stating that they failed to respect the air quality standards and didn’t take appropriate measures in time. Consequently, many governments have developed solutions to address this issue.
Diesel Bans to be placed around Europe
December 2018, Madrid banned diesel powered cars made before
2006 from entering the city. The ban reduced traffic by a third on the very
first day. The city looks to expand this ban to all diesel-powered cars by the
year 2020. Diesel car-owners will have until the year 2022 when the ban goes
into full effect.
- The mayor of Madrid, along with the
mayors of Paris, Mexico City, and Athens announced their plans of ridding their
cities of diesel-powered vehicles by 2030 in the C40 Conference. Comparatively,
they will look to promote cleaner alternates and electric vehicles.
- The city of Brussels has initiated a $400 fine on all diesel cars that enter the designated low-emission zones. To follow this new law, hundreds of security cameras have been placed along the city borders. Moreover, they plan to impose a full ban on diesel powered cars by 2030.
- Milan also plans to be diesel-free by 2030 and to achieve this they are looking to introduce a series of smaller bans. Since 21st January 2019, old Euro 3 diesel cars have been banned. This will extend to Euro 4 cars by October 2019, and Euro 5 standards by 2025.
- The capital of Italy also looks to ban such vehicles from 2024 as they house a number of historical monuments that are being damaged by the emissions, according to a survey by the city’s cultural ministry.
- Germany intends to ban all 600,000 new diesel cars by 2019 in Frankfurt and Berlin. In 2015, they had banned manufacturing of diesel cars in various parts of Berlin. Moreover upon the government’s instructions, many car companies such as Volkswagen and Audi are offering trade-in incentives to customers for their old diesel cars.
- In July 2019, Ireland released a Climate Action plan covering a number of measures to improve the environment, including a countrywide ban on diesel vehicles by 2030. By 2040, they will not offer National Car Test certificates to diesel engine cars.
- The UK plans to have only ‘zero-emission cars’ by the year 2040. They
intend to encourage their people to make the switch to electric vehicles by
offering different incentives.
A Life without Diesel-Powered Vehicles
Diesel car owners around Europe need not worry, as all governments have offered several years before fully imposing the ban. Further, countries like Germany will offer incentives to help make the transition easier from diesel cars to more eco-friendly cars. Especially electric vehicles have seen a massive increase in their demand since the announcement of these plans. They are much more energy efficient and produce less NOx and CO2 emissions.
Cities like Amsterdam, Copenhagen and London are encouraging people to use pedestrian zones or try biking as cleaner alternates. Some places like Oslo are even planning to eliminate the use of private cars altogether!
Long Time Coming
This may feel like a great change to some drivers, but it has been a long time coming. With thousands of deaths every year, the least we can do is to try and improve the air that we breathe in every day.