Business secretary Greg Clark is confident that diesel-powered cars have a future on UK roads, despite oilburners currently being out of favour

Sales of new diesel engines have a future in the UK, a government minister has said, despite concerns that frugal oilburning powertrains will be banned post-2040.

“There is a place for diesel,” business secretary Greg Clark told the FT Future of the Car Summit 2018. “City centres are a flashpoint. Driving diesel a long distance is a different question.”

Government is currently working on a white paper dubbed 'Road to Zero', which will outline a policy framework for managing road transport emissions towards zero by 2035/40.

Exclusive: 2040 UK ban on sale of new combustion-engined cars set to be confirmed

Suggesting that diesels are not totally out of favour inside government, Clark singled out the latest diesel technology as having a role in reducing greenhouse gases.

“New generation diesel can make a big contribution to reducing emissions,” he said.

Leaks from the drafts of the Road to Zero paper have suggested draconian policies that could even ban the sale of new plug-in hybrids if they lack sufficient electric-only range to hit a possible legal target for at least 50-mile electric range by 2040.

“There will be more detail on diesel versus electric vehicles in our forthcoming publication,” Clark added.

The content of the white paper is understood to being fiercely contested by at least three departments – business, environment and transport.

Environment, under Michael Gove, can be expected to be resolutely anti-diesel, while transport has made anti-diesel comments. Chris Grayling, for example, even suggested car buyers should “think twice about buying a diesel”.

Our Verdict

Audi Q2

Audi downsizes its Q-badged SUV line-up by one more notch, but can the Q2 drive inspire buyers to forgo the Seat Ateca and Mini Countryman?

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

It now appears business is to come out in favour of diesel, subject to usage limits – for example diesel bans in high-pollution hotspots.

However Clark indicated that the white paper may well call time on older, less clean diesels, although he fell short of announcing a scrappage scheme.

“It would be wrong for people to hold on to an older diesel,” he said.

Read more 

Exclusive: 2040 UK ban on sale of new combustion-engined cars set to be confirmed

Kia Sportage Ecodynamics+ mild hybrid diesel confirmed for 2018

New UK diesel car tax hike now in force

Join the debate

Comments
7

16 May 2018

Future is Mirai and Prii, not!

16 May 2018

If goverments came out and said petrol, diesel and EV's have a future (mid-term) but in the right proportion then this constant to'ing and throwing wouldn't raise confusion and damage to car industry. 

typos1 - Just can’t respect opinion

16 May 2018

Oil produces 1/3 diesel to 2/3 petrol.  Now they figured the diesel stockpile is a problem so they are saying diesel is not too bad after all.  SWoon diesel is the future until electric gets new technology. 

Van_diesel

16 May 2018
...diesel is dead.

Now, I've been saying this for a month, now. And I can see that there are some who won't accept it. But ALWAYS remember that the customer is king. It is the customer who decides markets. And if you want to know what the customer is doing, go look at diesel car sales. Diesel is dead.

16 May 2018
Bazzer wrote:

...diesel is dead. Now, I've been saying this for a month, now. And I can see that there are some who won't accept it. But ALWAYS remember that the customer is king. It is the customer who decides markets. And if you want to know what the customer is doing, go look at diesel car sales. Diesel is dead.

 

Almost.. The customers are reacting to what the government is doing.

Gov makes diesel cheaper.. Lots of people buy diesel cars.

Gov taxes diesel cars up to the eyeballs, people stop buying diesel cars.

So if diesel is dead, then its not because of customers..

16 May 2018
The slinky diesel lobby. Car makers strategy to hold back alternative fuel vehicles in decent numbers appears to be paying off.

17 May 2018

We have already seen two articles on these pages highlighting new technology developed by Bosch and a British university which drastically cuts Nox emissions, making then cleaner than petrol, so there is a future for diesel. If you introduce a graded tax system for Nox it won't be long before manufactures produce cars that meet the targets as they did with Co2. As always its a stick not a carrot, and I wonder if government departments are still buying/using diesels themsevles!

jellybeeetle

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week