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Europe car sales: share of diesel engines 2014-2018, by country

Ireland was the European country with the largest share of diesel cars. Although the share of diesel car sale shares in Ireland was quite high in 2018, that number has dropped significantly since 2014 from 73 percent to 54 percent. In comparison, Italy has only seen a decrease from 55 percent to 51 percent in the same timeframe. The overall reduction in diesel car sales is unsurprising given the 2015 diesel scandal and subsequent discussions surrounding health and environmental impacts of the fuel type.

 Volvo sells most diesel cars

  The greatest share of new passenger cars fitted with a diesel engine were sold by Volvo. In 2018, around six out of ten cars sold by the Swedish carmaker in Europe were reliant on diesel fuel. This figure follows a substantial change from 2014 in which 90 percent of Volvo passenger car sales in Europe were diesel.

 Diesel pollution worse than petrol

  The diesel scandal uncovered that amounts of the air pollutant nitrogen oxide (NOx) released by diesel cars were in fact exorbitantly higher than testing previously suggested. This was due to software installed by carmakers masking actual emission figures. Diesel pollution would cost taxpayers nearly 56 billion euros in health and non-health related expenses. This was more than five times the amount of petrol pollution costs.

Percentage share of new passenger cars in Europe with diesel engines in 2014 and 2018, by country*

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Release date

December 2019



Survey time period

2014 and 2018

Supplementary notes

* Includes Switzerland, Norway, Turkey and Iceland.

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Statistics on "Diesel vehicles in Italy "

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