Pollutionwatch: petrol, not diesel, is less polluting in the short term


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Pollutionwatch: petrol, not diesel, is less polluting in the short term” was written by Gary Fuller, for The Guardian on Friday 30th March 2018 02.00 Asia/Kolkata

The UK Society of Motor Manufacturers blamed February’s rise in the average new-car CO2 emissions on an “anti-diesel agenda [that] has set back progress on climate change”. Petrol v diesel cars is often presented as a trade-off between health-harming air pollution and climate-harmful CO2. Diesel cars do more miles to the litre than petrol, but this exaggerates the difference in CO2 emissions since one litre of diesel contains more energy and more carbon than one litre of petrol. If fuel were taxed on energy and carbon, rather than volume, then the tax on diesel would be 10 to 14% greater than that on petrol.

The International Council on Clean Transportation points out that petrol engines and petrol-hybrids have improved faster than diesel and will continue to do so. They conclude that a decline in diesel cars from around 56% to 15% would not jeopardise EU CO2 targets. Instead, it would make the targets cheaper to achieve since petrol engines cost less to make and have simpler exhaust clean-up. The future might be electric cars (or better yet for public health: cycling, walking and public transport), but in the short term new petrol cars, instead of diesel, might help both climate change and air pollution.

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Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).