Oops! ‘Dieselification’ of London due to CO2 regulations have increased actual air pollution

PM25-LONDON[1]London’s Dirty Secret: Pollution Worse Than Beijing’s

Reader Drew H. submits this story.

It’s the law of unintended consequences at work. European Union efforts to fight climate change favored diesel fuel over gasoline because it emits less carbon dioxide, or CO2. However, diesel’s contaminants have swamped benefits from measures that include a toll drivers pay to enter central London, a thriving bike-hire program and growing public-transport network.

Successive governments knew more than 10 years ago that diesel was producing all these harmful pollutants, but they myopically plowed on with their CO2 agenda,” said Simon Birkett, founder of Clean Air in London, a nonprofit group. “It’s been a catastrophe for air pollution, and that’s not too strong a word. It’s a public-health catastrophe.

Europe-wide policy triggered the problem. The “dieselisation” of London’s cars began with an agreement between car manufacturers and the EU in 1998 that aimed to lower the average CO2 emissions of new vehicles. Because of diesel’s greater fuel economy, it increased in favor.

More: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-27/london-s-dirty-secret-pollutes-like-beijing-airpocalyse.html

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114 thoughts on “Oops! ‘Dieselification’ of London due to CO2 regulations have increased actual air pollution

  1. As a cyclist as well as driverin the UK I know which type of fuelled vehicle
    I want passing me, a choking diesel or petrol giving off some Co2 me and
    the roadside plants agree it’s petrol every time.

  2. I don’t know where Bloomberg is getting their information, but this story seems wrong. I biked in central London for a week, and it was no worse than any major American city, possibly better. I think someone needs a reality check, and it’s not me. Now Mexico City during a smog alert… that’s some pollution.

  3. Technology may yet come to the rescue of incompetent govts: New cotton-derived battery developed in Japan over a multi-year period now about to go into prototype production later this year. If this battery can do everything they claim, goodbye gas powered cars. And quickly. It will be like the silent movies after talkies were invented.

  4. Burning petrol in Britain is like burning gold – it costs more than milk, around £1.50 / litre (just under $10 / gallon). I always drove a diesel car – diesels get 700 miles per tank, out of a 40 litre tank, well worth the slightly higher maintenance cost.

  5. Todays diesel engines (euro 5 or euro6) are far from dirty. I dont know how old vehicles they drive in London but in Helsinki area in Finland there is no smoking diesel engines and air pollution has decreased a lot.

  6. And hardly a CNG bus or truck in London, which requires only a small capital input, for dual fuel kit, for standard diesel engines (and good CO2 reduction).
    UK politicians are on a different planet, spending a fortune on not reducing CO2

  7. I run and cycle daily in central London and the choking filth coming out of buses and especially crappy old black cabs defies belief. What I’d give for carbon dioxide instead of soot. More BS and misery caused by swampy and his idiot mates. Oh and my cars are 911 GT2 and Jag XKR so I’m no eco-nut

  8. Sounds good but the reference is not convincing. 3389 “probable” deaths from PM2.5 in London (2010) is not from the 2010 study cited in the reference and must be some estimate of an estimate of deaths by modeling attributable to PM2.5. Any actual assigned causes of death to PM? No mention of the percentage of light duty vehicles that are diesel, nor any environmental data over time showing any sort of correlation between number of CI engines and pollution.

  9. Diesel engines can be tuned to burn cleaner than pertrol engines, and in general do because they burn hotter and produce more power. The issue is how to deal with the particlate emissions (PM), particularly PM5 and PM10 emissions. Where ALL petrol engines MUST have a catalyzer in the UK today, not all diesels vehicles require catalyzers (Or not yet anyway), so, as in smog ridden London of the 1950’s, we now have air “pollution” because there are more diesel powered transport systems. Not only do dielsel engines need a catalyzer, they need filters too (For the PM5 and PM10 emissions). One reason why diesel has not been taken up as easily in the UK as in the rest of the EU is that diesel is SO much more expensive than petrol. It’s one reason why the Deltic Diesel Electric locomotive was banned. Brilliant in technology, but being two-stroke, very smoky.

  10. Hey and they make it with corn, a food crop! So your diesel costs 1.50 quid a litre and your food has doubled in price. Eco-nomical I guess.

  11. “If you’re against CO2 regulations, you’re FOR pollution”.

    Does this get filed under “We can’t just do nothing — now is the time to act?”

  12. Not so sure about the up to date facts of this report. Aren’t the current diesel emission standards strict? As ‘Olavi’ states above “euro 5 and euro 6 engines are far from dirty”. Even the euro 4 engine was far from dirty.
    Surely withdrawing the older higher emission vehicles makes more sense?

  13. The new way of counting who dies from CO2. If you are old and you die, you have died from too much CO2. Duh.

    • The new way of counting who dies from CO2. If you are old and you die, you have died from too much CO2. Duh.

      @Pamela Gray – The irony is, they lived to be “old” due to CO2. So CO2 does kill you, but old age does not (and neither does any of a myriad of diseases that felled millions in the past).

  14. Latest Diesel tech in cars results in very good emissions, but I would guess that the bulk of heavy haulers and buses, not to mention older cars, do not have these systems yet.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_exhaust_fluid

    But as others have remarked it just goes to show that the tunnel vision of the greens seems to be causing a lot more problems than in is curing.

    Seems to be that just about every touted green measure has serious downsides that would not be allowed if they were being produced by conventional power sources.

  15. The International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC), a sub-association of the World Health Organisation had declared diesel particulates as carcinogenic.

    Lyon, France, June 12, 2012 ‐‐ After a week-long meeting of international experts, the International
    Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which is part of the World Health Organization (WHO), today
    classified diesel engine exhaust as carcinogenic to humans (Group 1), based on sufficient evidence
    that exposure is associated with an increased risk for lung cancer.

    continue reading here:

    http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2012/pdfs/pr213_E.pdf

    • @pete Ross

      The International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC), a sub-association of the World Health Organisation had declared diesel particulates as carcinogenic.

