Europe: France ready to write off diesel advantage following emissions outrage

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The country will move to drop the tax advantages offered to purchasers of diesel technology, ending a special status quo that has been around for years for the fuel while VW AG is engulfed in a massive crisis related to diesel emissions cheating. French lawmakers have decided that alongside the 2016 budget, diesel fuel taxation would be realigned – the gasoline taxes will be reduced and those for diesel lifted in order “to neutralize the difference” in the next few years. “It’s obvious today that there’s an inconsistency between the advantages given to diesel and its drawbacks in terms of pollution,” commented French Environment Minister Segolene Royal following a recent cabinet meeting. In France the different taxation lends to the diesel fuel an advantage of 15 euro cents per liter (89 US cents per gallon), which further lifts the natural advantage of the technology over its counterpart, being around 30 percent more fuel efficient. The new decision could signal another move away from the diesel technology in Europe, where four of the five largest countries have lower taxes for diesel than for gasoline. The favorable status quo has assisted the technology in dominating Western Europe car sales. Even before the VW scandal, renewed worries about health and increased pollution have started to affect the technology’s image. In France for example about 68 percent of cars and light commercial vehicles at the start of the year were using diesel fuel, says the CCFA, the country’s carmakers’ association. But the share was already on the decline after numerous cities, including Paris, have started to point the finger at diesel exhaust for causing smog – which has been tied to numerous health issues. Via Automotive News Europe