High air pollution levels in the UK have been a major problem for years. The government has been trying to win the battle against toxic emissions ever since diesel vehicles suddenly became the antagonist in the war against air pollution.
The UK has an Ultra-Low Emission Zone in London and the CAZs or Clean Air Zones, areas that are intended to reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions by prohibiting high-polluting vehicles from entering the area. These programs have helped lessen toxic emissions, but the levels are still higher than legal limits.
EDF Energy came out with an analysis in 2021 that showed how carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions from SUVs are higher than that of average vehicles by around 10%. The estimated annual volume of CO2 emissions is 8.7 million tonnes. This is equivalent to at least 5.2 million London-New York return flights.
The popularity of SUVs has risen in recent years with consumers citing bigger space and stylish designs as their primary reasons for choosing such vehicles. Not a lot of them are aware – or perhaps some refuse to acknowledge – that SUVs are a hindrance to the government’s zero-emissions target and the ban on the sales of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.
SUVs are the second major cause of the increase in CO2 or carbon dioxide emissions in recent years. This seems to have no bearing on drivers, though, as a poll conducted among 2,000 driver-respondents indicates that environmental impact is only eighth in the drivers’ list of key factors to consider buying a new vehicle.
Of the thousands of drivers who are thinking of purchasing a vehicle, only 26% consider whether the model is electric-powered or not. Other factors they think of include boot size (48%) and the cost of running the vehicle (51%). Only 47% of drivers consider if a vehicle is a hybrid or a petrol- or diesel-powered one.
Many drivers prefer SUVs not only because of how spacious and stylish they are but also because electric vehicles can be costly and charge points may be difficult to come by.
It is vital to note, though, that EVs have come a long way since they were first introduced to the driving public. Nowadays, electric vehicles come in different models and types, including SUVs. Some carmakers offer petrol, diesel, hybrid, and electric-powered SUVs. As such, they’re not only spacious and stylish, they’re also environmentally safe.
Drivers should consider shifting to EVs. Electric vehicles do not emit carbon dioxide. If petrol or diesel-powered SUVs continue to dominate the market, things might escalate and become another diesel emissions scandal.
What was the diesel emissions scandal?
The Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal took place in 2015 and involved German carmaker the Volkswagen Group. VW was the recipient of a Notice of Violation sent by US authorities. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) accused the carmaker of hiding the real emissions of Audi and VW diesel vehicles sold in the American automotive market. The authorities said VW used defeat devices to manipulate emissions, so the levels would be within the World Health Organization’s legal limits. With the cheat device, a vehicle could easily pass regulatory tests.
Once a defeat device senses that a vehicle is about to be tested, it automatically reduces emissions. However, this mode is only good when the vehicle is under testing conditions. As soon as it is out of the lab, the vehicle starts to once again release massive volumes of nitrogen oxide emissions; often at 40 times over EU and WHO limits. Vehicles with defeat devices are high-polluting and violate emissions regulations. They also put human lives in danger because of the health impacts of NOx.
After admitting that their vehicles did have defeat devices, VW recalled the affected cars as the CARB ordered. Volkswagen paid fines and fees as well. Over the years, the carmaker has spent billions in payoffs. They’ve also signed settlement agreements with drivers in the US.
Volkswagen was not the only carmaker accused of using defeat devices though. Other carmakers that may have benefitted from the defeat devices include BMW, Nissan, Renault, and Vauxhall.
NOx is dangerous
NOx combines NO or nitric oxide and NO2 or nitrogen dioxide to create pollutants such as ground-level ozone. It also contributes to the production of smog and acid rain.
Nitrogen oxide emissions will also cause you to suffer various health-related effects, including cognitive decline that can lead to dementia. Your mental health may be affected as well, and you’ll have frequent episodes of depression and anxiety.
The impacts that you need to seriously watch out for, however, are the following:
- Pulmonary oedema
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
- Asphyxiation and laryngospasm
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature death
Your carmaker should be brought to court for their deceit. A diesel claim is the best legal action to take against them.
Can I file my diesel claim?
You can file a diesel claim against your carmaker if your vehicle is affected by the defeat device. Find out by visiting Emissions.co.uk. They have the information you need. Once done, sit down with an emissions expert and start working on your emission claim.