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Last week's poll: Discouraging diesel

London Mayor Boris Johnson is lobbying for a £10 additional charge for diesel cars to drive into Central London by 2020, and for road tax on diesel cars and all pre-2006 cars to  be increased, to counter air pollution. What option most closely matches your opinion on this?

 Boris Johnson’s proposals to penalise diesel to improve urban air quality wasn’t popular with the 886 respondents to last week’s poll. Half of respondents were entirely against hitting Tommy Taxpayer, saying it was unfair to penalise people who’d gone for what they thought was a more efficient form of engine. Almost a quarter thought Johnson’s proposal hit the wrong target, saying that pressure should be put on diesel engine makers to improve the performance of engines and reduce the harmful particulate emissions. Only 9 per cent thought the proposal should be enacted before its target date of 2020, beacuse of the risk of air pollution; while 7 per cent thought increasing tax on diesel itself would be more effective. Another 11 per cent did not pick an option.


The debate on this issue is already among the lievliest we’ve had on a poll. Please continue to send us your opinions.

diesel air pollution

Source: Wikipedia Commons

The air quality around Engineer Towers isn’t the best



Readers' comments (48)

  • Note that diesel was used in preference to petrol in tunneling because of carbon monoxide.


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  • It is a fallacy to say that one or the other fuel derivative is responsible for pollution as it depends on a whole cornucopia of things. The only way you can any effect at all is to ban traffic totally, that means black cabs as well. So, its not going to happen is it?

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  • Its pretty standard practice that rules and laws that wherein place when you purchased or did something, apply today.

    To penalise car owners this way is irresponsible and socially unacceptable as its a non-progressive tax - i.e. doesn't really make any difference if you are rich.

    Scrapping perfectly usable vehicles is also not exactly green and what's specific about pre-2006 cars. Quite sure there are cars of this vintage that are cleaner than large current models - or is this all about ok for Boris and his rich mates again.

    PS Not left wing at all, just believe in fair play!

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  • Most of us believe that the tax on diesel fuel is grossly inflated and therefore already includes an allowance to compensate for its relative pollution footprint by comparison with unleaded petrol.

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  • A few years ago one of the budgets stipulated that diesel fuel should be 10p/litre cheaper than unleaded fuel. This was done to attract car owners to use the more efficient diesel powered vehicles. The increase in diesel vehicle ownership increased so much that the government then raised the taxes to create more revenue. It's all about what they can gain in increased tax.

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  • A couple of points:
    Will the extra tax be ring fenced so that new anti-pollution activities are paid for?
    Road Tax is part of general taxation so how will increasing this tax benefit road users, or more importantly non-motorised road users?
    Surely properly maintained vehicles met the requirements of the current laws, and therefore testing vehicles should be more stringent to catch non-compliant vehicles and keep them off the road.

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  • If the evidence that PM 10 particulates and smaller are as damaging as is being stated by press reports, action must be taken quickly.
    After the global warming scare-headline fiascos, there is always a doubt that proponents apply scare tactics to grab headlines and I would like to see the facts clearly set-out before launching major regulation changes.

    Unfortunately, facts seem to be of little concern to our politicians and civil servants.

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  • I drive a diesel hybrid which, when I bought it, I thought was London Congestion Charge free. I had occasion to test this a couple of weeks ago when I got lost and inadvertently strayed into the Charge area. I didn't realise, and got a £65.00 penalty charge despite being a hybrid and running on electric too! Now Boris wants to charge me more just because I bought an economical diesel engine just like we were all encouraged to do. In any case, it seems to me that the major culprits are commercial vehicles and poorly maintained trucks and cars. This where the efforts should be directed, not at innocent private motorists! PS. My annual car tax is only £10.00 because it is a hybrid. There needs to be some coordinated thinking here. So, do I buy another hybrid when this one comes up for renewal, or do I buy that nice powerful petrol engined car that I lust over? I await comments with interest!

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  • What about buses and othet heavy vehicles.
    Diesel engine designed shall be upgraded to give less polution then panelty to owners.
    In 80,s it used to be 750rpm and today 3000rpm and 4 stroke really less noice and less pollution.

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  • I would say that it is totally fair to change the law on cars sold from this point onwards but it cannot be backdated. That wouldn't be fair at all!
    It also would not surprise me if this was applied, nothing our government does seems to have any level of fairness or common sense.

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