The End of Diesel? Only 1 in 20 Plan to Order New Diesel Cars

The 2015 Dieselgate scandal has changed the way car owners look at diesel-powered vehicles. In the past, diesel vehicles were always the first choice because they were cleaner compared to petrol-powered cars. After the Volkswagen Group was caught allegedly using illegal defeat devices in their Audi and VW diesel vehicles, however, there has been a growing paradigm shift among car owners and the public.

This has never been more evident than in a study conducted by What Car? in May 2022. The poll asked around 1,000 drivers planning to order new cars at the time of the study. Results showed that a mere 5% are thinking of purchasing a diesel engine-powered vehicle. This is a big drop from the usual numbers in the past years, particularly before the diesel emissions scandal. Diesel vehicles used to dominate sales records, with around one-half of the total numbers in their favour.

Slowly gaining popularity are electric cars, something that should make the UK government and officials happy. The UK’s zero-emissions goal will be easier to achieve if all car owners and carmakers will cooperate and focus only on EVs. Implementing the ban on sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles won’t have to be difficult as well.

In addition to the poll, figures from new car registrations in 2022 also showed a significant increase in the sale of electric vehicles. Thus, EVs now outsell diesel vehicles. Around 55,514 new diesel cars were registered in the first quarter of 2022 while registration for new EVs for the same period equalled77,064. This is a complete turnaround from the 2021 first-quarter sales of 104,168 diesel-powered vehicles and 40,931 EVs. 

Years earlier, in 2015, a little over 48% of the new cars in the UK were diesel-powered. This was the year when the diesel emissions scandal broke. 

The popularity of diesel vehicles has waned, and people are now more interested in safer, cleaner alternatives. 

Car owners who plan to purchase diesel-powered vehicles said they are only doing so because it is the economical alternative while around 26% like the quality of driving in diesel vehicles. Almost 50% of those purchasing diesel vehicles however said that it would then be their last diesel purchase. Around 48% per cent of the drivers said they will keep buying diesel vehicles.

What’s the Dieselgate scandal about?

After US authorities allegedly discovered defeat devices in Volkswagen and Audi diesel vehicles that were sold in the American market, the Volkswagen Group received a notice of violation and an order to recall affected vehicles. The German carmaker was also asked to pay fines, fees, and compensation. 

The VW Group allegedly used defeat devices in manipulating emissions during regulatory testing. The device senses when a vehicle is in testing and automatically – but temporarily – adjusts emissions levels to within the legal limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO). As such, authorities see the vehicle as emissions-compliant and is approved for selling and driving.

However, the vehicle is eco-friendly during testing conditions only and not when it is driven on real roads. When taken out of the lab for real-world road driving, the vehicle emits unlawful and unsafe amounts of nitrogen oxides. 

The VW Group lied to their customers when they sold defeat device-equipped diesel vehicles as premium, high-performance, and environmentally safe. 

In the years that followed, several carmakers would also be implicated in the diesel emissions scandal, including BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Renault. British carmaker Vauxhall is also allegedly involved in the scandal. Although the Vauxhall emissions scandal is relatively new compared to VW, Mercedes, and BMW, thousands of carmakers are already working with lawyers about their cases.


Nitrogen oxide’s primary components are nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which are already dangerous on their own. These gases are responsible for the formation of smog, acid rain, and ground-level ozone, which weakens plant life.

Exposure to NOx emissions can lead to various health conditions, including chronic lung function reduction, pulmonary oedema (shortness of breath), cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Other health impacts include depression and anxiety, dementia (due to reduced cognitive abilities), asthma, and respiratory illnesses such as emphysema and bronchitis. 

The most devastating impact of NOx emissions exposure is premature death. This was what happened to Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah after she had been in and out of the hospital for months. She died after a severe asthma attack. Ella lived in one of London’s most polluted places, South Circular Road. 

In December 2020, after an inquest, the coroner formally recognised air pollution as the primary cause of Ella’s early death.

These health impacts, along with the alleged mis-selling, are the reasons why authorities encourage affected car owners to bring their carmakers to court via a diesel claim.

 Starting my diesel claim

Your diesel emissions claim is a legal process that allows you to collect compensation from your carmaker for the inconveniences the defeat device has brought you. You can work with an emissions expert to ensure that your claim moves in the right direction.

However, before you start, you should first verify if you are qualified to file a diesel claim. Simply visit and you’ll find all the information you need. Once you’re verified, you can start working on your claim right away.

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