Drivers are ditching diesel in fear of anti-pollution charges that would not affect them

Motors | Published:

New study finds many diesel owners are confused by low-emission zones and how diesel cars are affected

Ultra Low Emission Zone

Confusion about which diesel cars are targeted by low-emission zones is leading many motorists to ditch the fuel ‘even when it’s the best option for them’.

New research suggests that more than one-third of motorists don’t know if their current diesel car meets the latest Euro 6 emissions standards, which would make it exempt from any anti-pollution charges.

Most models built since 2015 meet Euro 6, with the majority of the 613 drivers interviewed on behalf of saying they owned a vehicle less than three years old.

Air pollution

However, 41 per cent said they had no idea if they would be charged for entering a low-emission zone, while 37 per cent didn’t know if their car met regulations.

Meanwhile, 67 per cent said they were planning to ditch diesel said their main priority was fuel economy, meaning ‘many drivers are abandoning the fuel efficiency of diesel for fear of anti-pollution charges that would not affect them’.

Austin Collins, managing director of, said: “Our findings suggest that many motorists are hopelessly confused about the impact of ultra-low emission zone charges on them and are often unnecessarily switching away from diesel even when it remains the best option for them.


“Our research has consistently revealed worries among diesel drivers about the prospect of being penalised for entering cities now and in the future, as ultra-low emission zones are rolled out across the country. But this is the first time we have found such a clear gap between their fears and reality.

“We suspect that what we are seeing is the lingering aftermath of the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, in which official fuel consumption testing figures were falsified, and that many otherwise satisfied drivers of diesel cars have lost confidence that the cars are as economical as they once believed.

New traffic restrictions – Dublin

“The accelerating move to introduce anti-pollution penalties up and down the country has only added to their discomfort and many drivers are taking a ‘better safe than sorry’ approach to choosing their next cars – even if that could cost them more overall and see them switching to a less suitable car.”

A number of UK towns and cities have introduced or plan to introduce ultra-low emission zones to tackle local air pollution. These include London, Glasgow, York and Leeds.

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