'We do not need to stop using diesel,' claims Neste article

Can it be that we need to stop using diesel?” asks Seppo Mikkonen, a research and development fellow at Neste, on the company’s blog.

Judging from his post on the matter, the answer is a clear no.

Diesel has become a hugely controversial issue, as scientists and the media become increasingly aware of the dangers of the nitrogen dioxide fumes emitted by the fuel. Earlier this year, Elżbieta Bieńkowska, EU Commissioner for Industry and Entrepreneurship, predicted that diesel vehicles would “disappear from roads much faster than expected.”

In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan has called for an ultra-low emission zone to be introduced in the city’s central areas by 2019, which would mean diesel cars not meeting the Euro 6 emission standard having to pay £12.50 (€14.50) a day to drive in the city centre.

Mikkonen suggests in his article that the clamour for new diesel legislation overlooks what is already in place. “Many may not have noticed that measures have already been taken to control diesel emissions. For the last ten years, the particulate matter emissions of new diesel-fuelled cars have been very low thanks to particulate filters. In fact, the particulate, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions of diesel cars are lower than those of gasoline-fueled cars,” he writes.

“Furthermore, nitrogen oxide emissions have been reduced down to a fraction by using urea-based catalytic converters. On trucks and buses, these became common some five years ago, and their use in private cars will increase, starting from next fall.

Mikkonen points out that as well as having higher fuel economy than gasoline or natural gas fuelled cars, diesel cars can run on 100 renewable fuel while gasoline cars cannot.

In addition, he notes that the biodiesel expertise of companies like Neste – the world’s largest manufacture of renewable diesel – will remain important in the future. While acknowledging that electricity will likely become the norm in private cars, he points out that diesel will remain the number one option for heavy, air and sea traffic.

“In these fields, renewable diesel and the modern vehicle technology combined with efficient purification of exhaust emissions are the key means to reduce emissions and energy consumption cost efficiently.” 

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