      LIFE is a carcinogen.

  16. arthur4563 says:

    May 29, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Won’t happen. Batteries become more dangerous than gas when they are forced to hold massive amounts of energy. Re the Tesla. How many fires so far? Boeing 787, how many delays so far?

  17. “Hot under the collar says:

    May 29, 2014 at 5:22 am”

    Also requires “cleaner” fuels, and fuels with very low sulfur content so they can be used in EFI systems. If, say, you could obtain a circa 1980’s diesel car, with a distrbutor pump, you could run it on used chip fat cooking oil with some filtering and adjustments. But in the UK don’t get caught using red diesel on the road.

  18. “Stephen Richards says:

    May 29, 2014 at 5:37 am”

    That is why we are seeing the the likes of the Mclaren P1 and Porche 918. I still like the Fisker Karma, petrol-electric…or fossil-fuel-electic a proven technology!

  19. Emissions of soot and NOx shouldn’t be mixed here. Soot filtering is highly advanced for diesel cars and new trucks, most particulate matter in cities is from (usually municipality owned) public transportation, house heating, industrial sources and dirt that is getting ground up (including brake dust, tires). NOx is a byproduct of diesel engines but should no longer be a major concern with Euro-6 standard engines (required in new cars from 2015) that pretty much eliminate it.

  20. Hmmmm. If all road-traffic, in any town, slows down then all motorists will spend more time idling their engines at “traffic lights” and also at various other controlled areas (pedestrian crossings etc.) and they will have to use the ‘lower gear ranges’ more often

    Therefore if the optimum speed/fuel consumption is say; 45 miles per gallon, then well; what happens to the optimum speed?

  21. It is also an advanced consequence of the ‘ripple effect.’ When you disturb a system at equilibrium, the shortest lived effects are the ones at the focus of whatever action you have taken. The further a point is from the initial disturbance, the longer the perturbation lasts.

  22. The slow speeds were tried in Houston, Tx some years ago. The main arteries such as 288, 59, 45 were speed limited to 55 mph in the air monitoring zone of counties. It was a disaster! The 5 million vehicles with one passenger each (inside joke there) simply spent more time on the highway. The traffic jams were made worse and air pollution spiked. So Texas has gone the other way, increasing the speed limit of all but the worst and curviest pig trails to 75 mph.

    It gets the vehicles where they are going faster, limiting the time in operation, keeps the engines running at design rpm and load, and helps the Darwinian removal of those that lack the skill and attention that should be paid whilst operating a 2 ton missile.

  23. Progressive policies are great. Kill people now to save them in the future. Except that their 2nd goal is to “humanely” reduce the human population to a sustainable level. Not all progressives, of course, just the greenies. One of my FB “friends” actually posts CAGW nonsense all the time and posted the “humanely” statement a few weeks ago. He is a biology professor at a larger university while I am a chemistry professor at a smaller one nearby.

  24. The long term trend as regards all air pollution in London is down, I believe. Let us not get too excited.

  25. Timely and pertinent. I was just arguing with someone about the differences between CO2 and pollution. A lot of people have a very hard time grasping the difference, in my experience.

  26. Kaboom says:

    May 29, 2014 at 5:48 am

    NOx is a byproduct of diesel engines but should no longer be a major concern with Euro-6 standard engines (required in new cars from 2015) that pretty much eliminate it.”

    From 2015 you say? Cars! Yes, cars! But not light to heavy vehicles. Very few people, unless they are high milers, will choose diesel over petrol in the UK all the while diesel is more expensive at the pump.

  27. Petrol powered vehicles are not permitted in underground mines due to the volatile fumes, CO, NOx, the danger of sparks, explosions etc. The diesel vehicles have water filters and have been proven safe and clean even in gassy (methane rich) coal mines. There are electric power vehicles in some mines but the motors must be sealed. Coal mine explosion however have been associated with electric drive and control equipment. Diesel is safer.
    Greens who have no technical qualifications spread lies to suit their political agenda.

  28. The EU limits NO2 to a maximum of 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The concentration on Marylebone Road, a stone’s throw from Regent’s Park, was almost 94 micrograms in 2012, according to the most recent data from the EEA.

    The level for the site last year was 81 micrograms, and it’s averaging 83 micrograms this year, according to King’s College London. In 1998, when the King’s College data begins, it was 92. That’s about the time the switch to diesel started.

    If NO2 was 92 µg in 1998, 81 µg in 2013, and averaging 83 µg in 2014, doesn’t that mean the trend is downward?

  29. “cementafriend says:

    May 29, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Petrol powered vehicles are not permitted in underground mines due to the volatile fumes, CO, NOx, the danger of sparks, explosions etc. The diesel vehicles have water filters and have been proven safe and clean even in gassy (methane rich) coal mines. There are electric power vehicles in some mines but the motors must be sealed.”

    Petrol and diesel engines emit roughly the same amounts of CO and NOx. If you talk of “water filters” for diesel engines, these are massive instalation and are there for the a specific purpose, ie, for use in mines. I think you will find all motors in that environment would be field-effect motors rather than brush type, hense, no sparks (usually).

  30. This reminds me of another map, a map about “property”. It dates back some years now, but basically it was a map to “discourage” (Hummm…not sure that is the right trem at this time) urban development in “identified” areas. Ultimately, local “authorities”, wanted to bulldoze certain areas of what is now Greater London, in favour of 1950’s/1960’s hi-rise nightmares. And the actions of locals won! There is a great documentary about this, but I do not recall the title at this time.

