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SMMT attacks Government's 'failure' to back diesel

The Government's failure to do enough to correct its anti-diesel stance in the Budget has been savaged by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. While the price of ultra-low sulphur diesel was cut by 3p per litre (12p per gallon) in the Chancellor of the Exchequer's annual Budget, it has done little to offset huge increases imposed on the fuel by the Government in previous years.

Christopher Macgowan, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “I can not understand why the UK Government has so set its face against diesel. One of the big contributions to lowering CO2 emissions in line with the Government's targets, particularly with new common rail models, is diesel. The newest technology has incredibly low CO2 emissions.”

Despite the negative perception of diesel in Government, demand for the cars running on the fuel rose slightly last year for the first time since 1994.

Mr Macgowan predicted the car market would remain at about 2.2 million to 2.3 million, but added that the environmental performance of vehicles would become more important, with even small changes to vehicle excise duty likely to affect a buying decision.

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