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Diesel Drivers ‘Should Pay Up To £800 More Tax’

March 12, 2016

By Paul Homewood  


h/t Black Pearl




From Sky:


Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for new diesel cars should be raised by up to £800 to help improve air quality, a think tank has said.

Policy Exchange also proposes that the higher tax fund a scrappage scheme for older diesel models.

It suggested £500m could be raised each year through the higher VED, with the proceeds being put towards £2,000 grants for the owners of older diesels to purchase a cleaner car.

It argued that such drivers should not be penalised for buying diesels in good faith at a time when they were seen as being a more environmentally sound alternative to petrol vehicles.

Diesel has since come under fire, with nitrogen dioxide from exhausts being blamed for tens of thousands of deaths in the UK each year.

In January, a study launched in reaction to the VW emissions scandal found that large numbers of diesel cars were breaking official emissions limits despite complying with testing regimes.

The fresh proposal follows a similar call for a scrappage scheme by a committee of MPs last year.

It revives memories of a £400m project that ran from 2009 to 2010 and saw owners who scrapped their old cars paid £2,000 – split between Government and the motor industry – towards the cost of a new one, boosting the fortunes of the car making industry in the wake of the financial crisis.

Richard Howard, head of environment and energy at Policy Exchange, said London and other major UK cities were facing an "air pollution crisis".

"If we are to clean up air pollution then the Government needs to recognise that diesel is the primary cause of the problem, and to promote a shift to alternatives," he said.

"This needs to be done in a way which does not unduly penalise existing diesel drivers, who bought their vehicle in good faith, and gives motorists sufficient time to respond.

"Instead of increasing diesel fuel duty or banning diesels from city centres, the Government should look to increase taxes on new diesel cars and offer scrappage grants to take old polluting diesels off the road."



I don’t know where they think the money is going to come from to fund the scrappage scheme. A tax of £800 would kill the market stone dead (which presumably is the object?).

In addition, car manufacturers would face enormous retooling costs to convert diesel engines plants. Ford at Dagenham, for instance, concentrates wholly, I believe, on diesel engines, and is reckoned to be the largest producer of Ford diesel engines globally. Such a tax would be a massive blow to them, and demand for petrol engines would likely be sourced from abroad instead.

Given that the UK’s car industry is one of the country’s big successes, creating such havoc would seem short sighted to say the least.  


The very real danger here though is that, if they are allowed to get away with this, it will create a precedent for taxing petrol cars off the road next. As I have long warned, the only way they are going to get us into their precious little electric cars is to tax our existing ones to the hilt.   

  1. Joe Public permalink
    March 12, 2016 11:45 am

    You mention Ford, and there’s also Perkins at Peterborough:

  2. johnmarshall permalink
    March 12, 2016 11:48 am

    NOx causing thousands of deaths a year?
    Where is the data to support this wild claim?
    No data then the claim is false. Much like PM2.5 data which came from one study and models. The study was faulty.

  3. dangeroosdave permalink
    March 12, 2016 12:38 pm

    Here is my experience with VW diesels, specifically the 1.9L Turbo model 1995 = 515,000 miles; 1998 = 465,000 miles; 2003 = 313,000 miles. I burn 1gal diesel fuel for every 45-55 miles, making it very economical to pay about 120% of gasoline price and receive about 250% of utility. If someone or some country wants to cut their fuel emissions by 50% – switch to gasoline. I only move about 250# of cargo (myself), but the people who move large quantities of ### from here to there in buses, trucks, ships, locomotives, aircraft, and even stationary power plants who only have to rotate an armature – have all noticed that diesel fuel/bunker fuel/JETA yields the largest amount of energy for the smallest amount of fuel consumed. I’m almost embarrassed to bring science into an environmental discussion…almost.

  4. Bloke down the pub permalink
    March 12, 2016 12:38 pm

    Many of the engines produced at Dagenham will be for export, and would therefore not be affected directly by this proposal. George is still looking to raise more taxation to fill the deficit, so I wouldn’t expect any change to be revenue neutral.

  5. March 12, 2016 12:53 pm

    Politicians and think tanks suffer from must-do-something-now syndrome, but in this case doing nothing is probably the best course of inaction, technology will improve and resolve the problem in 10 years time.

