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How Much Diesel Does the UK Use?

Dec 13 2017 Read 740 Times

With the government recently announcing plans to increase taxes on new diesel cars, it's clear that the nationwide phase out is well underway. But just how reliant is the UK on diesel? According to the latest studies, British vehicles guzzle 50% more diesel than petrol.

New figures from the Department for Transport reveal that in 2016 diesel consumption hit an all-time high of 24.6 million tonnes. This represents a significant jump from the 12 million tonnes of petrol consumed by British drivers.

Diesel usage jumps by 4%

While sales of new diesel models have slipped since the Volkswagen emissions scandal broke in 2015, it hasn't stopped the UK from increasing its diesel usage by 4% in 2016. Meanwhile, petrol consumption dropped by 1% year-on-year. For Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, the data offers a candid glimpse at just how reliant the UK has become on diesel.  

"These figures reveal just how deeply diesel power has penetrated motoring in this country," he says.

The role of HGVs

Unsurprisingly heavy transport has played an important role, with more than half of diesel consumption accounted for by vans, lorries, buses and coaches. As well as 12 million diesel powered cars, British roads are also home to four million vans and around half a million HGVs. With the majority powered by diesel engines, the transport industry is a big contributor to consumption statistics.

"Whether we like it or not it's going to take time to halt the diesel juggernaut and 'green' a fleet of this scale," comments Gooding.

The "demonisation of diesel"

So what's being done to combat the UK's insatiable thirst for diesel? In the recently announced National Budget Chancellor Philip Hammond announced that new diesel cars that didn't meet revised emissions standards would be hit with a tax increase of one band in the first-year vehicle excise duty (VED) rate. While Hammond maintains that the tax system will be a powerful weapon in the fight against climate change, critics have slammed the government for its "demonisation of diesel."

According to Mike Hawes, chief executive of trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, "This Budget will also do nothing to remove the oldest, most polluting vehicles from our roads in the coming years." AA president Edmund King has also criticised the move, asserting that new diesel models are already much cleaner than their predecessors, which means that the "unnecessary" tax band increase simply "adds to the demonisation of diesel."

Diesel isn't the only fuel under fire, with the UK also planning to ban petrol-powered cars by 2040. As a result, suppliers are doing everything they can to maximise profits before the deadline. For a closer look at the latest techniques designed to heighten efficiency don't miss 'Non-Invasive Clamp-On Ultrasonic Flow Measurement of Crude Oil.'

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