They have been hit with high taxes, banned from some cities and demonised as an environmental hazard - but Yorkshire’s diesel drivers are adamant that their cars won’t become extinct.
Despite the looming 2040 ban on diesel models, more than a third of drivers in Yorkshire believe that the black pump is here to stay and that the fuel type will outlive the deadline.
New research from independent car buying site carwow, also reveals that motorists believe diesel has been unfairly singled out for criticism, with 50 per cent feeling the ‘dieselgate’ fallout over the past two years has been over the top.
While 79 per cent of those surveyed feel we need to do more to reduce our emissions, many drivers suggest that the responsibility shouldn’t sit with them, with only 43 per cent considering a switch to an electric or hybrid vehicle within the next two years.
Asked if they think diesel models will disappear from the roads entirely, 10 per cent of Yorkshire drivers said no, while one in ten drivers admit their next car is likely to be a diesel, regardless of impending deadlines. A further quarter believe that alternatively-fuelled vehicles will not become commonplace in their lifetime.
This is backed up by analysis from carwow’s international trading director Alex Rose, who said: “Any assumption that diesel will trickle to zero is presumptuous - we don’t believe this will happen - at least not in the foreseeable future.
“The fear factor will pass. The uncertainty - powered by a lack of Government clarity - will dissipate as the reality is that the current generation of diesel cars are very clean.
“We are seeing that pragmatism is slowly returning - drivers are taking their own driving needs into consideration and the reality is that for some drivers, a new lesser-polluting diesel, is the best option. For the past three months, interest in diesel has been steady at 32 per cent of total configurations and accounted for 25 per cent of purchases.
“Yes, there has been a two per cent drop in diesel consideration (from 34 to 32 per cent) since January 2018, but it shows that sensible decision making - informed by driving needs, rather than fear mongering - is returning.
“While diesel sales are much lower than they used to be across the country and may never recover as strong a market share, there won’t be a vanishing point where the cars simply disappear from roads and forecourts.
“If the UK government is serious in its desire to rid UK roads of diesel, then it needs to clarify its future position on fuel types in terms of taxation and other penalties or incentives. The current uncertainty is perpetuated by frequent and contradictory announcements which are unhelpful to consumers and potentially damaging to the industry.
“At the same time, as an industry we could be more decisive. Collectively, the automotive sector hasn’t done a great job of clarifying just how clean modern diesel engines are. It’s as though nobody wants to be the first to speak up about it. We should show faith in the advanced engineering of manufacturers and more importantly, advise motorists on the best car for them, based on their driving needs.”
Sales of diesels have fallen 2.76 per cent since January on the carwow site, and by 6.35 per cent on this time last year. However, it remains the fuel of choice for 28 per cent of carwow buyers, in comparison to six per cent choosing hybrids and one per cent buying electric vehicles.
Alex Rose, from carwow, added: “For drivers doing regular, long distances in their cars, a modern diesel engine is still a sensible choice, particularly for heavier vehicles, for which a diesel engine is perfectly suited.
“New ‘clean diesels’ now offer the power of older models but thanks to their ultra-low sulphur fuel, emissions control technology and generally more efficient engines, clean diesels now have near-zero emissions. As a result, our future will see diesel continuing to play a significant role in powering vehicles, alongside petrol, electric and hybrid.”