September 30th, 2017 by James Ayre
During the first half of 2017, sales figures for petrol/gas-powered cars in Europe surpassed those of diesel-powered cars, for the first time since back in 2009, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) has revealed.
This shift in consumer preferences is no doubt related at least partly to all of the talk as of late about possible diesel car bans in some cities, though probably also due to the bad PR that has accompanied the Volkswagen diesel car emissions scandal.
Going by the figures provided by the ACEA, petrol/gas car sales in Europe rose by around 10% year on year (compared to the first half of 2016), while diesel car sales fell by around 4% year on year.
Perhaps even more noteworthy, though, is the fact that sales of “alternative” vehicles — with that tag comprising everything from all-electrics to hybrids to natural gas cars — rose by over 35% year on year (as compared to the first half of 2016). During the first half of 2017, this category still only managed to grab 5.2% of Europe’s total auto market sales, but expect that percentage to grow considerably in the coming decade.
Reuters provides more: “The mayors of Paris and Athens have said they plan to ban diesel-engine cars in city centers by 2025 in the wake of the emissions scandal, while France is also making plans to reverse favorable tax treatments for diesel. Some expect other European governments to follow suit.
“Even car manufacturing centers Stuttgart and Munich have mulled diesel engine bans. … ACEA, however, cautioned the shift to gasoline engines could make it tougher for Europe to meet CO2 reduction targets.
His precise comment: “Policy makers need to be aware that a sudden shift from diesel technology to petrol will lead to an increase in CO2 emissions,” commented ACEA Secretary General Erik Jonnaert.
I’ll bluntly disagree with the ACEA head here, and state that while that may have some truth with regard to official figures, it has essentially no truth when it comes to actually working to prevent extreme levels of anthropogenic climate change. There’s been a fair amount of recent research calling into question the idea that the use of diesel cars is better than petrol/gas cars with regard to greenhouse gas emissions reductions. Frankly, the findings have been that they aren’t better.
For more on diesel car bans, see the archives linked there or at least these stories:
Scotland Planning To Phase Out Diesel & Petrol/Gas Car Sales By 2032
2040 & 2050 Pollution Car Bans Not So Bold
7 Countries That May Ban Gas & Diesel Cars
The Economist Announces The Death Of The ICE (Finally)
China Plans To Ban Fossil Fuel Vehicles
Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.