Sales of new diesel cars fall by 90%

New analysis by Clean Cities Campaign shows sales of diesel cars across the UK have fallen by 90% while electric car sales have increased by 1,674%.

Less than 8% of all new car registrations in London were diesel in 2021, compared to 13% in 2020 and 20% in 2019.

Across the UK, more battery electric vehicles (BEVs) were registered than diesel cars for the first time in the third quarter of 2021, following a 44% increase in BEVs compared to the same period in 2020.

In the last five years, there has been a fall of 89.4% in the number of diesel cars purchased in the UK, but petrol and diesel sales still outnumber EV sales by five to one.

Oliver Lord, UK Head of Clean Cities Campaign, said: ‘After years of campaigning and industry smokescreens, the end is in sight for diesel cars. We’ll go far quicker and save thousands more lives if we give them a final push into the scrapyard. Local authorities must do everything they can to nudge behaviour, including ending car parking permits for new diesel cars from next year and committing to go diesel free by 2030. This would create an important milestone on the journey to healthy air and tackling the climate crisis.’

The data reveals that Islington could be the first London borough to become diesel free, with campaigners estimating no new diesel cars registered in the borough in the next 12 months, based on trends from the last five years.

The analysis comes as campaign group Mums for Lungs urges local authorities to help areas become diesel free, with a billboard campaign calling for ‘The End of Diesel Fumes’.

Diesel is still a disproportionate contributor to air pollution, with recent research showing that diesel cars in London cause three times as much pollution as trucks and lorries.

In order to ensure that diesel cars are phased out quickly, campaigners are calling for councils to stop providing permits for new diesel cars from next year with an exemption for blue badge holders. Existing permits would be honoured.

David Nicholson, a member of Mums for Lungs, commented: ‘Fifteen years ago we called time on cigarette smoke in pubs. Local councils must now call time on diesel smoke in our communities contaminating the air we breathe. This is especially important to protect children, people with asthma and less well off people who are forced to live next to busy roads.’

Photo by engin akyurt


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