France Proposes Phasing Out Diesels, Calling Them a ‘Mistake’

By Paul Riegler on 3 December 2014
  • Share
En route to Strasbourg in a diesel

En route to Strasbourg in a diesel

The French government has lost its nearly two decades of faith in diesel.

In a speech last Friday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls called for a gradual reduction in the number of diesel-powered automobiles on the road, calling diesel a “mistake.”

Like much of Europe, France began to strongly promote diesels six decades ago, ahead of the development of pollution control systems such as catalytic converters. More than half of the cars sold each year in Europe are diesels and roughly 80% of all vehicles on the road in France are diesels.

“In France, we have long favored the diesel engine,” the prime minister said in his speech. “This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically.”

Measures the government may employ would include raising taxes on diesel fuel that would decrease diesel’s advantage over gasoline.

In addition, starting in 2015, the French government will begin to identify and rank vehicles by the amount of pollution emitted, Valls said in his speech. Some cities will then be able to ban the dirtiest vehicles from entering.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)