  31. The problem with the diesel engine is the high compression ratio necessary for complete combustion. Strict mechanical tolerances must be achieved to get 16:1 compression, at which pressure the combustion is total. But this costs money and requires skilled mechanics. All of the bearings, rings, and valves have to fit with very close tolerance. The fuel injectors must be carefully maintained, using very high pressure pumps.
    Rudolf Diesel demonstrated his system in a closed room! It is my understanding that a thousand hours of operation will reduce the compression ratio to 13:1, and a lot of unburned material will be found in the exhaust.
    Don’t blame the pollution on the fuel. Establish a system of mandatory engine overhaul, based (perhaps) on an optical scan of the exhaust.

  32. Yeah, well Americans prefer to drive huge V8 petrol luxobarges, the fuel use of which would run half a dozen small European or Japanese cars. The reality is that European diesels have strict pollution standards, with particulate filters on the exhaust. The road tax on cars in London lead to a preference for hybrid petrol engines or plug-in electric cars. Many of the diesel cars on the road are taxis. Imagine how much fuel petrol powered taxis would use.

  33. “New cotton-derived battery developed in Japan over a multi-year period now about to go into prototype production later this year.”

    I also heard that genetic engineers have a bred a brand new type of unicorn that will fart rainbows and crap skittles.

    One is about as likely as the other.

  34. European Union efforts to fight climate change favored diesel fuel over gasoline because it emits less carbon dioxide, or CO2.

    Sorry, I think I got lost right there. EPA lists carbon content per gallon as 2421 grams for gasoline, 2778 grams for diesel. See:

    http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=9&ved=0CGgQFjAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpbadupws.nrc.gov%2Fdocs%2FML1204%2FML120440122.pdf&ei=ijiHU7-LEpH_oQSSyIGgAw&usg=AFQjCNEaIUd5fTpt1ZMO-XShVLHIsCWJ-g&bvm=bv.67720277,d.cGU

    They also report emissions of CO2 from a gallon of diesel as 22.2 pounds per gallon as opposed to 19.4 pounds per gallon for gas.

    A WIKI entry reports diesel as 86% carbon. Another source reports gasoline as 85% carbon by weight. I’d be interested to know how the figures show that diesel emits less CO2.

  35. “mathman2 says:

    May 29, 2014 at 6:41 am

    Strict mechanical tolerances must be achieved to get 16:1 compression, at which pressure the combustion is total.”

    If I recall, you will find normally aspirated diesel engines run a compression ratio (CR) of ~20:1 but usually between 20 to 22:1. Ignoring turbo charged induction. Mazda “Sky Active” petrol and deisel engines run with a CR of 16:1 and with a gas flowed exhaust system. Higher fuel ratings help with higher CR.

  36. The Bloomberg piece really sets me off. Trash environmentalism, typical from that outfit.

    They take a perfectly good story and make a hash of it with statistical slight of hand and misdirection.

    London’s Dirty Secret: Pollution Worse Than Beijing’s
    “London’s Pollution Secret: NO2 levels worse than Beijing’s” That is closer to the truth, but it doesn’t sell papers.
    Bloomberg’s dirty secret: London might be cleaner than Beijing’s in 9 out of 10 pollution levels, London wouldn’t trade its air for Beijing’s, but that won’t stop Bloomberg from hyperbole.

  37. It’s especially ironic since the mix of diesel and gasoline can only be changed by 1 or 2%, so their diesel use just means someone else uses gasoline. It makes more sense to use diesel for long haul and in less population dense regions.

  38. John Slayton says: (May 29, 2014 at 6:53 am) “A WIKI entry reports diesel as 86% carbon. Another source reports gasoline as 85% carbon by weight. I’d be interested to know how the figures show that diesel emits less CO2.”

    PER MILE. If diesel operation gives higher miles-per-gallon, then your commute uses less diesel hence less CO2, per mile or per commute.

  39. It’s like carbon dioxide sequestration as well. A 15% reduction in effiency means 15% more real pollution and an effective 15% reduction in coal reserves.

  40. John Slayton says:
    May 29, 2014 at 6:53 am

    A WIKI entry reports diesel as 86% carbon. Another source reports gasoline as 85% carbon by weight. I’d be interested to know how the figures show that diesel emits less CO2.

    Because Diesels operate overall fuel lean and at a higher thermodynamic efficiency due to the higher compression ratio compared with gasoline engines which operate at stoichiometric. As a result a Diesel car consumes less fuel per mile than a comparable gasoline car. Because it burns lean Diesel also produces no CO.

  41. If this battery can do everything they claim, goodbye gas powered cars.

    And the electrical grid can support how many of these cars?

  42. The roads in central London are sufficiently polluted to trigger the co2 alarm in my car as if its emmissions were faulty. I atribut this to the high use of highly polluting buses for public transport.

  43. Diesels emit dirty exhaust. That never has been a secret and you can’t talk that away, talk as you may.

  44. “Tiny particles called PM2.5s probably killed 3,389 people in London in 2010, the government agency Public Health England said in April. Like nitrogen dioxide, or NO2, they come from diesel combustion. Because the pollutants are found together, it’s hard to identify deaths attributable only to NO2, said Jeremy Langrish, a clinical lecturer in cardiology at the University of Edinburgh. ”

    And how many people have died from breathing CO2, well mixed in the atmosphere and now at 400 ppm, up from 280 ppm at the start of the Industrial Revolution?

    Going back to when man starting burning fossil fuels and adding up the fatalities for the entire planet during that time frame, we get…………………………………zero!

    http://www.courierpress.com/news/2013/may/30/co2-overhyped-as-air-pollution-threat/

  45. John Slayton says:
    May 29, 2014 at 6:53 am

    European Union efforts to fight climate change favored diesel fuel over gasoline because it emits less carbon dioxide, or CO2.

