Europe Keeps Reducing Diesel Vehicles

European public perception has started taking a strong turn against diesel, amid rising concerns about the health and environmental effects of fuel emissions. In recent years, some local governments, notably in Germany, have discouraged the use of diesel vehicles to focus on improving air quality.

In addition, the 2015 emissions scandal when it emerged that VW Group had been misleading regulators and buyers by using software to suppress emissions during tests has muted demand for diesel vehicles.

Dieselgate and the related urban air quality concerns have totally changed the picture. While the convergence of tax rates on gasoline and diesel is a possibility, consumers are pushing back on higher costs. Within the past year, diesel taxes in countries including Belgium, France, Lithuania, Poland and Portugal have risen by more than the price change in gasoline taxes. In the UK, diesel and gasoline taxes as a share of the total cost of fuel are nearly equal, according to the EU.

Since the 1970s, gasoline has attracted higher taxes than diesel in Europe, which represents the continent’s oil refiners. Governments favored lower diesel taxes as a way to help European automakers compete against gasoline-vehicle imports, to support the commercial trucking industry and because of the greater fuel efficiency of diesel engines. All that is now slowly taking a back seat as petrol hybrid and full electric vehicles take importance for European drivers and legislators.

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