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Earth Transportation

France Wants To Get Rid of Diesel Fuel 395

mrspoonsi sends this Reuters report: France wants to gradually phase out the use of diesel fuel for private passenger transport and will put in place a system to identify the most polluting vehicles, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday. Next year, the government will launch a car identification system that will rank vehicles by the amount of pollution they emit, Valls said in a speech. This will make it possible for local authorities to limit city access for the dirtiest cars. "In France, we have long favoured the diesel engine. This was a mistake, and we will progressively undo that, intelligently and pragmatically," Valls said. About 80 percent of French motorists drive diesel-powered cars. Valls said taxation would have to orient citizens towards more ecological choices, notably the 2015 state budget measures to reduce the tax advantage of diesel fuel versus gas.
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France Wants To Get Rid of Diesel Fuel

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  • Why (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 28, 2014 @05:21PM (#48481509)

    is diesel such a bad fuel? I thought low sulfur diesel in modern vehicles was pretty OK with great gas mileage?

    • Re: Why (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Particulates

      • by mlts ( 1038732 )

        Isn't this what DPF and DEF systems are for? DPF systems mean that there is a filter which gets clogged every so often so the diesel vehicle is in the shop for a â3000 replacement, especially if the vehicle idles often. The DEF system provides for the vehicle being in the shop for a new engine (or at least a new set of injectors and high pressure fuel pump) when a novice vehicle owner gets confused and pours the AdBlue into the fuel tank and not the piss tank. Since the diesel-engined vehicle is kep

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      Have you never driven behind a diesel that's belching out a cloud of black smoke in your face every time it accelerates?

      Of course, now they've spent years pushing Europeans to drive diesels with high fuel taxes, good luck convincing them to switch to petrol engines that cost far more to run.

      • by Calydor ( 739835 )

        Good luck convincing them to ditch the car they bought in 2013, which is rendered essentially worthless by these changes, and buying a new car with a different kind of engine in it.

      • by mlts ( 1038732 )

        The days of the smoke-belching, dog-slow Mercedes turbo diesels which forced people to pass on the breakdown lane in order not to get asphyxiated are long gone, even though those were a scourge of the roads. One can walk behind a Sprinter, Ford F-350, or other diesel vehicle made within the past decade, and there won't be a smell, and there is likely to be no smoke, other than when the engine is started.

        Of course, there are coal rollers who deliberately de-tune their engines to run rich and reprogram the E

    • My thoughts exactly.
      Granted it is not the cleanest fuel.

    • Diesel is more fuel efficient than gasoline. Hence, banning diesel will force people to buy more electric and hybrid cars.

      • Re:Why (Score:4, Insightful)

        by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Friday November 28, 2014 @06:09PM (#48481791) Journal

        Diesel is more fuel efficient than gasoline. Hence, banning diesel will force people to buy more electric and hybrid cars.

        Hm? I would have thought, Hence, banning diesel will force people to buy gasoline cars. Why would banning diesel force people to buy electric (very limited range) and hybrid (additional cost) when gasoline cars are more plentiful, have a significantly greater range, and are cheaper?

        • Re:Why (Score:5, Informative)

          by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Friday November 28, 2014 @06:26PM (#48481901) Journal

          Why would banning diesel force people to buy electric (very limited range) and hybrid (additional cost) when gasoline cars are more plentiful, have a significantly greater range, and are cheaper?

          Answer:

          Energy Minister Segolene Royal announced earlier this year that drivers scrapping diesel-powered cars to buy an electric one would be entitled to a bonus of up to 10,000 euros ($13,500).

          The Europeans have never been afraid of using taxes and subsidies to push consumer behavior in the favored direction.
          Which is why diesels are so popular over there, since the fuel taxes have favored diesel over gasoline.

          IMO, this is a bit nuts, since modern diesels are really clean.
          Ultra-low sulfur fuel allows for catalytic converters to limit NOx emissions and particle filters remove most of the carbon soot and fine particles.

          I'd be interested in seeing the research the French looked at before making their decision.

          • Re:Why (Score:5, Informative)

            by gbjbaanb ( 229885 ) on Friday November 28, 2014 @07:28PM (#48482247)

            I'm sure they simply looked at the research of how well their car industry was doing and decided to come up with any reason to persuade people to buy new cars.

