Drivers in UK shunning diesel cars for greener alternatives

Drivers in the UK are shunning diesel cars as they turned to greener alternatives, industry figures pointed out.

Even as last month marked the best start to a year for car sales in 12 years, demand for diesel plunged as concerns mounted over air pollution and associated health issues.

The Volkswagen scandal that saw the manufacturer distort emissions data during tests on diesel cars too had tainted the reputation of the vehicles.

Moreover, drivers of diesel cars also faced the threat of higher taxes as crackdown on the most polluting vehicles on UK roads got underway.

The government is also said to be planning a scrappage scheme to encourage motorists to ditch diesel cars and replace them with greener alternatives.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 78,778 diesel cars were sold last month – down 4.3 per cent on a year earlier. Sales of petrol cars by contrast were up 8.9 per cent to 88,507 and sales of 'alternatively fuelled vehicles' – such as electric cars and hybrids – jumped 19.9 per cent to 7,279.

A year ago, diesel sales were higher than those of petrol cars, but that trend hasnow been reversed.  At the same time, eco-friendly alternatively fuelled vehicles now made up a record 4.2 per cent of the new car market, up from 3.6 per cent last year.

Several big cities around the world had said they wanted to ban diesel cars within 10 years due to the pollution they caused.

A group of doctors had called on the London Mayor Sadiq Khan to ban them in the capital. Some diesel drivers would also need to pay extra parking charges from April.