AM Online

Government's mixed messages on diesel emissions leaves car buyers confused, AA survey finds

Simon Benson, director of motoring services at AA Vehicle Inspections

The Government’s mixed messages on diesel emissions has left car buyers uncertain about their next vehicle purchase, a survey carried out by the AA has found.

A study of over 19,500 drivers by AA-Populus has revealed that 24% do not know what fuel their next car will use, which shows an 18% increase on last year’s result.

AA Cars’ director, Simon Benson, said: “Mixed messages from the Government concerning diesel emissions has led to demand for diesel cars dropping off the cliff and now there are calls for stronger measures to be put in place to reduce air pollution.

“While 43% of drivers in the survey currently own a diesel, only 12% say they intend to buy one in future. 

“Favour for petrol cars seems to be falling too. More than half (55%) of buyers currently own a petrol car but 40% say they will choose one this year.

“Demand for hybrid or pure electric cars is booming with a quarter (24%) of drivers say their next car will be hybrid or electric.”

While 85% say that low running costs are important, 64% say that low toxic exhaust emissions such as NO2 and low CO2 are key factors for them when choosing their next car.

“There is certainly still a place for diesel. It is especially suitable for drivers who frequently cover long motorway distances," said Benson.

"Diesels are robust, reliable, long-lived and offer exceptional fuel economy while recent models boast very clean exhaust, comparable with petrol.

“That a quarter (24%) of potential buyers just don’t know about what car to choose, up from 18% last year and just 5% in 2014, reflects the fast-changing car market and that many drivers are waiting to see what zero- and low-emission cars become available on the used car market over the next 12 months or so.”

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