    Vehicle pollution is only a problem in cities and large towns, so those affected should take local action, avoiding long lines of stationary traffic in wind restricted areas, better park-and-ride schemes, etc.

  6. March 12, 2016 1:21 pm

    We were told diesel was cleaner and better than petrol.

    Policy Exchange can ask those who conned us to pay the bill.

    Quite frankly they are criminals and are responsible for “tens of thousands of deaths in the UK each year” – mass manslaughter.

    • March 12, 2016 2:20 pm

      As John Marshall says, there is no evidence for the “tens of thousands of deaths”. These sort of numbers are thrown up for all sorts of situations in which something is demonised and no-one ever challenges the numbers.

      If you were to check through all the claims of “excess deaths due to X,Y, or z”, you would end up with more people dead than have actually died in total from all causes, as shown from the ONS.

      The other one is “premature deaths”. Who can say what is a premature death, but again we get figures stating “thousands of premature deaths could be avoided – if”.

      John Brignell calls them Trojan numbers:

      • AndyG55 permalink
        March 12, 2016 6:45 pm

        Anyway, I thought the far-left wanted a reduction in population.

        Wish they would make up their tiny little minds.

  7. BLACK PEARL permalink
    March 12, 2016 1:26 pm

    Yet another eco organisation I’d never heard of
    Where do Policy Exchange get their funding from ?

    • March 12, 2016 3:02 pm

      Supposed to be a charity, but is essentially the Conservative alternative to Labour’s IPPR.
      Chairman of Trustees is David Frum, former Bush speech writer:

      Policy Exchange say they are the UK’s leading think tank, IPPR say they are the UK’s leading progressive thinktank, also a charity. Their Chairman of Trustees is “Blair Lord”, Andrew Adonis:

      I don’t know that Policy Exchange would describe themselves as an eco organisation, but there is plenty of public money involved in their proposal and that always brings the troughers along.

      Their push on diesel is full of the usual unsubstantiated claims, such as “It is estimated that if air pollution stayed at current levels it would reduce the average life expectancy across all Londoners born in 2010 by up to 2 years (9 months for Particulate Matter and up to 15 months for NO2).”

      Estimated by who, on what basis and how can they account for all the other confounding factors that such individuals will encounter in their lifetimes. The “official limits” are also somewhat dubious, as they cannot be scientifically determined.

      Cameron of course is a closet “green”, captured by WWF some time ago and his father in law gets good revenue from wind turbines:

      • Graeme No.3 permalink
        March 13, 2016 4:15 am

        I wonder if he is a relative of John Frum – as in ‘John Frum America’ the basis of various cargo cults in Melanesia (Solomons, Papua New Guinea etc.).

        He was supposed to arrive by plane one day and deliver wealth to the believers. They readied themselves with futile activities like building ‘runways’ on the side of mountains etc.

        Can’t think why that came to mind…

  8. Rasa permalink
    March 12, 2016 1:50 pm

    …… I often wonder why they call them Think Tanks. It’s obvious no thoughts take place. Diesels are great. Fuel efficient. Clean and lots of power from small engines. Love diesels.

  9. S Allnutt permalink
    March 12, 2016 3:11 pm

    How about £800 off petrol cars instead?

    • Joe Public permalink
      March 12, 2016 3:27 pm

      Too simple – wouldn’t keep non-productive erks in a quango & off the unemployment register.

  10. March 12, 2016 3:19 pm

    The greenies are surprisingly quiet about all this diesel pollution; but then since bio-fuels are in fact synthetic diesel, we are unlikely to hear any calls for the abolition of diesel engines from the eco-biffs.

    • AndyG55 permalink
      March 12, 2016 6:48 pm

      And what about all those “diesel farms” set up using diesel generators to fill in the huge gaps in electricity supply left by wind and solar ?

  11. martinbrumby permalink
    March 12, 2016 4:11 pm

    Even some normally sensible sceptics seem to have swallowed the anti-diesel engine agit-prop hook, line and sinker.

    But the people behind the scary stories are pretty much the same bunch as the glowbull warming scaremongers and dozens of other scary and political driven scams besides, from drinking wine to the survival of the Barrier Reef.

