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Why diesel is losing its popularity in Europe


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In these days, contraction of demand on diesel cars is shown in Europe. It is suspected that such tendency will remain in the following years. Let us get all this straightened out.

Statistics of diesel cars sales in Europe

According to European Automobile Manufacturer's Association, 15 158 874 cars were sold in EU countries (excluding Malta) in 2018, and 15 136 590 – in 2017. Herewith, percentage of diesel cars was 35.9% and 44% accordingly. Taken as a whole, demand on them decreased by 18.3% in comparison with the previous year.

The British research agency JATO also recorded 18% reduction of demand on diesel transport. According to statistics, which affected 27 European countries, totally 5.59 million of diesel cars were sold in 2018. This is 36% of total amount of passenger vehicles and the lowest index since 2001, when only 5.44 million diesel cars were sold. The reducing trend was especially evident in comparison with 2011, when this type of vehicles had 55% of the market share.

JATO statistics demonstrates a significant reduction of diesel cars popularity in 20 of 27 countries. Whereby it occurs at a swift rate in Great Britain, Scandinavian and Benelux Union countries. 30%, 22% and 22% less vehicles were sold here in 2018 than in 2017.

Countries with the most and the least share of diesel cars

According to JATO data, diesel cars still have more than 50% of market share in Ireland, Portugal and Italy in 2018. In 2017, they maintained the leading positions in six countries: Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Luxembourg and Croatia.

The least percentage of new diesel cars registration was recorded in the Netherlands and Norway. They have less than 20% of total sales.

Diesel is a choice of premium brands fans

According to JATO statistics, 8 of 10 brands with maximum diesel cars sales were premium. Thus, drivers who buy Audi, Mercedes, BMW, Volvo, Land Rover, Jeep and other cars, give preference to this fuel type. Moreover, small sales growth, from 44% to 49%, is registered for three makes, including even DS.

What causes decreasing of diesel motors popularity

  • Poor reputation. It is caused by scandals around famous automotive concerns, which reduced harmful emission values on purpose, by installing on the cars special software or tampering with data from sensors.
  • Limitations of transportation. In some European cities, Hamburg, for example, there is a prohibition on driving in main streets in the cars, emissions of which do not comply with the latest emission standard – Euro 6. Authorities of Paris, Madrid, Athens, Dusseldorf and other cities also proclaimed the intention to introduce similar prohibitions.
  • Possible refuse of internal combustion engines in some countries. Norway, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, Germany and India are planning to switch to electric cars in the coming years.
  • High cost. Taxes and diesel fuel prices, slightly increased by authorities of some countries, as well as prices of diesel cars, stimulate customers to reject diesel cars in the course of time.
  • Growth of electric and hybrid cars popularity. According to JATO statistics, sales of alternative vehicles increased significantly in 2018. Quantity of registered cars on the territories of 27 European countries reached 944 800, which is 6.5% total market share. This value equaled only 0.5% in 2008.


Despite the popularity lessening, diesel vehicles are still present on the European market. Nonetheless, it will ease positions gradually in the following years. The cause of it lies not only in poor reputation of diesel motors, but in increase of demand on electric cars, which, as it is claimed by experts, will lead to putting out the cars, equipped with internal combustion engines, from the market.