Europe Falls out of Love with Diesel Cars

Europe’s intoxicating love affair with diesel is dying out

"In 2017, diesel sales in the UK plunged by a whopping 17%. In Germany it was 7%. In France, the share of new diesels dropped to under 50% of the market for the first time in 17 years. From making up 45.9% of the car market in Germany in 2016, they now account for 38.8%. Last year, sales of petrol cars outstripped diesel in the first half of the year for the first time since 1999....

"While hardly a day goes by without Germany’s auto giants trumpeting their big e-mobility plans, they have invested billions in diesel-engine development and in upgrading the tech to clean up emissions, so they are loath to walk away from the technology.

"They simply won’t make as much money on e-vehicles as they do on diesels, which are more expensive than petrol models. 'Electric cars in general won’t be as profitable as cars with combustion engines,; BMW CEO Harald Krüger said in September'

druidtides's picture

While there are numerous subsidies to get people into electric cars, it's not really practical for those living outside big cities. For those of us living in rural areas, electric cars have too little range and it requires a massive investment in infrastructure to install all the charging stations needed. IMHO it's a fools errand to think that this will make a difference in Co2 emissions. For example, Ireland's total emissions are about 45 MCo2 per year. The US military produced around 83 Million MCo2 per year so any reductions we get aren't even noise but hurt a lot of people. Until the world addresses that big elephant in the room and forces the US to stand down, we are all better off not punishing people. This is also a big issue behind the protests in France.

Serinde's picture

I agree that the infrastructure isn't in place, although in our newest hospital car parking area, there are a lot of bays reserved for electric vehicles and have their own electricity hook ups. It's a start, and here in Scotland there's even talk about installing the ultra fast type of chargers along the A9 (most important north-south motorway). Combine that with good tea rooms and loos, and you've got a winner for sure.

I live in a rural area and thought seriously about buying an electric vehicle because I could plug it in at home, of course. What stopped the purchase was the impossibility of travelling long distances -- not something I do a lot, but if there's no other way to get there (bus or train) then there's no choice. I'm not prepared to own two cars, and renting 'as and when' isn't an option, so a hybrid it is.

However, I respectfully must reject the idea that because (for example) the US is a monster CO2 polluter it follows that nothing the rest of us do is worthwhile. I can't do much individually, of course, but I will do the little I can do for a host of reasons. My actions partially insulate me from those who would say I talk the talk but don't walk the walk. My actions might influence others to moderate their behaviour. All of us working together can influence governments to make better decisions. Scotland does well in these stakes, although I'd admit it's both a weak field and an easy ask when almost all your heavy manufacturing is gone or outsourced. But new industries include wave/tidal power generation, for example, and then there's Eigg: whose example might be very useful for the first few steps down the backslope of the long descent.

David Trammel's picture

Serinde, one of prime focuses that I've made with the site here is personal resilience as opposed to public resilience. There is only so much we each can do to change the way business as usual is going on as individuals. That means you won't see those grand ideas like massive marches and political campaigns pushed here. There seems to be plenty of those sites out there.

Instead I would rather focus here on Green Wizards on the skills and knowledge that helps the little people, like you and me, develop deeper resilience and adaptability to the harsh world I'm expecting to come of our global inactions.

Walking the Talk, rather than Talking the Walk.

Some of those changes fit into the whole green living meme and some of them don't. I've driven a hybrid when recently I rented a car for long travel, and the fuel saving was substantial. I'm not going to buy one though. I have two older cars, a small '91 suv and a small '96 truck which I plan on driving until they collapse. I would get rid of them both if the infrastructure allowed me to, but St Louis isn't bike or bus friendly for me and my work. Two cars not one allows me resilience if one breaks down. I do though plan out my car usage and combine trips as much as possible.

I also use concrete and pvc in my garden because they're cheap and available. I also use many other advantages of modern life, but I try to use them as little as I can. I haven't used my air conditioning for years, instead just sleep in my basement on hot days.

Those kind of small lifestyle changes would be good for you, even if we weren't facing a slow decline of our civilization.

I applaud when we see the powers that be do something to help fight climate change, but I'm not very hopeful it will be anything but public relations and posturing. The changes that will help us as a race survive will be personal and private.

Serinde's picture

I'm not sure what happened here because I'm certainly not criticising anyone for their sensible choices in going forward on what we all agree is going to be a difficult road. Different contexts require different solutions -- the more alternatives we have, the better we off we all are, as JMG has said. But if I've strayed across a line, my apologies.

David Trammel's picture

I freely admit I'm a bit of a zealot when it comes to Green Wizardry and can let my pessimism of the future come through at times but I'm never offended if a person chooses to walk a different path. Nor was I offended by anything you said.

After all one of our founding principles set by Greer was "Strength through Desensus", that is there is no one right way of doing something. Especially in the uncertain future we all face.