    Sorry, I think I got lost right there. EPA lists carbon content per gallon as 2421 grams for gasoline, 2778 grams for diesel.
    They also report emissions of CO2 from a gallon of diesel as 22.2 pounds per gallon as opposed to 19.4 pounds per gallon for gas.

    You must think miles per gallon. Diesel engines are more fuel efficient. So fewer gallons are burned. If a gas engine gets 30 mpg (2421/30) = 80.7 grams per miles. If the diesel engine gets just five miles per gallon better (2778/35) = 79.37 grams per mile.

    Using the Volkswagon Passat sold in the US as an example.
    1.8 T Gas – 24 city / 34 mpg highway
    2.0 Diesel – 31 city / 43 mpg highway

    Gas CO2 per mile = 71.2 (2421/34)
    Diesel CO2 per mile= 64.6 (2778/43)

    Diesel wins hands down.

  46. I don’t like this new format with the stories on top. I liked the old format better.

    S.

  47. For Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett, the solution is simple: Get people out of their cars.

    “Fifty-six percent of journeys we make in Britain are less than 5 miles,” Bennett said in an interview. “If you turn a significant percentage of those into walking and cycling journeys, then you’ve made huge progress.”

    The eco-greens are loons: simply look at the age group doing the driving about, consider the physical stamina of them, consider the weather considerations and you’ll see that walking and cycling are not alternatives in the modern northern hemisphere lands such as Britain.

    The days of village life and staying home are over – except in the imaginations and fevered dreams of the Neo-Luddites. We could lower emissions by a serious amount if most people stopped taking trips by air. Which, I’m sure, is what the eco-green wants …. for other people.

    We see the world locally as well as globally. Transpiration is a significant part of the modern life that expands the individual’s life. Self-actualization requires mobility. I’m 60, with less time than money, and less physical fitness than the 25-year-old. Public transport is good to go shopping during peak hours, but doing the things of a expanding experience require less structured mobility. Just as all the eco-green who want to experience Antarctic beauty need and access aircraft, ocean-going vessels, what I do requires fossil-fuel fueled transport.

    The eco-green is delusional unless there is a(nother) hidden agenda that incorporates keeping humans within spitting distance of a Metro and walling off the wilds (except for those with Sensitivity Passes).

  48. “Yeah, well Americans prefer to drive huge V8 petrol luxobarges, the fuel use of which would run half a dozen small European or Japanese cars.”

    Not since the 1970’s.

  49. Ahhhh, those were the days. I vaguely remember TV ads back in the 1970s (London) when auto manufacturers boasted of their catalytic converters. I paraphrase: “release harmless co2 and water”. No auto manufacturer in UK would get away with such statements now. They will be hauled up to the advertising standards body in a snap.

    Now we can breath in harmful soot and other sh!t while reducing the biggest toxin known to man: trace co2 gas.

  50. PRD on May 29, 2014 at 6:02 am

    It’s not the only time the “green” people [demonstrate] that they can’t do simple math and logic …

  51. errrr…

    I did convert to diesel coupla years ago – the most current turbos and appropriate catalyst in the exhaust stream, beats petrol (ito bad excressions (you have to drive far enough to get the catalyst at working temperature though)) by a wee bit…

    kindly kill me for enjoying the driving experience of a 3l tdi…

  52. Bob Greene says:
    May 29, 2014 at 5:12 am

    Sounds good but the reference is not convincing. 3389 “probable” deaths from PM2.5 in London (2010) is not from the 2010 study cited in the reference and must be some estimate of an estimate of deaths by modeling attributable to PM2.5. Any actual assigned causes of death to PM?

    I’m willing to bet there is no death certificate in the UK which lists cause of death as ‘PM2.5′.

    Attributing PM2.5 as a cause of death would be like attributing death to background radiation.

  53. From Drew’s comment above

    For Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett, the solution is simple: Get people out of their cars.

    “Fifty-six percent of journeys we make in Britain are less than 5 miles,” Bennett said in an interview. “If you turn a significant percentage of those into walking and cycling journeys, then you’ve made huge progress.”

    Well, this explains the “sudden” emphasis on PM 2.5 legislation and controls! Gotta have a reason to stop the diesel in downtown areas that is required to stop the gasoline “pollution” in those same downtown areas that is being exaggerated by the airplane pollution in those downtown areas …..

    Hmmmn.

    A standard healthy adult can walk 3 miles per hour, pretty much all day.

    A “standard adult carrying something”? Less. Far less. Carrying two “somethings”? Three bags of groceries? An infant and two bags of groceries? A chair or lamp or pot or book or laptop computer and an infant? A child walking alongside AND “something”?

    So, this Greenie has already condemned 50% of the trips that people make to an “hour and 45 minute walk” (ONE WAY!) …. Then an “Hour and 45 minutes walk back.” Now, for that 3-1/2 hours of labor for that one average 5 mile trip (in the winter snow or summer heat!) this Greenie has produced what? Nothing.

    So, we should condemn HER to a 4 hour walk every day for food.

  54. From the article: “However, diesel’s contaminants have swamped benefits from measures that include a toll drivers pay to enter central London”

    Why is this a benefit? Because the government gets money?

  55. Eric Worrall says:
    May 29, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Burning petrol in Britain is like burning gold – it costs more than milk, around £1.50 / litre (just under $10 / gallon). I always drove a diesel car – diesels get 700 miles per tank, out of a 40 litre tank, well worth the slightly higher maintenance cost.

    ====================================================================
    How much of the cost is taxes?

