Tax dirty diesel and encourage electric cars say An Taisce

Published by Ian Carey on

January 18th, 2017

As the diesel emissions scandal now spreads to other car makers, An Taisce are calling on Minister Michael Noonan to incentive motorists away from dirty diesel.

An Taisce – The National Trust for Ireland say that diesel engines are too dirty and dangerous for for human health to continue to enjoy low tax rates.

Diesel is currently 11 cent per litre less than petrol and when prices are cheaper at the pumps it encourages motorists to drive diesel.

The environmental charity are also calling for a ban on diesel in built up areas such as Dublin city centre.

In a statement the environmental NGO said:

“Finance Minister Michael Noonan missed the opportunity in the 2017 Budget to increase duties on diesel so that it was at least as expensive per litre as petrol. Diesel exhaust fumes are rated by the World Health Organisation as carcinogenic. These fumes contain a toxic mix of nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter and carbon monoxide.

“Every diesel vehicle on the road in Ireland today is contributing to an annual death toll of some 1,200 people as a direct result of air pollution. In addition, recent World Bank data estimates air pollution cost Ireland €58m in days lost at work every year and €2.2bn in annual welfare losses.”

Charles Stanley Smith of An Taisce said:

“We welcome moves by the US Environmental Protection Agency to begin criminal proceedings against named individuals within Volkswagen who allegedly conspired to fit illegal ‘cheat’ devices to cars to enable them to pass emissions tests.

“These are not victimless crimes. Millions of people worldwide, and thousands here in Ireland, are having their health destroyed and lives ended prematurely as a result of these appalling corporate deceptions. The fact that Volkswagen labelled these cars ‘clean diesel’ while knowing this to be completely false is further evidence that criminal behaviour can only be addressed with criminal sanctions”, Stanley-Smith added. Similar action from EU regulators is urgently needed.

“Diesel carmakers have clearly been cheating abominably, without a moment’s thought for the devastating health consequences of their lies” according to James Nix of An Taisce. “There’s a clear and urgent need now to reform the Irish VRT and motor tax systems for new cars to tilt sales decisively away from diesels and towards electric”.

Politically, Mr Nix added, such reform would be relatively pain-free as it wouldn’t affect any vehicles already on the road.

The rapid transitioning of the national fleet of private cars to electric need renewed support from government and agencies such as the ESB. “Almost all the reasons holding back the switch to electric vehicles are now resolved. Many new models can comfortably do 200km on a single charge, but we need to invest in fast-charging stations and offer incentives such as access to bus lanes, to tip the balance decisively in favour of electric vehicles”, Charles Stanley-Smith of An Taisce concluded.

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Ian Carey

Ian is the editor of the Green News. He works as Communications Manger with the Irish Environmental Network.