London diesel sales falling faster than rest of the UK


Sales fell nearly 40% over the past four years with other regions only managing a decline of 20%, reported campaign group Transport & Environment, “demonstrating that the ULEZ not only has positive air pollution impacts, but also positive energy security and trade deficit impacts”.

The analysis draws on the latest statistics from the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.
In 2019, London introduced the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) which charges older, more polluting cars a fee to enter the city. Euro 6 diesel cars, or those produced in 2015 and prior, and Euro 4 petrol cars, or those produced 2006 or prior, have to pay £12.50 each day they enter.

The decline in the sale of diesel fuel has apparently had a marked impact on air pollution. A new map of London and the changes in NO2 levels on its roads between 2021 and 2022 shows marked improvements across the board.

T&E said the data also demonstrates that air pollution measures are having a positive impact on energy security. “The UK is a net importer of diesel, meaning money is flowing out of the country in order to bring the fuel in. As we saw with the energy crisis, the UK has no control over the global wholesale price of fossil fuels, including diesel, and if problems were to arise with diesel supply the country could be vulnerable to price spikes and shortage of supply.”

“London then, and its ULEZ, are positively contributing to the UK’s energy security – incredibly, in 2024 Londoners are on course to pay £273 million less in diesel costs than they paid in 2022.

Replicating the trend elsewhere
“By replicating low emissions zones in cities throughout the country, we could further secure the UK’s energy. Sheffield, Liverpool, and Greater Manchester all have nitrous oxide emissions that are beyond legal limits. Introducing clean air zone measures in these areas could not only have a positive impact on residents’ health, but would also enhance the UK’s energy security.

“Transport & Environment UK sees no reason why other regions across the UK could not introduce clean air measures and, at a national level, that rules specifically targeted at reducing diesel use need to be considered. This includes banning the sale of new diesel cars before the current 2035 date, implementing a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate on HGVs to chart their pathway to only allowing the sale of zero-emission trucks, and changing the tax system so consumers are more likely to choose other types of vehicles over diesel vehicles in the near future. At the very least clean air zones need to be recognised as not only beneficial to people’s health, but also making a marked, positive difference to UK energy and trade dynamics.”