Blog: Dave LeggettSMMT CO2 seminar

Dave Leggett | 9 May 2003

It was worth going along to the SMMT seminar today. It at least brought me up to date with the main issues in Europe. ACEA's CO2 emissions target for 2008 was one thing - see the link below. The importance of the role of diesel in Europe was pretty clear and I think it is one reason why gasoline-electric hybrids will be less significant in Europe than the US. Fuel consumption and CO2 figures are broadly comparable and diesels are already very popular in Europe (tried and tested technology; approaching 60% of the French market for example).

Governments can tinker with regulations and tax breaks to further encourage diesels and hybrids but the real challenge is the consumer. Don Potts - Volvo Car's UK environmental adviser - put it succinctly: environmental concerns in terms of buyers' ranked vehicle characteristic preferences are vieing way down the list with in-car entertainment options.

Do people really make the connection between global warming (still argued about by scientists) and their choice of car? Isn't it the other person who should drive the Lupo three litre while I have my 911 turbo? Mind you, Don Potts reckons that younger people are emerging as very much more literate on environmental concerns and kids learn all about it at school nowadays. Most people I know who drive diesels are mainly interested in the selfish economic gains rather than motivated by wider altruism, but maybe that could be changing. Slowly though.


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