            Diesel is a great fuel to use, very efficient, and the modern engines are not the oil-burners of the past, coupled with the catalytic converters in the exhaust, its often said the emissions are cleaner than the surrounding air in many cities. Certainly, diesel engines are cleaner than petrol ones [air-quality.org.uk], and if you consider the biodiesel that many are part running on (I understand the USA runs B20 diesel anyway - that's 20% biodiesel mix in all diesel fuel), even cleaner.

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

              From your own link:

              "However, when compared to petrol cars with a catalyst, diesels have higher emissions of NOx and much higher emissions of particulate matter."

              Diesels are bad for human health and keeping cities clean. Even the newer ones are worse than petrol engines for PM2.5.

          • " push consumer behavior in the favored direction"

            Ignoring the irony that diesel was once such a favored direction...
        • Why not electric cars with diesel range extenders? I'd think that the constrained operating conditions for the ICE in such vehicle would be as beneficial for a diesel engine as they already are for a gasoline engine, and you won't have to use it in urban areas.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        "Diesel is more fuel efficient than gasoline."

        The Diesel cycle is more efficient than the Otto cycle. However the main reason diesel engines are more efficient in practice is:
        1. Diesel starts off with ~30% more energy (BTUs) per volume
        2. Higher compression ratio.

        The later is rapidly shrinking, newer technologies (eg: direct injection) mean modern petrol engines have higher compression ratios than they used to. (9:1 -> 12:1, better than older diesel engines)

        Once laser ignition (allows better combustion c

  • Ignoring for the moment that there is probably not enough bio-diesel by several magnitudes to meet the need, I wonder if bio-diesel would also be phased out.

    • It's France, of course they have plenty of French fry grease for biodiesel!

      • Re:bio-diesel? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Friday November 28, 2014 @05:50PM (#48481679) Journal

        Well, french fries aren't... ok never mind. (This could turn into a Hercule Poirot routine.)

        I mean, isn't this the same France that decided that since the eye is most sensitive to the middle part of the visible spectrum, that all cars should have lenses over them only allowing that part of the spectrum, requiring French drivers to make their way by dim, mucus-colored light? [1] Point being, they already have a history of making sweeping, ill-advised decisions involving automobiles. I wonder if this one will be rescinded when all the ramifications come to light.

        [1] I just looked it up, and it's called "Selective yellow" and was mandatory for all illumination in French vehicles until the 1990's.

        • Well, french fries aren't... ok never mind.

          And turkeys aren't from Turkey. (They can't fly but they can dance)

          • Well, french fries aren't... ok never mind.

            And turkeys aren't from Turkey. (They can't fly but they can dance)

            Not what I meant. "French fries" originated in Belgium, not France.

  • So Diesel cars in France are basically unsellable and anyone who has one can look forward to fuel costs rising ahead of petrol for the rest of the time they have it. All that's going to happen is that Diesel cars that would have gone to or stayed in France will flood the rest of the EU.
    • Cars have a lifetime (10 to 15 years), it is not a huge time to wait to replace them.
      • by sribe ( 304414 )

        Cars have a lifetime (10 to 15 years), it is not a huge time to wait to replace them.

        I don't know about Europe, but in the US cars typically have a lifetime of 20 or more years. In fact, the average age of cars on the road is a bit over 11 years. Remember, cars do not typically go from 1st owner to scrap yard, but rather to a second owner, and not uncommonly a 3rd.

    • The rest of EU already has strict laws agat pollution. E.g. that Diesel engines need a filter against particles. Or have laws that only cars allow into the cities that meet certain cleanness requirements.
      Paris even had to shut down car trafic last year because of smog. That is very unheared of since decades in europe.
      You see very dirty cars in Paris every day, because no one really cared so far.
      So, no: the old french cars are not sold into the EU ... it is the opposite around. Like myself: I export my car t

      • by r1348 ( 2567295 )

        About the shutting down traffic being rare in Europe, I beg to differ: it happens quite regularly here in Milan (basically we live in a natural cul-de-sac that accumulater pollutants.

  • The reason 80% of percent of French motorists drive diesel-powered cars is because they are the most economical option.
    Not just French but in most of Europe you'll find the diesel car is the popular option as it's the most economical choice.

    The introduction of the "AdBlue" legislation on goods vehicles, and now private vehicles, has reduced the pollution deficit in comparison to petrol to a point which is even better. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_exhaust_fluid

    Take a typical French family car and comp

    • 'reducing the tax incentives'
      You can bet they're not lowering the tax on petrol.

    • I'm all for electric and the end of burning fuel to drive around but you have to ask the question of WHERE that electricity is coming from to charge up your car?
      Is the problem just being shifted?

