I write in reply to the article written by Peter Jones (“Petrolheads can save the planet”, Perspective, 8 April). I am a diesel car driver and will remain one for the foreseeable future. I totally reject and condemn what Mr Jones has written.
Diesel engines have much cleaner exhausts, with better after-treatment systems, than ever.
Diesel exhaust filters may clog up during city driving, but the solution to this is to introduce congestion charges for cars in city centres and use the proceeds to improve public transport.
There are increasing numbers of diesel-electric hybrid cars which will greatly reduce emissions further by using electric power only for short distances. Advances in diesel fuel production and engine technology will reduce emissions and improve economy further still, which can only do the environment good.
This is why diesel-powered cars are becoming rightly more popular. Diesel engines rapidly became the motive power of choice for lorries, buses and some trains by virtue of their superior economy and low speed torque, and are becoming so for cars.
Does Mr Jones have proof that diesel exhaust fumes are responsible for the smog over London and the South-east? It is accepted that dust from the Sahara and power station/industrial fumes from continental Europe are responsible for the recent air quality issues, and it is simplistic to blame diesel engines for the smog.
Even if this were the case, this is more likely to be caused by old, run-down commercial vehicles rather than modern diesel engines, which are as clean as petrol engines. Has Mr Jones realised that petrol engines are as bad for smog and environment as diesels are, if not worse?
I suggest he goes to Los Angeles, which is based around petrol cars and has very few diesel cars, and has recurring smog problems caused by petrol engine emissions. My advice to diesel drivers is ignore Peter Jones, as I will. You are doing the world a better favour by increasing diesel use, for non-city driving at any rate.
Mark W Norton