It was just several months ago when European commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska called diesel-powered cars as the technology of the past, even giving a prediction that these vehicles will completely disappear in the near future. While it is still too early to say whether her statement will come a true or not, but carmakers are facing a harsh reality for now – public demand for diesel cars are dropping in a fast pace in Europe.
Public sentiment towards diesel cars in Europe has been dropping for the past years, with more and more consumers in the region looking to purchase cleaner, more environment-friendly vehicles. While Europe has been considered as the largest market for diesel cars since the 1980s, but the hunger for such vehicles has been waning lately. It was really evident from how carmakers across Europe has been shying away from diesel cars and pursuing electrification. Nonetheless, the latest available figures on sales of diesel cars are a better proof.
According to a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), there is really a huge decline in the demand for diesel cars. Since its statement is backed by numbers, it is really quite hard to deny the fact. As per IEA, diesel cars hold a large chunk of the automotive market in Europe, accounting for 42.5 percent of all sales as of start of 2017. But a year after at the start of 2018, the market share of diesel cars in Europe had shrunk to 36.5 percent. Overall during the period, carmakers manage to just move 3.12 million diesel cars to customers in Europe, for a huge decline of 16 percent, according to IEA.
The sales situation for diesel cars is worse in some countries in Europe. For instance, the auto industry saw sales of diesel cars in the United Kingdom significantly dropped by 30 percent in the year to start of 2018. Germany is no better off, even though it is home to some of the largest diesel car producers in the world such as the Volkswagen Group and the BMW Group. At the start of 2017, diesel cars accounted for 41.3 percent of sales in Germany. A year later, the demand for such cars plummeted by 31.1 percent.
Since sales of diesel cars have been in decline, there is also corresponding drop in the sales of diesel fuel. In fact, diesel fuel sales plunged by 115,000 barrels a day in August compared to a month prior, causing prices at the fuel stations to surge.
Diesel cars have started falling out of favor from consumers in 2015, as traced back to the so-called Dieselgate scandal, which is essentially the emissions cheating scandal committed by the Volkswagen Group. From there, the European and national governments as well as local governments have been reassessing the impact of diesel cars. With a growing number of politicians discouraging their constituents to shy away from diesel cars, the future is also becoming bleak for these vehicles.