      In France, a lot of electricity comes from nuclear power plants, so in terms of CO2 reduction switching to electric driving would help. But that transition is going to take a while; it's unrealistic to expect everyone who now drives a diesel to buy an electric as their next car.

      As far as I know, and this seems to be supported by your links, modern diesels don't pollute more than modern petrol cars. So if this would be about reducing pollution, they should crack down on old and poorly maintained diesels.

      I do

    • As was said in one comment before the real issue has got to do with crude refinement. Not only we use too much diesel and not enough gasoline.. These days, we can generate more gasoline in proportion from the crude. And the demand for diesel fuel from hauling trucks and the like will not go away. So the French have gone too far in favoring diesel cars (from a high amount of diesel cars, the trend has only increased for the past decade or two).
      I would favor reducing car use and number of cars but policy will

  • actually, there's no tax advantage at all, if you count by type of fuel: the days of low price for diesel/high price for petrol have left Europe long ago. aaaannd, good luck with the truck industry: Diesel has a kind of economy of scale whereby you can easily build large diesel engines, but it's actually quite difficult to build economical, big petrol engines.
    Luckily, the central case is much more benign: since such a measure cannot be adopted by a single EU state, this slimy politician will gain brownie
  • I've long said this. (Score:4, Informative)

    by sunking2 ( 521698 ) on Friday November 28, 2014 @06:21PM (#48481867)
    Circa 2006 I used to travel to Roune. Lovely city, amazing architecture, almost all of it completely black. I mean black hole black. So bad that they were power washing them with bleach other something else to try to restore them. Did a great job, for about a year. I soon came to the conclusion that the US actually did make the right choice. Now I understand the low sulfur should be a game changer. Either Valls isn't convinved, or he's targeting other things that may not be using the low sulfur. But I think it's a move that is 50 years too late.
  • The reasons... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by guruevi ( 827432 )

    1) Diesel enjoys great tax breaks all over Europe. If you gas up with diesel, the government receives a smaller share than with Gasoline. Diesel cars are a LOT cheaper to own and operate in Europe. From my experience with the EU, this may be mandated and thus may not be able to be fixed by individual states.
    2) Gasoline cars are harder to repair at home and break down more often and sooner. Fixing a diesel, especially the older ones, is easier but that is a lot less profitable to either business or governmen

  • Title is bogus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by geantvert ( 996616 ) on Friday November 28, 2014 @09:27PM (#48482717)

    There is nothing in the article about France trying to kill diesel. The purpose of those measures are to get rid of OLD DIESEL CARS that are well known source of pollution (for the particules).

    • by Uzull ( 16705 )

      correct! title should say old car...

      especially when the french car industry is most advanced in the area of diesel engines - renault nissan decided several years ago concentrate the design of diesel engines within renault and gasoline engines with nissan.... peugeot is even selling complete engines to bmw. some minis and bmw series 1 use peugeot engines.

      i doubt very much that the french goverment would give such important area of the french industry

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 28, 2014 @09:34PM (#48482735)

    Meanwhile, in the US, the government quietly criminalized the conversion of fryer oil into fuel for diesel cars unless the 24.4c gallon federal diesel tax is paid by the person who uses it. There will be a line and worksheet in the 2014 1040 packet for reporting this tax.

  • by Chas ( 5144 )

    Valls said taxation would have to orient citizens towards more expensive choices

    There! I've thoroughly grammar-corrected the line from the original Surrender Monkey.

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Saturday November 29, 2014 @08:42AM (#48484375)
    Frankly France exhibits far more intelligence than the people in the US give them credit for. Our system in the US acts like cancer and tries to perpetuate all of our current qualities and wrongs. It sort of self heals regardless of what changes are needed. Here we see all kinds of organized and quite likely criminal opposition to Tesla cars being introduced despite the fact that they are the most superior vehicle one can buy. I wonder to what degree French companies and politicians will resist phasing out diesel engines. This type of resistance to change is exactly why the US has not been on solar, wind and water power for decades. It is not that it is not good or too expensive. It is all about propaganda and lies and big business wanting to keep a tight grip on energy supplies. Really folks, just dwell upon this stuff for a bit. If the US has an energy supply issue why do we allow any exports of coal, oil or natural gas at all? If you are short of groceries in your home do you rush to sell what little food you have?

Steve Jobs said two years ago that X is brain-damaged and it will be gone in two years. He was half right. -- Dennis Ritchie

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