Most drivers of diesel-engined cars deserve no sympathy. In fact they deserve opprobrium.
More than 10 years ago, when Gordon Brown was chancellor of the exchequer, the Inland Revenue (latterly HMRC) changed the regime for company cars, fuel taxes were tinkered with, and the way the Department of Transport charged for road tax were restructured. All of this was designed to encourage people to buy diesel-engined cars and equally to penalise those who bought petrol-engined cars.
This was on the premise that diesel-engined cars emit less CO2 than equivalently powerful petrol -engined cars, and CO2 is bad which is, of course, manifest bollocks.
Back when this was implemented those of us with a clue were angered by the government choosing to tackle possible but unproven effects of CO2 emissions, while roundly ignoring the known and proven carcinogenic effects of the particulate emissions from diesel exhausts.
Let’s see what Wikipedia says about diesel particulates.
Diesel particulate matter (DPM), sometimes also called diesel exhaust particles (DEP), is the particulate component of diesel exhaust, which includes diesel soot and aerosols such as ash particulates, metallic abrasion particles, sulfates, and silicates. When released into the atmosphere, DPM can take the form of individual particles or chain aggregates, with most in the invisible sub-micrometre range of 100 nanometers, also known as ultrafine particles (UFP) or PM0.1.
The main particulate fraction of diesel exhaust consists of fine particles. Because of their small size, inhaled particles may easily penetrate deep into the lungs. The rough surfaces of these particles makes it easy for them to bind with other toxins in the environment, thus increasing the hazards of particle inhalation.
Exposures have been linked with acute short-term symptoms such as headache, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, coughing, difficult or labored breathing, tightness of chest, and irritation of the eyes and nose and throat. Long-term exposures could lead to chronic, more serious health problems such as cardiovascular disease, cardiopulmonary disease, and lung cancer. The NERC-HPA funded ‘Traffic Pollution and Health in London‘ project at King’s College London is currently seeking to refine our understanding of the health effects of traffic pollution. Ambient traffic-related air pollution was associated with decreased cognitive function in older men.
Mortality from diesel soot exposure in 2001 was at least 14,400 out of the German population of 82 million, according to the official report 2352 of the Umweltbundesamt Berlin (Federal Environmental Agency of Germany).
The study of nanoparticles and nanotoxicology is still in its infancy, but the full health effects from nanoparticles produced by all types of diesel is still being uncovered. It is already clear enough, however, that the health detriments of fine particle emissions are severe and pervasive. Although one study found no significant evidence that short term exposure to diesel exhaust results in adverse extra-pulmonary effects, effects that are often correlated with an increase in cardiovascular disease, a 2011 study in The Lancet concluded that traffic exposure is the single most serious preventable trigger of heart attack in the general public, the cause of 7.4% of all attacks. It is impossible to tell how much of this effect is due to the stress of being in traffic and how much is due to exposure to exhaust.
Since the study of the detrimental health effects of nanoparticles (nanotoxicology) is still in its infancy, and the nature and extent of negative health impacts from diesel exhaust continues to be discovered.
And there it is.
There is a valid situation in which to use diesel. This is for lugging loads. If you have a 3-ton+ vehicle or tow a 2-ton+ trailer, you’re in the diesel zone. There’s no other choice until these hybrids that deliver a lump of torque using an electric motor are able to pull 3.5 tons of trailer.
If you don’t lug loads and you still bought diesel, either you thought it was greener, in which case you’re either a deluded idiot, or you thought it’d save you money, in which case you’re an antisocial twat who doesn’t care about harmful air pollution so long as he saves a few pence.
By the way, you didn’t save a few pence, did you? Diesel-engined cars are mostly more expensive than petrol, diesel fuel is more expensive than petrol, DERVs aren’t that much more economical unless you drive like a vicar, and the engines are far more complicated, meaning lots to go wrong and more complex and expensive servicing requirements. You basically need to be doing north of 25,000 miles a year for a diesel-engined car to be a genuine money saver.
At the same time you tolerate a car with lumpy power delivery, a nasty rattling Barleymow-sounding engine, smelly exhaust gases and foul smelling fuel that you REALLY don’t want on your skin or clothes, and a heavy engine that ruins the whole balance of the car.
So, I laughed heartily upon learning that there is now political acknowledgement of the damage being done to air quality by the mass uptake of diesel engines, and that the answer to this problem is to what diesel cars with additional congestion charges.
A chap in the Telegraph is having a whinge, mainly because – quelle surprise – he runs a diesel engined car.
The problem arose because in the battle against climate change, CO2 emissions were seen as the only benchmark. The fact that supposedly "green" diesel cars contribute to asthma, lung disease and heart disease was rather put to one side. What mattered was that they emit less CO2 and are more fuel-efficient than their petrol equivalents. They were favoured with lower road tax and cheaper insurance, and in 2012 diesel sales overtook petrol for the first time. All of which means that as part of the long-term project of cutting emissions and ameliorating climate change, we have paid an immediate cost by filling up the air with lethal diesel particles.
Despite him raising several very good points, he confesses to driving a Citroen Diesel, so I suspect he falls into both the idiot and the twat categories.
So, diesel drivers, it’s time for you to get soaked, and it’s long overdue.
Enjoy. I will.
Edmund King, the president of the AA, said: “Some drivers will feel betrayed and misled because they were encouraged to go for the dash for diesel.
Hahahahahaaaaaa. No really. Bwahahahaha. Tough titty.
“In the 1990s there was a near hysteria about carbon dioxide, and yet nobody looked at the bigger picture.
“The drivers thought they were doing the right thing, but now they are being told that it has serious health implications. They are being made to feel guilty for something that they were encouraged to do.
See, the thing is, some of us knew full well that this was the case.
In 2001, Gordon Brown, the then chancellor, overhauled vehicle excise duty so that cars that emitted a higher level of carbon dioxide faced a higher level of vehicle excise duty.
Labour introduced the new regime despite official warnings that diesel vehicles emit “10 times the fine particles and up to twice the nitrogen dioxide”.
Frank Kelly, the chairman of the Department of Health’s committee on air pollution, said the public were still being misled about the benefits of diesel cars.
He said: “I have full sympathy with the public who have not been provided balanced information on this issue.
No way! No sympathy ever. The information was out there, and if people had trusted their own senses, they’d have known that diesel emissions are terribly bad for us. But no. The offer of saving a few pence and the blinkers are on.
“Drivers do not want to go to the garage one morning only to find what was previously worth a lot of money has plummeted in value overnight because politicians have suddenly moved the goalposts.”
Funny that, because that’s exactly what happened to the more powerful petrol-powered cars when Gordon Brown did his scowly Jockanese thing in 2001. The malevolent monocular porage-guzzling cunt. The arse dropped out of the market for V8s and a lot of people lost a lot of the money they had invested in their cars.
So, fuck it. Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks the government only fucks other people – people they think deserve it – over.
They’ve fucked people like me over plenty, while pecksniff, diesel-driving cocksmokers looked on and chuckled. And now the boot is on the other foot. Fuck you all. Bwahahahahahaaaaa.
People with the oldest, dirtiest diesels will feel the financial squeeze most. They face paying more to use their cars and getting less for them when they try to sell.
Boo hoo! :-(
Once again, my day is made.