    • Quite a bit of what we pay for fuel is taxes (or excises or whatever, still tax). Diesel fuel is actually slightly more expensive in Australia than 91 unleaded petrol, still a large percentage of cars are diesel, and growing, especially family sedans and the like, while SUVs have been predominately diesel for a couple of decades. This is especially so in the outback where distances are huge. I don’t know if the tax structure is different for petrol and dieseleum, but it’s plainly different to UK, Europe and US. Then again, what’s the big deal? Some countries like Norway tax alcohol highly, while others tax tobacco to ridiculous levels (eg Australia). Some countries have huge import duty on cars (eg Malaysia), it depends on a great many factors, and while US fuel is “low tax” they have state taxes countries like Oz shun.

  56. Jimbo

    “Ahhhh, those were the days. I vaguely remember TV ads back in the 1970s (London) when auto manufacturers boasted of their catalytic converters. I paraphrase: “release harmless co2 and water”

    A three-way catalytic converter has three simultaneous tasks:

    Reduction of nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen: 2NOx → xO2 + N2
    Oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide: 2CO + O2 → 2CO2
    Oxidation of unburnt hydrocarbons (HC) to carbon dioxide and water: CxH2x+2 + [(3x+1)/2]O2 → xCO2 + (x+1)H2O.

    Catalytic convertors by the old definition of what pollution was, “had” decreased pollution, so that it takes around 25 of totals cars to create the same amount of pollution that 1 car from the 1960’s created.

    Since 2 out of the 3 conversions that take place with the catalytic convertor, involve creating CO2 by today’s new standard, catalytic convertors only transform one form of pollution into another form of pollution.

    Which form of pollution is worse you might ask?

    If it was based on the position of governments, climate scientist(97% according in one study), the IPCC, the media and the money/resources and regulations/policies being imposed, it is clearly CO2.

    Yes, I know this is a trick question and answer but it shows that what was once understood to be a solution to pollution from the most powerful pollution fighting invention in history(catalytic convertors)…………..creating CO2, is now considered a source of another type of pollution that has resulted in the biggest world wide attack on it in history, despite the existence of all the other types of legit pollution in our air, soils and water today.

  57. Diesel…blah,blah,blah.Gas..blah,blah,blah. Diesel is,has been,and always will be,a greater polluter than gas. When I can stand outside on the street at -20C,and literally smell and TASTE when a diesel piece of crap has just gone by,welllllll…it ain’t rocket science. Oppppssss. By bad. Common sense doesn’t enter into the green scheme.

  58. Myron, absolutely right. That could negate my claim that diesel is better used outside of cities. But it’s likely a moot point, the amount of diesel and gasoline that comes out of a barrel of oil is essentially fixed.

  59. Frank says:

    May 29, 2014 at 10:00 am

    From the article: “However, diesel’s contaminants have swamped benefits from measures that include a toll drivers pay to enter central London”

    Why is this a benefit? Because the government gets money?

    When speeds drop below 45mph*, [efficiency] goes way down. Congestion pricing and tolls keep speeds from dropping too much.

    * Assuming there is little stop and go, for a road with frequent [intersections] and turns the efficient speed may be lower.

  60. Well let me say I OWN one of these new vaunted ultra clean filtered diesels and can tell you that the soot free exhaust comes at a very high price. How is it achieved? 100 percent combustion of fuel? Magic? no. It has a portable, on board exhaust monitoring lab, a NOX reduction canister, a cat converter, and a diesel particulate filter none of which last the life of the vehicle.
    What is a filter? It is a matrix of small restrictions designed to prevent passage of particulate…. which restrictions having done that are CLOGGED. DPF (diesel particulate filter) performance declines steadily as it clogs up until the filter no longer allows enough passage of exhaust gasses.
    At this point the on board exhaust monitoring lab triggers a regime to UNCLOG the DPF..this consists in getting the DPF temperature UP (drive fast, more fuel ) then injecting something to BURN OFF the soot. Either a chemical (UREA) or extra diesel fuel is injected into the exhaust stream. When the on board lab determines that the trapped soot has been BURNED OFF then the regime is terminated. This regime is called a REGEN.

    Now everyone knows that restricting your exhaust lowers your fuel efficiency and torque from your motor. To compensate for this loss, engine manufacturers increase the displacement of their engines by 13 percent, and the combination of that and in some systems the extra diesel used to just burn away the clogged filter soot, is reflected in a commensurate reduction in fuel economy, maybe 20 percent less mpg or worse. So you burn 20 percent more fuel per mile, making 20 percent (at least) more CO2 per mile and now we call that a ‘clean diesel’. THese systems, by the way all originally come from, you guessed it, Germany.

    By the way, in Europe they know that these DPFs dont last under this treatment and have cartridge systems that make it easier to replace on a frequent basis. But these arent CHEAP cartridge sysems. In the case of my vehicle, which I bought brand new, it is now on its third filter in 50,000 miles. The filter runs about $3000 bucks installed . That isnt counting the exhaust sensors in the on board lab that were replaced both times as well. Thank god for a warranty.
    Euro 5? no thanks.
    //

  61. RACookPE1978 says:
    May 29, 2014 at 9:45 am
    From Drew’s comment above
    For Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett, the solution is simple: Get people out of their cars.
    So, we should condemn HER to a 4 hour walk every day for food.
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    For perspective, I worked on projects in southern Ethiopia many years ago to reduce the 8 hour walk that villagers took to get SAFE DRINKING WATER. They had been educated in the problems of drinking surface water, so one member of the family was assigned to walk as much as 4 hours each way to get safe drinking water. My company was involved in the original well drilling and the subsequent infilling to reduce the walks to 4 and then to 2 hours where possible. We worked on that program for something like 28 years.

    We, who talk on WUWT are so lucky to live in a part of the world where we have the luxury of debating which type of fuel to use, or even which mode of transportation to use when so many have only their feet and their will to survive.

