Volvo UK has launched an 'Emissions Equality' movement which hopes to persuade UK car buyers to think "about a car’s complete emissions picture, rather than just CO2 in isolation".
The Chinese owned Swedish company is suggesting the adoption of a classification scheme for new and used cars that details an engine's emissions of nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and particulates as well as CO2. Unlike carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and particulates are dangerous to humans.
This information is obtained by Government databases for all cars sold in the UK ever since 2001. Volvo is also releasing an application for phones and computers which aim to give drivers access to this "total emissions information". The classification scheme is similar to the one in the U.S, which gives a score from 1-10 for both a car’s "Greenhouse Gas" and "Air pollution" emissions.
Volvo's campaign comes in the wake of threats by the EU to charge fines of up to £300m on the UK because of poor air quality, in particular London which has the poorest air quality of any major European city.
According to Professor Frank Kelly of Kings College, London there are 4,300 early deaths in London every year, and 50,000 across the UK, as a result of air pollution, of which 70% comes from road transport. Professor Kelly says that the lungs of children in inner city areas are particularly vulnerable to roadside particulate pollution, which is generated almost entirely by diesel traffic.