Scrap the Diesel car ban

Bill Wirtz says that rather than tightening restrictions on Diesel cars we should be relaxing them.  

A court in Wiesbaden ruled last week that local authorities in Frankfurt must ban older diesel cars as part of efforts to clean up air quality. Much like earlier bans in cities like Stuttgart, the ban is taking place under questionable lobbying circumstances and denies consumer choice.

Diesel engines have come under fire in recent months for their pretended effect on public health. Environmental activists had been working for years on outright bans for circulating diesel cars, pointing to its health effects in comparison to other combustion engines. The science on that is questionable.

Former President of the German Pneumology Society, Doctor Dieter Köhler, contradicts these activists and sees only a minor health-endangering role in particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. Many studies would be misinterpreted findings, and the costs of outlawing diesel vehicles would stand in no proportionate relationship to health hazards.

The Canadian government also agrees with this assessment. It writes: “Today’s diesel vehicles are cleaner, quieter and perform on par or better than their gasoline counterparts. The improvements result from the availability of cleaner fuels and the use of advanced technologies, including electronic controls, common rail fuel injection, turbocharging, sound dampening and exhaust emission reduction components.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents motor-vehicle manufacturers (and other on that particular supply chain, independently of their productions), writes this: “Diesel is critical to reducing CO2emissions, which in turn is tackling climate change – diesel cars emit, on average, 20% lower CO2 than petrol equivalents. In fact, since 2002, diesel cars have saved 3.5 million tonnes of CO2 from going into the atmosphere.”

A noticeably stark contrast with the claims of Deutsche Umwelthilfe, which does accept that so far, only Volkswagen has been forced to admit to cheating on its emissions testing, however, “almost all other important manufacturers have been able to prove that their own measurements have in part shown massive exceedances of limit values. The results: 33 out of 36 diesel vehicles measured exceed the nitrogen oxide limits on the road, sometimes many times over.”

You won’t find Toyota amongst those named by Deutsche Umwelthilfe, because the group cashed in €80,000 from the Japanese manufacturer over the years. The fact that Toyota produces mainly petrol and hybrid cars and is likely to benefit from bans on diesel cars, particularly if they come in quickly, must of course be completely unrelated. In the meantime, their mentions of Ford should also make their fundraising department nervous, as it receives grants from the American ClimateWorks Foundation, which is mainly sponsored by the Henry Ford Foundation.

In July last year, the French government decided to ban all cars that run on petrol by 2040. Given that only 1.2 per cent of French cars are electric, only a harsh restriction of consumer choices and stringent sanctions can make that possible in the next 20 years.

In 2040, if we are still in need of cars running on fossil fuels, the ban would be disastrous and is unlikely to be implemented, and if we don’t need them anymore by that time the legislation would be obsolete. The pretense, however, that it is the role of government to choose winners and losers in the innovation of a free market, is ridiculous. Consumers can decide for themselves whether they want to get a diesel car or not, and it definitely shouldn’t be the role of environmentalist organisations to advance an anti-science narrative, only to satisfy their donors or an ideological base which is hungry for yet another ban on people’s lifestyles.

What is needed are legislative changes than loosen the current strict rules on diesel cars, which would prevent courts from outlawing them all together. If not the consequences for consumer choice, industry and jobs related to both manufacturing and tourism could be disastrous.

Originally published at http://commentcentral.co.uk/scrap-the-diesel-car-ban/

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.

City of Hamburg receives BAN Award for Diesel bans

The City of Hamburg, Germany receives the May 2018 BAN Award for being the first city banning certain Diesel cars from some of its main streets. The Consumer Choice Center’s Managing Director Fred Roeder explains that only a few municipal governments have managed to discriminate that many consumers at once:

“Over 200,000 local Diesel drivers will have to find their way through Hamburg without being allowed on two of the main traffic arteries of the bespoke city. For decades consumers were incentivized to buy Diesel cars and now suddenly get punished by regulators for following their recommendations. The war against Diesel drivers is a war against consumers and will not help the environment. Health experts such as the previous president of the German Society of Pneumology even question if Diesel emissions play a significant role in affecting people’s health,” said Roeder.

“By awarding Hamburg with the tongue-in-cheek BAN Award we want to highlight how much the Diesel driving ban is an infringement on consumer choice.”

Every month the Consumer Choice Center awards an institution, person, or organization with the Bureau of Nannyism or short BAN Award. The BAN Awards recognize the work of an individual or organization that has made major contributions to advocating limits on consumer choice. This award serves to recognize extraordinary abilities in disregarding consumers and evidence-based public policy. The award was created by the Consumer Choice Center to draw attention to the important role politicians, lobbies, and advocates play in limiting consumers’ choice and ignoring them in the policymaking process.

Selection criteria: The Bureau of Nannyism (BAN) is a group of consumer choice advocates that discuss nominations on a monthly base and award the nominee with the most innovative or most blunt actions against consumer choice with the BAN award.

The CCC represents consumers in over 100 countries across the globe. We closely monitor regulatory trends in Ottawa, Washington, Brussels, Geneva and other hotspots of regulation and inform and activate consumers to fight for #ConsumerChoice. Learn more at consumerchoicecenter.org

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About Yaël Ossowski

Yaël Ossowski is a journalist and informational entrepreneur. He's currently deputy director at the Consumer Choice Center, and senior development officer for Students For Liberty. He was previously a national investigative reporter at Watchdog.org. He is currently seeking a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) at the CEVRO Institute in Prague. Born in Québec and raised in the southern United States, he currently lives in Vienna, Austria.

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About Bill Wirtz

Bill Wirtz is policy analyst for the Consumer Choice Center, based in Brussels, Belgium. Originally from Luxembourg, his articles have appeared across the world in English, French, German, and Luxembourgish. He is Editor-in-Chief of Speak Freely, the blog of European Students for Liberty, a contributing editor for the Freedom Today Network and a regular contributor for the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE). He blogs regularly on his website in four languages.