Diesel cars not allowed in Dubai any more? *Updated*
Diesel-powered cars are quite popular in Europe, Asia and parts of the United States. They’re known for their fuel economy, immense torque and characteristic rattling engine note. Diesel has generally been the domain of commercial vehicles in the GCC. However, over the last few years, a few carmakers have sort of offered diesel cars in the UAE, usually on special order, such as the Audi Q7 W12 TDI, the Porsche Cayenne Diesel and the Land Rover Defender. Now we’re hearing that diesel cars, privately-owned ones at least, are not allowed to be newly registered in Dubai any more. Update: The RTA eventually announced on Twitter that there was some internal miscommunication with the registration centres and diesel cars are still allowed for private registration.
According to a discussion on a local Land Rover owner’s group on Facebook — which seems to be heavily populated with diesel Defender owners — there is word from the Dubai RTA testing centres that Defenders cannot be newly registered any more. Only existing Defenders that are already registered can be renewed. This was apparently verified by calling RTA customer service. One owner says two of his friends were turned away when they tried to register their Defenders, although it is unclear if existing owners can transfer ownership.
We assume the rule does not apply to large commercial vehicles yet, although there is word from some dealers that new light commercial vehicles are being pushed towards having petrol engines as well. Various vans and pickups already have a petrol engine option.
This new rule may have something to do with pollution control, and there is precedence for this in Europe. According to the BBC, the Mayor of Paris wants to ban diesel cars from the capital altogether, while the United Kingdom is thinking of a scrappage scheme for diesel cars.
Apparently owners have problems with the particulate diesel filters on their cars, so they remove the filter, allowing smoke particles to escape. Diesel engines also produce much more nitrogen dioxide (NO2) than petrol engines, which irritates the lungs of people with breathing problems. As such, after heavily promoting diesel cars for decades now, European governments are suddenly against them.
So the Dubai RTA is basically being ahead of the curve. Of course, this wont make a bit of difference to most of us — except Defender owners. There is a new Defender on the way by next year, and it is expected to have a petrol engine.
Update: The RTA eventually announced on Twitter that there was some internal miscommunication with the registration centres and diesel cars are still allowed for private registration.