Diesel is not popular right now. In fact, it's so not popular (due to emissions concerns) that a British think tank is recommending that Her Majesty's Treasury increase the road tax on new diesel models by 800 pounds ($1,152 US at today's rates). That's a tremendous increase over today's vehicle excise duties, which are based entirely on CO2 emissions.

The report comes from the Policy Exchange. According to Autocar, the VED increase would be part of a push to get drivers out of diesels and into the latest generation of super-clean petrol, hybrid, and electric vehicles. Assuming it led to a 50-percent drop in diesel sales, the tax increase would generate up to 500 million pounds ($720 million) in extra revenue for HM Treasury.

"Air pollution is overwhelmingly a diesel problem. The CO2 advantage of diesels has now been eliminated with data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders showing that, in 2013, CO2 emissions from new petrol cars were lower than those of diesel cars (on a sales-weighted basis)," Policy Exchange's Head of Environment and Energy Richard Howard said.

Howard goes on to explain that even the upcoming Euro 6 compliant diesels are easily bested in terms of emissions by modern gas engines. According to Autocar, the study goes on to suggest a diesel scrappage campaign to accelerate the switch to petrol, electric, and hybrid vehicles.

While it's unclear if such a road tax increase would gain traction with the British Department of Transport, Policy Exchange's suggestion is yet another sign of the increasing backlash against diesel power.

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