France, where more than 30 million or 80 per cent of cars run on diesel currently, has decided to gradually phase out the use of polluting diesel fuelled cars, at least for private passenger transport.
"In France, we have long favoured the diesel engine. This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically," French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, said in a speech to a news agency.
This move is a part of a broader environmental initiative that will commence next year, and will give pollution ratings for automobiles in the country, to facilitate the banning of the dirtiest cars from urban areas.
Valls pointed out that just like France, where diesel is about 15 per cent cheaper than petrol, most European countries have similar policies that were brought into effect because diesel engines are typically more fuel-efficient than petrol units. But it comes at the expense of higher smog-producing particulates and carbon emissions per litre, he added.
In addition, Valls also plans to give tax benefits for pushing customers to other fuel options. Under the plan, next year the tax on diesel will rise two cents, which should reduce consumption, and also the drivers who trade their diesel cars for electric ones could get good incentives to make the switch.