Matt Greenop: Blowing smoke rings

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Changes to emissions laws in New Zealand have been a long time coming. Campaigns to dob in smoke-spewing old diesel vans over an 0800 phone line were a novel idea - but certainly didn't cut it.

Now we're going to have to prove on arrival that new and used imports are not toxic. It brings us in line with the Aussies, who will continue to lower C02 allowances as time ticks on.

We're sitting on a very old fleet in this country - I'm often met with ridicule from overseas motoring writers when they hear our average car is about 13.5 years old. They carry on like we're a third world nation driving rickety old A30s, but the message does ring true. We're bloody miles behind, and we need to catch up.

Meeting European emissions standards is vitally important, and as we're staring down the barrel of C02 limits on new cars in the next few years and the EU keeps on sharpening its already rather pointy pencil, it'll just get harder to catch up.

Some say this will add 1 per cent to the price of a used import. I'd be quite happy not choking to death on the exhaust gases from my own car.

This will of course impact on modified car fans; ripping a cat out of an exhuast is not going to help pass WoF muster. Probably time to swap that flame-spitting 2JZ turbo monster for a nice, green, Euro5 diesel.

The diesel revolution in Europe is a direct result of tough legislation around emissions, which has forced technological advances in building diesel engines.

It's likely that the only thing stopping a similar takeover of the passenger car market is that we're forced to pay evil Road User Charges.

These engines are extremely clean burning now - a far cry from the badly-tuned and unloved machines that fell foul of that 0800 campaign.

What do you think about changes to our emisson rules - are they going to be enough? Have your say

- NZ Herald

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