    With apologies: my big bad diesel “Deere” awaits me as I must go rake some fields. 😞

  62. Driving behind a diesel stinks, period. Having said that, to me it is only natural a city the size of London will have their own pollution and air problems, as do other cities of size around the world. The issue for me is city folks assuming their air and pollution issues are similar in a nation the size of Canada. In essence Toronto, Canada, (the largest city in Canada) is barely a wanna-be pimple on the size of a nation like Canada. Yet, it is the same city folks that scream the loudest about CO2, pollution, and other environmental issues while living inside their concrete jungles, breathing their own air pollution, their own garbage problems, and then use their political power to impose draconian laws they created themselves in their own cities. The same cities that require unfathomable resources just to sustain itself. However, out here in fly over country the air is sweet and clean. CO2 isn’t killing anything.

  63. If – perish the thought – I lived in London, I would buy a Trabant.

    Engine too small either to pay road fund license or congestion tax, and being a premix two stroke twin, more pollution than a whole fleet of 4x4s, clouds and clouds of partially combusted petrol and two stroke oil.

    Magic!

  64. For Mathman2:

    “The problem with the diesel engine is the high compression ratio necessary for complete combustion.”

    Got it wrong. The use of high compression ratios (for increased thermodynamic efficiency) is facilitated by the Diesel cycle’s autoignition of injected fuel (avoids knock, which limits the compression ratio of Otto cycle engines) and energy addition during the power stroke (the source of Diesel’s high torque). I can get “complete combustion” of Diesel fuel at lower compression ratios—but why would I want to? (Home heating oil is essentially Diesel fuel and we burn it efficiently with burner blowers in oil-fired heating systems. But we don’t normally propel anything with furnace burners!)

  65. To Pamela Gray:

    You wrote:

    The new way of counting who dies from CO2. If you are old and you die, you have died from too much CO2. Duh.

    That’s not funny. In African nations, a strange thing has happened due to the
    Western nations devoting so much $$$ to AIDS in Africa. Nations compete for this
    largesse. When someone dies, even if they were hit by a bus, the cause of death
    is given as “AIDS”. I’m sure you see the parallel.

  66. Well, at least dust masks will help with the unintended consequences while ignoring the trace gases. And they will have to burn even more of it to make up for the new taxes and fees with more work effort and hours of overtime.

  67. I live in London. I have to wipe diesel soot from my window sills and even my hallway skirting board. It always hangs low in the air. In the winter you see it belching from exhausts (mufflers) of gridlocked vehicles and spreading across the pavement (sidewalk) in a three foot high blanket- just the right height for the toddlers being dragged to school to get a really good dose every single day. There will probably be a paper on that in 10 years’ time like the ones in the 70’s linking lead poisoning to living in close proximity to busy junctions.

  68. Dear Bill O’Reilly,
    Take a read of this news and pull out of it. You have been hiding from your responsibility for “Looking out for us” by avoiding the whole global warming debate by pretending it is only about clean air and clean water.

    Wise up pal.

  69. 9 out of 10 plants agree. …., petrol over diesel.

    I’m not sure about that, I’ve heard diesel makes good fertilizer once the light hydrocarbons evaporate.

  70. pete ross your quote:

    “The International Association for Research on Cancer (IARC), a sub-association of the World Health Organisation had declared diesel particulates as carcinogenic.”

    The above is junk science you cannot live long enough for PM to be a problem. Look at any smoker it takes a smoker a lifetime of smoking to develop lung cancer. A non smoker would have to live 1500 years to take in the equivalent of a smoker’s one year PM exposure from smoking. If you take on average that cancer from smoking takes over forty years and and equivalent PM exposure for a non smoker would be 40 X 1500 = 60,000 I don’t think I going to live quite that long. Again advocacy over science. Oh as a disclaimer I am a sixty one year old asthmatic, whose father died to small cell lung cancer, he was a smoker and it took 45 years of smoking plus other risk factors to cause his cancer. My wife a non smoke whom lived in rural America most of [her] life and did not smoke had the same cancer, she survived. I attribute my wife’s problem to bad genetics both parent had cancer and one died from it, her cancer was definitely not PM exposure. My asthma bad genetics, my mother was an asthmatic also.

  71. I doubt London’s problems are anything unusual, as far as cities go. In Australian state capitals (Sydney and Perth, that I know of, probably the others as well) state buses have been converted to run on natural gas. This is obviously an option for Australia since we have so much gas, not so for UK. Many outback power generators are also diesels converted to run on gas, which includes my new local power station.

  72. RusQ “errrr…
    I did convert to diesel coupla years ago – the most current turbos and appropriate catalyst in the exhaust stream, beats petrol (ito bad excressions (you have to drive far enough to get the catalyst at working temperature though)) by a wee bit…
    kindly kill me for enjoying the driving experience of a 3l tdi…” Good for you, I’m a fan of diesels too although my current SUV is petrol (the trim level I wanted wasn’t available in diesel at the time, and wife’s allergic to diesel fumes, the smell you get when you get it on your hands- one downside of diesel in Oz is leaky service station filler handles).

  73. That politicians have this sudden urge to limit diesels now after they made them a success, just goes to show how co2 mania leads to irrational politics. However, next year the euro 6 standard is introduced and diesels will become even cleaner, so politicians are now messing politically with a problem that has already been solved technically.

    In fact, new “low co2 emission” direct injection petrol cars often emit far more ultra fine particulates than euro 5 diesel cars do: http://m.welt.de/motor/article122357438/Das-lange-verkannte-Risiko-der-sparsamen-Benziner.html

    What comes out of my brand new VW diesel looks like water vapor and smells nothing at all!

  74. Up the Smoke Go London.
    Travel to capital of hot air politic.
    Maggie may the tax inception.

  75. PM2.5 is visible if the concentration is high enough as in the photo. Nano particles below PM0.1 are not. Anything below PM 4 is medically dangerous. PM5 and larger is not. The new diesels make large numbers of nanoparticles. Medical effects are still unproven despite speculation, some very reasonable.

