Claiming that modern diesels such as the latest common rail units, which many manufacturers are producing and including Peugeot's high pressure direct injection units, emit 20% less greenhouse gas and 50% less hydrocarbon than their petrol equivalents, vans said: 'The latest common rail HDi diesel technology is even more environmentally-friendly, cutting fuel consumption and exhaust emissions even more. In France and Germany, where people are arguably more environmentally aware than in Britain, the environmental efficiency of the new diesel technology is understood, appreciated and encouraged by Government fiscal policies.
'That is why diesel markets are growing, and Peugeot and other car manufacturers are investing massively to increase diesel production, while Britain's diesel market continues to decline. There is no doubt that anyone - and that includes Governments - wanting to reduce greenhouse gases and exhaust pollution rapidly should look no further than diesel. In continental Europe, that view is already well established.'
Diesel technology will further improve with the arrival next year of the Peugeot 607 executive car - the world's first diesel production car to be fitted with a particle filter. Evans said diesel offered the immediate answer to today's environmental issues while manufacturers waited to make the long-term breakthrough with battery or fuel cell technology.