Driving bans hitting new diesel car demand; Vienna, Liverpool set for bans too

07 March 2017

Driving bans hitting new diesel car demand; Vienna, Liverpool set for bans too

March 07, 2017

As Vienna and Liverpool become the latest cities to consider banning diesel cars, the fallout following Dieselgate is finally starting to depress demand, new prices and residual values. 

The repercussions of the Volkswagen emissions scandal from both consumer reaction and regulatory change have already impacted the diesel share of Germany’s new car market for example, which fell from 48% in 2015 to 46% in 2016. 

However, what has become the biggest disruptive force for diesel demand, both in the form of new car price discounting and used car residual values, has been the rapidly growing number of cities banning diesel cars from its roads. Stuttgart is planning to introduce a ban on pre-Euro 6 diesels in the city centre from 2018, other cities have pledged total bans and London is introducing a daily ‘toxicity charge’. 

Existing diesel owners may rush to upgrade their cars to meet the minimum acceptabllevels in order to avoid diesel bans. But others may see the bans as an indication that diesels are on their way out and avoid them completely. Local authorities are implementing diesel bans in numerous ways, from strict approaches like Stuttgart to more tempered approaches like London. With such a lack of consistency, drivers do not know which diesel models are safe. Perhaps EU-level guidance is required. 

With increasing talk of bans, diesel is under mounting pressure. The diesel share of the new car market in Germany was eroded further to 44% in February and a dealer group has already warned that the prices of both new and used diesels have fallen 10-20%. 

Now, like the Greens in Stuttgart, the Viennese Greens are pushing for a diesel ban although they are considering a much less restrictive approach. Traffic spokesman Rüdiger Maresch said: I am thinking of the diesel classes Euro-1 to Euro-3, but there should be appropriate transitional periods for the drivers.’ 

Vice-Mayor and Transport Councillor Maria Vassilakou said: We are talking about the old diesel vehicles, because each environment model has to be individually tailored to the city. […]The nitric oxide load in the city is very high, and this year we had a fine dust alarm for 19 days. Our children have the right to grow up in a city where the air does not make you sick. 

The UK’s sixth-largest city, Liverpool, is also set to ban some vehicles as soon as 2022, with the city council set to create a ‘clean air zone' across the city. Mayor Joe Anderson on Friday outlined his vision to make the city a diesel-free zone. This will involve only allowing vehicles into the city at certain times and refusing to offer new licenses to diesel-fuelled taxis. While the Mayor has said the changes will be introduced slowly, he confirmed he is working towards an eventual blanket ban on all diesel vehicles entering Liverpool.