News has been circulating about the looming end of diesel-engine vehicles in Australia. If this is true, it will be a huge concern for the automotive industry since diesel vehicles like SUVs, LCVs, and heavy commercial trucks comprise a large chunk of total car sales in the country. In fact, more than 32 per cent of new vehicle sales for 2017 were diesel-powered. So, is diesel doomed for real?

Negative Effects of Diesel

Although diesel is a little more expensive than petrol, it is the more efficient fuel. It uses less fuel per kilometre than petrol engines. That’s why many businesses use diesel engine vehicles for travel, transport and delivery; it saves you more fuel money. If diesel is so widely used in the automotive industry, why do we need to ban it in Australia? If it saves us money, then diesel is very beneficial, right? Well, not for the environment.

We all know that cars are some of the biggest pollutants in the world. Among all types of vehicles, a diesel engine is the worst. It produces nitrogen oxide (NOx), one of the hazardous compounds in the air that greatly contributes to pollution. Diesel also produces particulate matter (PM) on top of NOx. PM is tiny soot that remains airborne for a long time after combustion and has carcinogenic properties. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, PM is Group 1 carcinogenic element.

Petrol engines do emit air pollutants (carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons) as well. However, petrol engines have undergone a series of innovations recently, which makes them more fuel efficient with improved emissions. As far as industry experts are concerned, diesel is no longer a desirable fuel. Not to mention, the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal that caused more dents in diesel’s reputation.

Diesel in Europe

Now back to the banning news, it started after European countries made significant moves against continued use of diesel. One notable move was made by Germany when it banned the use of old diesel cars and trucks on two of the main highways of Hamburg. The city became the first one in the country to do so after an administrative court ruling last February.

The ruling was passed to improve the city’s air quality, which has been regularly surpassing the threshold for NOx content. The ban on older diesel vehicles removed more than 214,000 cars on Hamburg streets.

Aside from Hamburg, mayors of Paris, Athens, and Madrid also said in the recent C40 Mayor’s Summit meeting that they are planning to remove diesel vehicles on their streets.

Before this turn of events, the rest of the European Union (EU) has already tightened the requirements on emission standards. The Euro 6, which was introduced in September 2016, decreased the allowable NOx emission from diesel-engined vehicles. From the maximum 180mg NOx per kg allowed in Euro 5, it became just 80mg with Euro 6.

This new emission standard, along with the new surcharges for diesel, it’s a signal that EU is ready to move on from diesel engine vehicles. It is very likely that EU will ban diesel engines soon.

So, how do all of these affect the auto industry in the country?

Diesel in Australia

Australia will be affected in two ways: first, since the EU is gearing towards lesser diesel engine or total ban of it, there will be a fewer supply of European diesel vehicles in the country. And it doesn’t help that American and Asian carmakers are not really committed to diesel passenger cars. This will reduce the number of diesel vehicles running on Australian roads in the future.

Secondly, since Australia mostly follows European standards, diesel emissions will be subject to much tighter regulations in the country as well. Just last month, the Euro 6 has taken effect in Australia. This means all vehicles, regardless of the age, need to be compliant with Euro 6 rules. Hence, there will be a significant reduction of vehicles in Australia that doesn’t meet these standards, especially diesel engine vehicles.

Is diesel doomed in the country?

Yes, but probably not within the next 10 years. Large SUVs and heavy vehicles, which are used for transport and logistics by businesses, still utilize diesel and it’s tough, not to mention costly, to replace them within a shorter time frame. This is despite the fact that manufacturers like Tesla are already working towards EVs that can carry heavy loads.

For everything else, the change is pretty much guaranteed to happen sooner: the majority of Australia is now covered with an electric vehicle (EV) charging network so expect more hybrids and full-electric cars on the roads in the near future.

Now what you should really be asking is, “Should I still buy a diesel vehicle?” Sure, as long as it’s Euro 6 compliant and you plan to have it swapped at some point in the future, you will still get your money’s worth. Diesel fuel will not be scarce in the next 10 years, so you don’t have anything to worry about. That said, it’s still a good idea to start investing in more environment-friendly vehicles as early as today, not only in the interest of saving money but also in the interest of the environment.

Buy A Petrol Car Instead

In light of diesel’s gradual demise, now is a great time to invest in a petrol vehicle. www.CarFinance.com.au is a leading finance provider that helps Australians find the right finance option to suit them. To learn more about car finance options and calculate repayments, see the car finance page. Alternatively, if you wish to speak with us, please call 1300 880 078.

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