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Diesel cars not allowed in Dubai any more? *Updated*

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.


  1. Two updates to this story:

    1) While Mayor Hidalgo of Paris initially spoke of a diesel ban in Paris, the official policy released in late January only bans older diesels, not diesels made after 2011.

    2) While the London scrappage proposal remains a possibility, UK officials are much more likely to officially enact a rule that only affects older diesels, much like Paris did.

    Steve Hansen, Diesel Technology Forum, USA

  2. Where is this new rule? Anything officially released by RTA?
    Mash, you should check with RTA. We need some exact info, rumors and assumptions create more confusion!

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      Why don’t you just call RTA, as mentioned in the story.

    • Hahaha. It’s your duty as a auto journalist to provide exact info and to ask for an official statement before you write an article that interests the public. Be open to feedback and learn from it when you have the chance.

      You can’t write an article like this without bothering to call RTA to ask wether it’s true or not what you are going to publish! Ideally every piece on info has to be validated from 3 sources. If you mention RTA it’s a must to ask at least them about it. No offence….

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      No offence. But if you’re buying a Defender, call yourself. The story is already confirmed by the RTA call centre. There is only one RTA. Where are you going to get 3 sources?

    • I called and checked RTA too. It is true, but the Tasjeel people cannot confirm, or too lazy to confirm.

    • At least we know about it. I think RTA will not be clear about it anyway. No one else even report about this.

  3. quite strange…

  4. No more cheap travel diesel are economical what about Isuzu Dmax recently launched in UAE makes no sense by RTA just copy cat attitude bruh!!! they wan’t to be on top if every thing but with no sense…

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      Diesel actually costs more than petrol here. Hence why no one buys diesel cars anyway, except for niche models like the Defender.

    • i think diesel is more expensive everywhere isnt it? but it gives more mileage and that is where savings are. Countries where it is subsidized, it is cheaper there.

  5. It is expensive here but gives you more MPG than petrol and is also cheaper to buy a diesel powered car, maintenance is a different story but as an alternative for petrol which is going to be extinct if consumed by present standards.. shouldn’t be banned but should be appreciated if someone wants to buy it.

    • Where are you getting all this wrong info, lol. Diesel gives better MPG but it is much more expensive here, which is why petrol Hiluxes are popular. Diesel cars cost the same as petrol cars to buy, with small differences. Petrol and diesel come from the same barrel of crude oil. Petrol will not finish before diesel, LOL!

  6. Here every thing is wrong no comparison for Gulf with rest of the world what we get here is rejected from all over the world.If diesel is expensive here doesn’t means it’s not better alternative. In rest of the world diesel cars are preferred over petrol speaks for itself.
    Petrol and diesel coming out of the same barrel doesn’t mean both will finish the same time or vice versa it depend on usage simple maths LOL!!

  7. Latest tweet from RTA confirms that there was a misunderstanding. Diesel cars can still be registered privately in Dubai.

    • So I was right! All this hassle because the info was not verified! Lesson learnt I hope.

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      Yes, initial wrong info from the source itself, it seems. Even testing centres were turning away new Defenders from registration. Hopefully they’ll get their act together now.

    • So I was right. Info was not verified and it doesn’t confirm.
      Mash, when I say to verify with RTA, I mean check with their Communication and PR Departmentment. Even a question on their Facebook page would have probably solved the mistery and make it an official answer. Callcenters are not reliable in general. If you want to stay a reliable source of info you got to do the background work and confirm the info, talk to the parties involved, before publishing.

      Banning diesel cars it’s a big thing. I was surprised to see this article without any solid fundament, because a big thing like this would have been generally communicated in media and a campaign would be carried out.
      Dubai would have been one of the few first cities in the world to apply such a rule and they would not make it a secret!

    • Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury Author

      It was clarified *because* we publicised it and we reported what was happening on the ground. They had even verified a ban on Twitter initially before backtracking and fixing their mistake.

    • I think Mr. Mitch works for RTA lol. The point of real journalism is to find out what is really happening and not what the PR department is saying. People were already being turned away from registration it seems, and RTA clarified now that it is public news.

    • No, I don’t work for RTA. I will explain why I said that info needs to be verified and confirmed. The story was not right from the beginning because:

      1. Banning diesel cars cannot be done overnight. You need a full on strategy in place and a campaign to inform the public. Also, as mentioned, it needs clarification if it refers to newly imported cars and/or also the already registered ones.

      2. You cannot ban all the diesel cars. Buses and big truck are only made with diesel engines. If a ban like this came into place, the economy will freeze. So it is not realistic to speak about a full ban on diesel cars anyway.

      3. Private owned diesel cars are not really a problem here in Dubai, because there are only few. On the other hand an old diesel truck is polluting a lot more than 5 brand new diesel cars that are manufactured by complying with the European laws on emissions. So it makes sense to have a restriction on old diesel cars not a general ban.

      4. Countries like Germany have a good rule when it comes to diesel. Every diesel car is graded based on the generation of the engine and how much is polluting. If it’s on old diesel car, that car is not allowed in city centers and a sticker with a certain color and no is applied on the windshield.

      My point is that all these aspects and others needed to be clarified before simply asking that “Diesel cars are now banned in Dubai?” simply because a couple of guys couldn’t register their Defenders.
      A source of info is obviously RTA, another one is the ppl that were turned down by RTA and a 3rd source that could have provide info are the car dealers that sell diesel vans and truck. These guys are usually well informed because it affects them directly and they register diesels every day.
      So, Mash, you could have used 3 different sources. As I said, Im providing you with feedback. It’s up to you if you want to accept it positively or not.

    • I think Mitch should become RTA source. He seems to work in RTA news department lol!!! Keeps wanting to cover up RTA mistake. Next he will say salik is amazing.

    • Mitch, did you even read the article. The news was not pulled out of air. All three sources are already mentioned. You were too lazy to make your own call after that. Do you even have a Defender? Trying to save RTA reputation.

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