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High pollution reinforces relevance of green LPG

For a few days in early spring, Britain was gripped by a very well publicised episode of severe air pollution, said to be the worst since records began.

Our own domestic pollution was joined by more blowing over from mainland Europe, while to top it all a cloud of Saharan dust swept in from north Africa and covered every surface with a layer of fine red sand.

The event was unusual because it was so visible – tall buildings disappeared into the smog, distant landscapes were shrouded in haze and even the streets of our towns and cities nestled beneath a murky blanket. Public health suffered, as well, with hospitals reporting a spike in admissions for respiratory problems.

News coverage of the pollution was often accompanied by pictures or film of traffic and exhaust pipes. Many of the reports stated that much of the UK’s poor air quality is caused at a local level by nitrous oxide and small particulate tailpipe emissions from diesel engines.

National newspaper articles warned that diesel cars ‘needlessly worsen’ air quality and that pollution ‘will get worse’ if motorists continue to choose those models. In Paris, which also recently suffered a serious pollution surge, one national newspaper front page headline highlighted ‘The dangers of diesel’.

The answer to this problem seems clear – it’s time for autogas LPG to be included as a viable part of the mainstream green fuel mix and be properly supported by manufacturers. LPG produces up to 50 times fewer oxides of nitrogen and 120 times less harmful small particulate matter than diesel, which could help contribute to a drop in the type of emissions that were part of the reason for the recent air quality crisis.

The UK government has shown its commitment to LPG by outlining a clear duty trajectory through to 2024, which will ensure that it remains significantly cheaper at the pumps than either petrol or diesel. Now it’s up to the manufacturers to recognise that commitment by giving UK new car buyers the choice of LPG in the showroom that’s already available to our European neighbours.

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