The Diesel Engine is Under Fire Again

12.19.16 - Mexico City Skyline

We know more today, as a collection of the public population, than we ever have about the diesel engine. For most of our lives we’ve known diesel as the fuel that powers the big trucks and buses that need the low end power to get things where they need to go. This fuel has been thought to be a great way for smaller personal vehicle to drive as well by being added to engines that have been on the market for many years including small cars made from many companies most notably by Volkswagen.

Whether it’s a VW or a diesel made from another company, the fact remains that diesel engines emit more pollutants into the air than any gasoline engine could. This information has spurned the discussion for many years as to how we can have cleaner burning vehicles and help to lower pollution in the air for many cities. This is at topic that was a huge concern for mayors of many cities which became a discussion item at the recent 2016 C40 Mayors Summit. This is a meeting of mayors of the largest cities in the world with more than eighty mayors in attendance during the conference.

At this summit, four cities in particular stood up and declared that diesel engines would be banned from their cities in the future. These four cities were Paris, Athens, Madrid and Mexico City. These are four of the most polluted cities and they have actual numbers for deaths that are caused by pollutants in the air. The most impactful way to address this pollution to the air around these cities is to disallow the most polluting vehicles from being on the road, which means taking the diesel engines away and leaving only those powered by gasoline or electricity.

These four mayors also agreed they need to invest in the changes in their cities that can positively affect the air quality. This means putting investments into alternative fuel vehicles such as hybrids or electric models as well as creating better mass transit systems that use these alternative fuels as wells as bicycle lanes and walking paths. These changes won’t take place overnight, and the fact that the Athens mayor wants to ban all vehicles from the center of its city will require major changes that can help citizens of these cities live longer and enjoy a life without the pollution that’s grown to be a serious challenge in these areas.

Most likely, this action will continue to be followed by other mayors at this bi-annual summit. It appears the diesel engine might be on its way out of the market if this fuel can’t be used to offer lower emissions and become a fuel that will avoid adding excessive pollutants to the air around any city. The electric car is part of the future, which we know, but the gasoline powered vehicle is still the most supported and used version on the road. We might be headed to a time of complete zero emissions, but taking diesel engines off the road certainly is the first step in the right direction.

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