    As dennisambler and several others have noted, if you add up all the alleged victims, it will certainly exceed the UK’s total annual death rate.

    Yes, atmospheric pollution can be a problem. Try Beijing, Mandalay, Bangkok, Delhi and many others. But, firstly, even the worst of these is many times better that the air quality in 1950s and 1960s Medway Towns where I went to school; let alone the air quality then in The Great Wen. Somehow I and almost everyone else survived, although the great smogs did undoubtedly finish off many people who had respiratory problems to start with. And secondly, it isn’t clear to me that where there are air problems today in Beijing & Mandalay for example, they are due to diesels. When I was in the former (some years ago now) burning lignite on open fires in the hutongs and heavy industry without chimney emissions control seemed to be the bigger problems. In Mandalay it seemed to be a massive influx of ultra cheap Chinese mopeds burning God-knows-what filthy stuff as fuel. Certainly not diesel.

    All the Big Green incompetents and fraudsters still haven’t realised that, once you destroy any credibility you might once have had by telling silly lies, no sane person is going to believe you about anything. Maybe there is serious and credible non model-based evidence of the dangers of PM2.5s and NOX at the concentrations to be found in British cities. But I’ve never seen it. And, without double checking, I wouldn’t trust the WHO or the other usual suspects if they told me that Xmas day 2016 would fall on 25 December.

  12. tom0mason permalink
    March 12, 2016 7:55 pm

    “…new diesel cars should be raised by up to £800…”

    Then they’ll wonder why sales of vegetable oil, and the amount of farm diesel used would rise…

  13. John F. Hultquist permalink
    March 13, 2016 2:43 am

    cash for clunkers [USA 2009]
    The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), colloquially known as “cash for clunkers”, was a $3 billion U.S. federal scrappage program intended to . . .”

    The bottom line is that such programs do very little that is useful and produce a lot of waste. Very usable autos are scrapped that might otherwise have been available to financially challenged families. This is an example of how the wealth of a country is squandered. Stupendously stupid.

    • March 13, 2016 11:25 am

      Good point John

      How much CO2 is created in building a new car?

      • David Richardson permalink
        March 13, 2016 6:03 pm

        At least 75% of a vehicles CO2 life emissions are in its manufacture, a little more if its electric, which makes scrappage nonsense a dubious scheme from an eco point of view.

        We should make all cars last 20 years. What could possibly be wrong with that? Oh! wait a minute that would harm GDP wouldn’t it and tax take.

  14. manicbeancounter permalink
    March 13, 2016 8:54 am

    The relative tax benefits given to diesel cars was purely because they emit lower CO2 emissions than the equivalent petrol cars. The policy-makers massively forgot about the dangerous particulate emissions and created incentives to rig the tests results.
    If policy-makers got it wrong before, they should learn from that experience and try to unwind the adverse consequences of their actions. Gradual movement away from CO2 emissions would be the best way forward, maybe to one based on a combination of maximum power output and engine capacity.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      March 13, 2016 11:46 am

      No it should only be based on Real Fuel Consumption, Efficiency and thus resource saving (stretching) should be paramount. The fact that it also saves the user money is an added bonus.
      The “dangerous particulate emissions” have never been proven as dangerous and if you have actually looked at the graphs of those supposed problems, especially “NOX” you would see that they have been coming down for many years.
      Just not fast enough for the politicians that live in La La land.
      Have you seen the study carried out by the US EPA?
      They subjected volunteers to massively high doses of Diesel Exhaust fumes without telling them how dangerous it was supposed to be and they luckily came away unscathed, for now at least.

  15. BLACK PEARL permalink
    March 14, 2016 9:06 pm

    Dont most of the particulates from road traffic consist of brake pads & tyre dust ?

  16. March 21, 2016 12:29 am

    Yes the dreaded death by nitrous oxide poisoning from the atmosphere syndrome. Horrific scenes of emergency wards flooded with victims, heart rending stories of survivors describing the last moments of loved ones who died with all the telltale signs of atmospheric nitrous oxide poisoning. The horror of suddenly realizing that it has happened to you and the inevitable agonizing death that is about to happen.

  17. March 21, 2016 9:06 am

    Have they given up trying to make road dust stick to the road in London?

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