Motorists could be inadvertently buying diesel vehicles that meet outdated emissions standards, the RAC has warned.
The latest diesel standards, known as Euro 6, were introduced from September 1, 2015, but the motoring organisation is concerned that motorists looking to buy these vehicles could end up with a Euro 5-compliant vehicle instead.
This is because Euro 5 cars manufactured before June 2015 could still be sold until September 2016 if the manufacturer applied for an exemption, meaning the registration plate and V5C document are not necessarily a reliable indicator of what emission standard the vehicle is.
Euro 6 vehicles are appealing to buyers because they will be exempt from any charging or restrictions local authorities might put in place to cut air pollution as part of the government’s Air Quality Plan.
RAC spokesman Rod Dennis says that this shows there is a strong argument for the government to provide an easy way for motorists to find out the emission standard of a vehicle by entering the number plate online.
He said: “Much greater transparency of Euro emissions information will also help inform drivers as to how polluting their car might be, and assist them when it comes to choosing their next one – as buyers start to select models with particular Euro categories to be more confident of avoiding potential future charges or restrictions.
“It may even act as a catalyst to encourage drivers to purchase an ultra-low emission vehicle.
“It is in the Government’s best interests to make accessing basic Euro emissions information as straightforward for the UK’s 38m drivers as possible.”
In response, a Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) spokesman said: “There’s a lot of mileage in the suggestion. The Department for Transport is at the forefront of this work, and DVLA has already been in discussions with manufacturers for some time on how they can share Euro status information to allow us to make it more accessible.”
Currently, the RAC recommends that owners check with the manufacturer directly if they’re unsure what emission standard their car meets.