UK drivers ditch diesel cars as sales collapse – down 50 percent on 2021

BBC Breakfast compare petrol and diesel prices

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Sales of diesel engine cars are down 52 percent on the same time last year according to the latest figures from the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Low emissions zones, extra parking costs and the high price of the fuel have all contributed to the collapse.

A decade ago, as the Government pushed for people to switch to diesel, the fuel was found in 50.8 percent of all cars sold in the UK.

Last year, that figure was just 14.3 percent, with the SMMT predicting that by the end of next year, diesel sales will make up a mere 7.9 percent of the car market.

Overall, new car sales were down 15.8 percent on last year, with manufacturers struggling to meet demand.

But electric cars continued to buck the trend, up 40.9 percent on 2021.

As for diesel, it seems buyers are ditching it even faster than expected, with the current price at the pumps sitting at more than £1.77 per litre.

A survey by tyre company Bridgestone last week found that 67 percent of motorists intend to switch to an electric vehicle in the near future.

And the main reason for wanting to switch was the ever-increasing cost of petrol and diesel at the pumps.

Of that figure, 47 percent want to change to an EV to save on fuel bills, while 56 percent are sold by the environmental benefits of EVs.

The cost of living crisis was also reflected in the research, with 29 percent of motorists open to car sharing in the future to reduce outgoings and save money.

Andrea Manenti, Bridgestone North Region Vice President, said the survey results offered a valuable insight into the minds of the general public when it comes to electric vehicles.

He added: “The results of this survey confirm that we’re undergoing huge change in the automotive industry, and that change is happening now.”

Meanwhile, Diesel prices have hit record highs due to very tight domestic inventories and a global supply shortage.

A combination of spiking demand as the world recovers from Covid and falling supply due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has hit diesel markets hard.

Not only are diesel prices at record highs, but they are also at their largest differential to petrol in history.

The prices are having a dramatic effect in countries like the USA, with truckers who rely on the fuel saying the current situation is the worst they’ve ever seen.

In February, President Joe Biden said he would “work like the devil” to bring prices down and, in March, he promised gasoline would decline between 10-35 cents per gallon after he announced a historic release of U.S. emergency oil stocks.

But petrol and diesel are now at all-time record prices in the US with no sign of the rise stopping.

But the Biden administration has delayed opening up domestic oil and gas drilling despite the high consumer prices.

Currently, diesel in New York is trading at over $200 (£18) per barrel.

Tom Kloza, head of global energy research at OPIS, said: “These are numbers that are not just off the charts. They’re off the walls, out of the building, and maybe out of the solar system.”

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