It’s official: Australians are still committed to diesel cars

Despite carmakers ditching diesel in droves, one in six Australian drivers is behind the wheel of a diesel-powered car.

Despite car companies shifting their attentions elsewhere, a whopping 2.6 million Australians still drive a diesel car – representing roughly 16 per cent of the nation’s 16.2 million-strong fleet.

According to new Roy Morgan data, diesel is second only to petrol in popularity, with petrol cars making up 80 per cent of the vehicles on Australia’s roads.

These numbers come despite an increasing number of manufacturers pledging a shift away from petrol and diesel entirely, and focusing their attentions on an electric-only future.

Most recently, American giant General Motors vowed to be fully carbon neutral by 2040, meaning it will end production of the majority of its internal-combustion engined cars by 2035 and aim to have 40 per cent of its line-up be battery-powered by 2025.

GM’s announcement immediately followed the newly-elected Biden administration announcing plans to transition the US government fleet to consist entirely of electric cars assembled in the United States.

Meanwhile, Hyundai has ended all-new diesel engine development and BMW is streamlining its diesel engine range.

Additionally, diesel cars have been marred by controversy in recent years, sparked by the notorious ‘Dieselgate’ saga, in which the Volkswagen Group was found to have cheated diesel emissions laws.

Toyota was also recently the subject of a damning independent report into faults with its diesel particulate filter (DPF) on certain models, causing the carmaker to redesign its DPF system.

But regardless of this seismic global shift away from diesel and petrol cars, data shows Australians have been slower to embrace alternative powertrains than their overseas counterparts.

Although models like Toyota’s hybrid RAV4 are seeing exponential sales growth locally, Roy Morgan found hybrids still only make up 270,000 of Australia’s cars, while 200,000 Australians drive LPG cars and just 40,000 drive all-electric cars.

At the same time as it’s driving the bulk of the nation’s hybrid sales, Toyota is also responsible for the majority of diesel cars on Australian roads – with 482,000 of the country’s diesels produced by the Japanese giant.

In second place is Mitsubishi, which produced 226,000 of Australia’s diesel cars, followed by Ford, Holden, Hyundai. Volkswagen, Nissan and Mazda – in decreasing order.

Roy Morgan also found that there were several manufacturers for which diesel cars make up the majority of their Australian-owned vehicles.

These included Mitsubishi, Volkswagen, Isuzu UTE, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Jeep, Volvo, Peugeot and Land Rover, all of which had more than 20 per cent of their local vehicle fleets made up by diesel cars.

But while a large proportion of Australia’s existing fleet is diesel-powered, new diesel sales are on the decline.

Australians purchased 290,659 diesel cars in 2020, compared with 332,219 in 2019 – a decline of 12.5 per cent.

What’s more, Roy Morgan found 52.6 per cent of Australians said they are seriously considering buying a hybrid car, up 5.6 per cent on five years ago, while 38.5 per cent of Australians are considering an all-electric car, up 11.3 per cent in only five years.

Extracted from Car Advice

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