    Deaths? Show me the bodies. Diesel is cheaper to make than gasoline. It contains less energy per kilo because of lower hydrogen. Gasoline emits more water vapour which is a powerful GHG while CO2 in not.

    Making and maintaining a diesel engine takes more energy. Thermo-electric generators on exhaust pipes can charge batteries and run motors. TEGs are mounted on F1 cars this year. There is a lot of room for improvement.

  76. Hey folks, so called “diesel” can be as much as 20% ethanol, but more usually it is only 10% ethanol, and well hey so the cost of your daily bread is increased by another 40%, because the ethanol is made from breadstuffs, grains and suchlike.

    ……….. buy hey, it’s for the Environment,
    so that’s OK then,
    nothing to see here,
    move along now.

    • Diesel fuel (or dieseleum, “diesel” is the engine process, not the fuel) does not contain ethanol in any percentage, let alone 20%, at least in Australia. We have some B20 which has 20% additive from waste oils and fats.

  77. Chris R. says:
    May 29, 2014 at 2:22 pm

    In African nations, a strange thing has happened due to the
    Western nations devoting so much $$$ to AIDS in Africa. Nations compete for this
    largesse. When someone dies, even if they were hit by a bus, the cause of death
    is given as “AIDS”. I’m sure you see the parallel.

    ——————-

    And “DUH”, where do you think they get their statistics on “cigarette smoke related illnesses and deaths”?

    From the Medical Records that are maintained by Doctors, hospitals, clinics, etc. They count the total number of patients that denoted on their medical questionnaire that they smoke cigarettes and the researchers use that “number” to calculate a percentage ratio of all the yearly deaths and illnesses of each particular type ….. and then claim “cigarette smoke was the cause”.

    So, iffen you checked “yes” on your medical questionnaire … and then you “get hit by a bus and killed” ….. you death will surely be included in the “cigarette smoking statistics”.

    The next time a Medical provider asks if you smoke cigarettes …. just look them straight in the eye and say ….. “You check me out and then you tell me, ….. you’re the Professional that’s supposed to know those things”.

  78. arthur4563 says:
    May 29, 2014 at 4:44 am

    … New cotton-derived battery developed in Japan …

    Thanks for the heads-up. The Ryden battery developed by Power Japan Plus is supposed to be completely recyclable and last ten times longer than conventional lithium-ion batteries. http://www.gizmag.com/dual-carbon-fast-charging-battery/32121/

    wws says:
    May 29, 2014 at 6:51 am

    … I also heard that genetic engineers have a bred a brand new type of unicorn that will fart rainbows and crap skittles. …

    I appreciate your skepticism. The mantra used to be: There are liars, there are damned liars and then there are battery chemists.

    Just because a technology works that doesn’t mean it will be viable. Remember the company that was converting turkey guts to oil. The process did work and it might even be viable if oil were a zillion dollars a barrel. We’ll see about the Ryden battery. My candidate for an important new battery technology is Aquion. It’s just coming to market and batteries have already been shipped. It does appear to be viable for large stationary battery applications like peak shaving. http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/technology-environment-batteries-aquion-katerva-landfills-recycling

  79. How do you pronounce “dieselification” anyway. Say it three times as fast as you can.

  80. One other problem.

    London runs some ‘emission free’ hydrogen busses. But – and you guessed it – the gas-reforming reaction hydrogen generator is in east London. So all the emissions pumped out by the hydrogen cycle, and therefore these hydrogen busses, is in eastern central London.

    I did try to get the ‘emissions free’ slogan removed, but have not succeeded. I did succeed with the Nissan Leaf adverts, which now say ‘without an exhaust pipe’.

    R

  81. Mortality stats issued by the ONS show that Life expectancy in “air polluted” London is greater than any other area of the UK.

  82. One thing I do not understand: one of the damaging health effects of localised NOx (in particular NO2), is the creation of surface ozone which damages lungs.

    But looking at maps of London NO2 at http://www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/annualmaps.asp?species=NO2&LayerStrength=75&lat=51.5&lon=-0.1&zoom=11 and then comparing them with ozone maps from the same source http://www.londonair.org.uk/london/asp/annualmaps.asp?species=O3&LayerStrength=75&lat=51.5&lon=-0.1&zoom=11 it seems that major roads have higher NO2 levels then neighbouring areas, but that the major roads have lower ozone levels. Perhaps what is causing one to be high is also causing the other to be low.

  83. Isn’t the WORSE “greenhouse gas” methane?
    And isn’t the largest emitter of methane bovine flatulence?

    What are the Utopians going to do about that? No milk for you, baby! No steak for you, daddy. No McD’s for the family outing! Gas-X for cows? Marie had it right: Let them eat cake.

  84. Skoda sell a medium size family car in the UK which gets good fuel economy, the Skoda Octavia GreenLine III Hatch £20,300, which is 1.6 litre 110 BHP diesel. They have onboard energy recovery systems to get these figures, the main one being that the battery is charged when you brake.

    Fuel consumption – Urban………..94 (UK)…..78 (US)
    Fuel consumption – Extra urban…88 (UK)…..73 (US)
    Fuel consumption – Combined…..74 (UK)…..62 (US)

    See the link below for the explanation of the above European definitions of urban, extra urban, combined fuel consumption.

    http://www.skoda.co.uk/fuel-consumption-statement

    Whilst these are meant to be real world figures that reflect different driving styles and road mixes, I am always frustrted that you cannot get a motorway cruising fuel consumption figure from them.

    Manufacturer blurb (Mazda) say that the next generration of engines in test will likely get a further 15 to 20% improvement in fuel econonmy which will mean that using UK gallons we will see 100 mpg cars on the road in about 4 years.

