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According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), sales of new diesel cars fell a massive 30 percent in November after a similar crash in September. The fall is likely to be linked to new levies and the penalisation of new diesel cars, announced by UK government last month. 

A recent U-turn by the UK government on diesel cars has caused confusion within the industry and is the likely cause of a 30% percent fall in sales of new diesel-powered cars.

Last month, Philip Hammond announced a new levy ranging from £20-£300 on the sale of new diesel cars - which, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, would be used to improve air quality. This additional charge is yet another blow for the new car dealers and manufacturers after vehicle excise duty (VED) rates were overhauled in April 2017, meaning new diesel cars registered after 1st April 2017 no longer benefitted from the low rates imposed by Labour government in 2001 to incentivise motorists to switch to apparently greener diesel engines.

As these new penalties only affect newly manufactured vehicles, it targets the cleanest diesel engines which have been found to produce the same or lower levels of nitrous oxides (NOx) as petrol equivalents. 

One motor industry executive had been left “scratching their heads as they watch old diesels in traffic pumping out black exhaust [fumes] while they’ve got new, clean diesels on the forecourt they can’t shift”.

Furthermore, drivers of these old "dirty diesels" claim they are less likely to trade up to newer, more environmentally friendly cars as a result of Hammond's latest Budget announcement, despite many manufacturers adopting scrappage schemes in an attempt to encourage some of the millions of older diesel vehicles off the road.  

The recent changes could be good news for used car dealers who stock nearly-new, low-mileage quality used diesel vehicles - many of which feature the cleanest Euro 5 and Euro 6 engines. These used diesel cars still benefit from previous VED rates, as well improved fuel efficiency with no levy to pay.

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