Is diesel running out of steam?

Freightliner diesel truck
Freightliner diesel truck. (Photo: Daimler Media)
News reports continue to appear about global car manufacturers’ intention to start a gradual but sure process to phase out diesel engines from their production lines, and not to keep marketing it as an efficient fuel option. In a related context, a number of European cities intend to ban the use and entry of diesel-engine vehicles within their municipal borders, which has started to escalate in major countries such as Germany, Britain, and France.اضافة اعلان

Municipalities took the initiative to define completely prohibited areas for diesel cars, and the Supreme Administrative Court in Germany, for example, upheld the ban aimed at reducing pollution in the cities it has been implemented. This has also gotten rid of all diesel vehicles that do not meet the European standard for diesel engines known as Euro 5, which sets strict standards to reduce the levels of carbon dioxide emissions from cars and trucks equipped with diesel engines.

The campaign against diesel fuel is not new, and it has been discussed for some time in the corridors of governments and institutions concerned with the environment on the one hand, and the global car industry on the other. Take the German Volkswagen Group, for example, in the infamously well-publicized “Diesel Gate”. The scandal involved suspicions that the results of exhaust tests in the US had been tampered with. This escalated and resulted in the dismissal of senior managers and engineers in the German company, who were suspected of intentionally downplaying the results of pollution tests and building mechanisms that provide good results and hide the real pollution figures of diesel engines. This case, which was discovered by chance by researchers in California, sounded the alarm at environmental control agencies in the United States and Europe, resulting in massive campaigns reviewing all the exhaust emissions results for all manufacturers. As a result, the industry was pressured to review the feasibility of having diesel engines at all, given the high cost of any manipulation process in terms of huge financial fines on the one hand, and the great damage inflicted upon the reputation and credibility of these companies on the other. On top of that, the official push to clean up the air of major cities and move towards clean, emission-free transportation.

The primary beneficiaries of the “misfortunes” of diesel are of course electric vehicles, as they represent the new and attractive option for decision-makers looking for an alternative that enjoys popular credibility. Electric cars sell themselves on the basis that they are the savior of the environment because they do not emit any direct emissions that harm the environment, and it seems that the global auto industry is willing to shorten its future alternatives list, and focus on developing electric vehicles as a strategic alternative while maintaining other “clean” fuel engines.

Of course, diesel cannot be “written off” completely as a fuel for engines, as it remains the best and most economic option for large vehicles and trucks, which travel great distances with the long range provided by diesel fuel. Alternatives to diesel in this category of vehicles and trucks, of course may change in the future, as the acceleration of scientific and engineering developments never stops.

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