IRTE responds to criticism of diesel road vehicles

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The Institute of Road Transport Engineers (IRTE) has responded to Lord Drayson’s recent criticism of Britain’s current use of diesel fuel in road vehicles.

The former Labour Science Minister has said that diesel vehicles were ‘killing people’ and the current Conservative-led government should work to undo the diesel promoting policies of the previous Labour governments. He argued that now there is ‘a much better understanding of the effects of diesel car emissions’ there should be a incentive scrappage scheme, allowing diesel vehicle owners to inexpensively replace their vehicles for electric or hybrid vehicles instead.

Executive Director of IRTE, Ian Chisholm IEng FSOE FIRTE, said: “There are more meaningful and viable solutions to addressing the current situation, such as more reliable and accurate testing of individual manufacturer’s vehicles that mimic real-world conditions, and supporting the development of increasingly sophisticated filtration systems and fuel efficiency.

“Of equal importance is the need for stricter legislation that means individuals and operators cannot legally tamper with filters and other systems in place designed to minimise the environmental impact of diesel fuel.”

At the recent IRTE Conference, Andrew Banks, Chief Engineer (Engines Product Group) for Ricardo, commented: “We are seeing legislation for greenhouse gas in the US now, which is driving a 9% improvement in fuel consumption by 2017 from a 2010 baseline. We expect the same thing to happen in Europe.”

Andrew also explained how Ricardo is currently working on reducing fuel consumption by decreasing engine friction, one example of the multi-directional approach which IRTE claimed is the most effective way to address current issues with diesel emissions.

“Modern diesel vehicles are significantly cleaner than those in the past,” added Ian Chisholm.

“Unnecessarily scrapping diesel-powered vehicles already on the road in favour of new electric or hybrid vehicles has its own environmental repercussions. The issue of diesel fuel emissions is more complex than current mainstream media coverage would suggest, and what has recently happened calls for a considered, long-term response, rather than a reactionary swing in the opposite direction.”