UK Government Purchases More Diesel Than Electric Cars despite 2027 Zero Emission Promise

Written by Kelsey Lacey

Despite persistently urging car owners in the UK to switch to electric vehicles and safer transport alternatives, the government purchased more diesel vehicles than EVs. Reports revealed that around 168 were added to the 1,617 diesel vehicles fleet of The Home Office. Meanwhile, their total number of electric-powered vehicles is only 62.

What does this glaring fact say about the UK government? Experts and campaigners now believe that the government does not exactly translate their promises into action. They have completely contradicted themselves in this matter. 

FairCharge campaign founder Quentin Wilson warned and challenged the government to lead the way and act. 

Aside from The Home Office, the Department of Transport has also been focused on increasing its diesel fleet. The agency now has 67 more diesel-powered vehicles compared to 54 EVs. The majority of the vehicles in their fleet are diesel.

While this is happening, the Labour Party is working on fast-tracking EV manufacturing, therefore providing stable jobs for many. Louise Haigh, Show Transport Secretary, also shared that if the party’s plans push through, additional battery plans will be built and these shall support over 1.8 million electric vehicles. 

Since the request from Freedom of Information revealed how the Home Office favours diesel vehicles over EVs, some officials have labelled the Conservative Party’s concern for road transport as empty and pretentious. Additionally, the party earlier challenged Mayor Sadiq Khan’s expansion plans for the ULEZ (Ultra-Low Emission Zone).  

The ULEZ closes highly polluted areas in London to vehicles with high volumes of emissions. High-polluting vehicles that want to travel through the ULEZ are required to pay a charge per day. 

Even with the Freedom of Information’s revelations, the government reiterated its commitment to the 2027 zero-emissions goal. 

Why are diesel emissions bad?

Road transport emissions are dangerous because they are not only bad for the environment but also for a person’s health. They come from diesel-powered vehicles, and diesel comes from crude petroleum. It also contains oxygen, nitrogen, and sulphur.

The emissions that come from diesel vehicles are called nitrogen oxides or NOx. The nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) components in NOx add to their dangerous nature. Both gases can cause negative impacts, the most common of which being respiratory diseases including asthma. 

When NOx is breathed in, it can travel to the lungs and can go all the way to the bloodstream. Fluid can also fill up the lungs, and this is the reason why breathing becomes difficult. 

Other health impacts that can develop after being exposed to nitrogen oxide emissions are:

  • Asphyxiation
  • Chronic Obstructive Respiratory Disease or COPD
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Premature death

Air pollution, specifically NOx emissions, has become the primary cause of early deaths all over the world. Most of the cases involve cardiovascular issues and asthma, such as what happened to Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, a young UK resident who died in 2013 due to air pollution. Ella had a severe asthma attack after months of going in and out of hospitals and emergency rooms. An inquest led to the coroner confirming air pollution as the primary cause of the young schoolgirl’s death. 

In recent years, some studies linking air pollution exposure to dementia were published. Constant exposure to NOx, regardless of the amount, can cause a decline in cognitive health and this is what leads to dementia. 

Mental health issues will also hound a person who regularly breathes in NOx emissions. Episodes of depression and anxiety can happen without warning.

Nitrogen oxide is a major issue for carmakers involved in the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal.

The dieselgate scandal

Described as the most controversial issue the global automobile industry has faced or is facing, the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal initially involved only the Volkswagen Group. Over the years, more and more carmakers have been implicated in the scam.

US authorities accused the Volkswagen group of violating emissions standards as defeat devices were allegedly found inside VW and Audi vehicles. The devices detect when a vehicle is wheeled into the lab for testing and they automatically control emissions so that levels do not exceed the WHO’s safe limits. Since it appears clean and emissions-compliant, regulators approve the vehicle for marketing and selling.

What they do not know, however, is that the vehicle releases low emissions only during regulatory testing. Once it is taken out for real-world road driving, the diesel vehicle emits massive volumes of nitrogen oxides. 

US authorities ordered VW to pay fines and recall all affected vehicles so their engines can be corrected. Not long after, other carmakers started getting notices of violation for the alleged use of defeat devices. Mercedes-Benz, Renault, BMW, and Nissan are only some of the manufacturers that have been accused of violating emissions regulations. The list of carmakers gets longer every year.

Volkswagen, Mercedes (through its parent company Daimler), and some other carmakers have reached an agreement with some affected drivers. Affected drivers need to file a diesel claim and get compensated.

Am I eligible for my diesel claim?

There are several things to consider when filing a diesel claim. Foremost among these is your eligibility to receive compensation. Visit to get all the details you need now. Once done, start your emission claim process and work with an emissions expert.

About the author

Kelsey Lacey