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Toyota Ireland CEO calls for Nitrous Oxide VRT rise

Toyota Ireland has reacted to the EPA’s report showing that Nitrogen Dioxide levels due to traffic in Dublin do indeed pose a serious public health risk by calling on government to incorporate Nitrous Oxide as part of vehicle registration tax (VRT) in order to drive improvement in air quality in Ireland.

Steve Tormey, CEO of Toyota Ireland, commented: “Toyota stopped selling diesel cars in Europe at the beginning of this year with much evidence being available across the continent and in the UK that fumes from diesel cars have been seriously damaging to human health. Now we have the first clear evidence that the same is true in Dublin. We expect that the expansion of monitoring will, in the future, confirm that similar is also occurring in other Irish cities and towns.”

There are over 1.7 million diesel passenger cars on the road in Ireland, accounting for 62 per cent of Ireland’s national car fleet, while diesel car sales in 2019 remain at almost 50 per cent of the market. Most European countries have seen a much greater reduction in diesel car sales in recent years with diesel cars having an average share across Europe of 36 per cent in 2018, according to the ACEA.

Many of the diesel cars set to be imported from the UK into Ireland this year will be non-compliant with current emissions regulations and likely to be emitting even higher levels of NO2. By contrast, self-charging hybrid electric cars have minimal Nitrous Oxide emissions.

A study carried out by University College Dublin academics last year showed that Toyota’s self-charging hybrids were shown to drive in zero emissions mode over 60 per cent of the time in typical commuting conditions and up to 76 per cent of the time in city centre driving.
Toyota says that self-charging hybrid electric cars are the “best immediate technology” to tackle the issue of air quality emissions in Dublin City and the surrounding area.

Government policy currently incentivises the purchase of diesel cars with cheaper excise rates for diesel fuel than for petrol and a VAT reclaim on diesel fuel used in business, while not allowing the same for petrol fuel used in business. These diesel fuel incentives mean that company cars, which by definition do much more mileage than privately owned cars, are almost exclusively diesel.

Mr. Tormey further commented: “While we recognise that in Budget 2019 the Government introduced one per cent levy on VRT for diesel cars, we believe that Government should now make Nitrous Oxide emissions part of the VRT calculation in order to improve air quality in our cities.”