70% of cars sold in Ireland this year were diesel

How popular are diesel cars?

More than 70% of cars sold in Ireland so far this year have been diesel models according to the latest statistics from the Society of the Irish Motor Industry. Some 82,700 diesel cars have been bought in 2015 compared to 31,720 petrol models. Diesel cars amount for roughly half of sales in the UK, however.

Why are people concerned about diesel?

The two pollutants in diesel fumes which raise most concern from air quality campaigners are microscopic airborne particles, known as particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide.

Particulate matter is made up of tiny particles suspended in the air. Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a gas caused by road vehicles and other combustion processes. NO2 is extremely harmful to health and is associated with respiratory symptoms, inflammation of the lung lining, and susceptibility to bronchitis.

How many people are killed by NO2?

Analysis by the UK environment department found that exposure to NO2 causes 23,500 deaths in the UK each year.

What steps are being taken to reduce the impact of diesel fumes on air quality?

Since September 1 new cars have had to meet new EU emission standards (known as Euro-6).

The British SMMT says the latest diesel cars are the cleanest in history and it would take 42m Euro-6 diesel cars to generate the same amount of nitrogen oxide as one UK coal-fired power station. Ireland is ranked eighth out of 28 European countries in terms of emissions from new passenger cars by the European Environment Agency.

What does the motoring industry have to say?

Car company chiefs claim diesel cars produce, on average, 20% less CO2 than equivalent petrol cars and so play a crucial role in the climate change battle.


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