U.K. Sales of Diesel Cars Fell 29.9 Percent in October

That’s the seventh month in a row that diesel sales have gone down in the U.K.

byEric Brandt| UPDATED May 10, 2021 9:48 AM
U.K. Sales of Diesel Cars Fell 29.9 Percent in October

Ever since the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal began back in 2015, the diesel engine has been on the ropes (incidentally, Volkswagen has been recovering nicely). When one of the world’s largest automakers got busted cheating on emissions with diesel engines, it made the whole car industry wonder what the future would be for diesel.

Lawmakers around the world have become so gunshy of diesel engines that some major cities have called for diesel bans to take place as soon as 2025. The United Kingdom has proposed to ban all fossil-fuel powered vehicles by 2040 with hybrids as an exception. Unless diesel hybrids start coming out, that’s bad news for diesel.

Market trends show that consumers see the writing on the wall and are opting out of purchasing new diesel cars. According to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders in a report published by the BBC, diesel sales were down 29.9 percent in the U.K. in October compared to the same time last year. By comparison, sales of gas-powered vehicles went up 2.7 percent and demand for alternatively-fueled vehicles (electric and hybrid) rose 36.9 percent. Total new car sales declined 12.2 percent in October.


Diesel is slowly being engineered out of relevance for passenger cars not only with alternative fuel vehicles like electric cars, but with cleverly engineered gas engines like the Infiniti variable-compression engine or the Mazda Skyactiv-X homogenous charge compression ignition (HCCI) engine, both of which claim they can either match or beat diesel counterparts in both torque and fuel economy ratings without the unsavory emissions issues.

Will diesel be engineered out of existence or is it here for the long haul?