PRAGUE Media reports about the Dieselgate affair, the alleged threat of diesel fuel to the environment or the impending ban on the entry of older diesel cars into the centers of some cities did not deter Czech drivers from being interested in diesel cars. Exactly opposite.
Their share in the total vehicle fleet is growing. In the first half of this year, by more than 34,000 to 2.36 million cars. Of the total number of all registered passenger cars in our country, ie slightly over six million, the share of diesels increased to more than 39 percent.
Detailed data from the Center for Transport Research (CDV) on the domestic car market have just been published by the Ministry of Transport. They also show that petrol is still the leading role. The total number of all passenger cars on Czech roads increased by 57,000 in the first half of this year, of which almost 19,000 were in passenger cars with petrol (3.5 million in total). However, their share fell by 0.2 percentage points to 58.7 percent.
The CDV report mainly describes a significant (percentage) increase in the number of electric cars with battery recharging, including plug-in hybrids that burn petrol at the same time. 9650 of them drove on Czech roads (within all categories, including vehicles with two to three wheels or vans) in the middle of the year. Two thousand more than at the end of last year.
Less new, more used
However, no other drive surpassed the increase in diesel. All this in a situation where sales of all new cars fell sharply in the first half of this year due to the coronavirus crisis.
From January to June, 23 percent fewer new diesels and 30 percent fewer new petrol cars were registered than last year. The high additions to the total vehicle fleet are thus mainly due to the growing interest in buying used cars and cars imported from abroad.
“The interest in diesels is logical. Rather than talking about ecology, people decide on their wallet. Diesel is clearly more economical than gasoline. And when buying used cars, the price disadvantage of new diesel cars also falls, “comments Josef Pokorný, secretary of the Association of Car Importers.
The current situation thus fits into the continuing trend of the growing average age of the car fleet in the Czech Republic. The current average of 15 years puts us at the bottom in Europe.
While used cars and older imported cars are the domain of mainly solo drivers and families, new diesels are mainly bought by companies in the fleets of their company cars. The real savings, given the lower consumption and also the lower price of pumps compared to petrol, will only be reflected in a larger number of kilometers driven. For short trips or driving around the city, experts still recommend petrol cars in terms of lower acquisition costs.
The threat is a leaked filter
“Diesel is very attractive, especially when buying second-hand cars for the middle class. This is especially true for larger family cars, including the increasingly popular SUVs. In addition, if they meet at least the Euro 5 standard, they represent a minimal burden on the environment, “says Václav Loula from the Czech Association of Petroleum Industry and Trade.
But many used diesels do not meet the most stringent emission standards. According to the renowned expert on measuring emissions in transport, Professor Michal Vojtíšek from the Czech Technical University in Prague and the Technical University in Liberec, the age of the diesel car is not so decisive, but how consistently the drivers take care of the condition of the engine.
“A well-maintained older car is less of a risk than a new car with a cleverly modified control unit and a leaking particle filter, from which it smokes when starting off,” Vojtíšek told Lidovky.cz.
In 2018, Cebia stated in an extensive study of the situation on the Czech passenger car market after the Dieselgate affair that the share of diesels in total imports of used cars is around 57 percent. People most often import Volkswagen Group brands, especially the Škoda Octavia in the 1.9 TDI or 2.0 TDI engine. But often Ford and BMW diesels.