    • Thanks for the info, J Martin. I’m a great fan of the Octavia although we don’t get that particular model in Australia (and I suspect it would have manual transmission, which would be of no interest to me anyway). The main engine in the 2014 Octavia in Oz is the 1.4 litre turbo petrol, the diesel is the 2.0 litre and rather more expensive than the “base” engine. As for “published” fuel economy figures, while your UK ones are undoubtedly different to Oz ones, in my experience they bear little resemblance to reality. With my present European car I can get nowhere near any of the published figures, and the onboard computer readout is consistently about 0.5 l/100km optimistic. Quoted highway figure of 8l/100km I’ve never seen, and could only be achieved at a steady 70-80km/hr perhaps. My local highways are 110km/hr zones! Hence I average 10.5 to 11l/100km.

  85. Stephen Richards says:
    May 29, 2014 at 5:37 am

    arthur4563 says:

    May 29, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Won’t happen. Batteries become more dangerous than gas when they are forced to hold massive amounts of energy. Re the Tesla. How many fires so far? Boeing 787, how many delays so far?

    Fires? 3 or so, from serious accidents, all well-controlled and delayed (several minutes) by the battery housing. Try that with petrol (gas). Zero spontaneous fires Zero serious injuries or deaths in Tesla accidents to date. Safest car on the road, by far. Puts Volvo to shame, e.g. Cheapest to run. Best overall, ever, per Consumer Reports.

  86. @ Mike T. I am told I am getting a Skoda Octavia for my next company car. The company say they have ordered it, if they have then it will be another 12 weeks before I get it. Too late for my summer holidays when I could have given it a 2000 mile test on the French motorway network. Should average 3.2 litres per 100 km. Most of my mileage is on the motorway and as long as I stay under 70mph I will may get that, I have done with previous cars.

    But I will be dropping back from 6 gears (a Mazda 6) to 5 gears and so I wonder if the more powerful version a 2.0 litre 150BHP car with 6 gears might in fact be the better buy, particularly for motorway driving, and may give me just as good fuel consumption as the less powerful car.

    Perhaps to get the published mpg I will need to stick to lorry speed 56 mph (90 kph). I will try it for a week or so to see what mpg I can get. I would like to get that elusive 100mpg for one week, perhaps it can’t be done with current engines, but the next generation should make it doable. You certainly need it over here in the UK with some of the most expensive fuel in the world.

    • J. Martin, good luck with your new Octavia. I’ll be sticking with my European SUV for a while, despite its atrocious fuel economy. I do understand the need for economy in the UK, I was there many years ago and noted prices for fuel there and elsewhere in Europe. We in Oz have relatively cheap fuel, balanced by big distances to travel- our major cities are huge (I think the Sydney basin is close to the size of Holland!) with an unbelievable urban sprawl. I live in the outback, the nearest big town to the one I live in is 500km. Fuel is somewhat dearer in the bush, too, 20-25 cents per litre. Another factor for Australians is the need to carry stuff. When I leave this town I’ll have a car full, a roofbox, and towing a box trailer. I may encounter roadworks enroute where 4WD would be advantageous. So our uses and requirements differ across countries. It’s worth noting too that my town gets hordes of visitors through winter (sub-tropics) and one class of visitor is the “backpacker”: they come here mainly from Europe on a working visa. Their preferred vehicle is a delivery van, if they can’t get one of those cheaply enough they go for a Ford Falcon Wagon, sadly no longer made, replaced by an SUV, which by European standards is an enormous estate which takes a huge payload, and once unloaded can sleep two or three. Four litre engine, and not bad economy by Australian standards.

  87. You know what would kill people fast, is putting everything on trains and expecting it all to reach the stores. If you bought it, a truck brought it.

  88. The average mileage of a diesel truck in the US is 7mpg. A truck can legally haul approximately 40,000 pounds of freight across the country, from point of manufacture to point of sale if need be. There are approximately 3 million big-trucks in the US. How to calculate the amount of product shipped by diesel trucks in one day in the US is not as difficult as it looks at rough glance. The answer to the equation is “everthing.”

    Therefore, the importance of diesel transport has to be factored in. How does “everything” – from medical to building supplies to food to conveniences – reach you? How does an area affected by disaster recover quickly? Goods reach any point in the contiguous 48 states efficiently and quickly through our fossil fuel powered infrastructure. Our 3 million 18 wheelers have shipped virtually every product you, the reader, have ever used. And now nearly everyone here appears to be somehow tempted to trade all of that for an EPA certificate of non-death from Particulate Matter.

    Next up: 5 magic organic beans in exchange for all the cattle on a thousand hills.

    New improved calm cool and corrected version. Thank you and apologies for typos etc.

  89. “oldfox33 says:

    May 31, 2014 at 12:20 am

    Isn’t the WORSE “greenhouse gas” methane?
    And isn’t the largest emitter of methane bovine flatulence?”

    No, and no. Termites, forrests, bogs are by far the biggest emitter of CH4. But at ~1.8ppm/v and dropping, I’m not too worried about that.

  90. Thanks, Patrick. I am still looking for a breakdown on bovine flatulence, but:
    “The overall measure of a gas’s ability to contribute to global warming is called the Global Warming Potential (GWP) which measures the combination of the gas’s ability to trap solar radiation as heat and the length of time it persists in the atmosphere. The GWP of a gas is calculated relative to carbon dioxide’s GWP. As the right hand column of the table shows, most other greenhouse gases have far greater GWPs than carbon dioxide…. [CO2 GWP= 1; CH4 GPW= 23.]” IMO, that is “worse”

    http://www.thehcf.org/emaila3.html

    You’re worried about CO2, but not CH4? Or did I misunderstand you. I worry about EMPs and none of the greenhouse gases.

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