Can Construction Survive Without Diesel?

23 February 2023

The big topic now is how will the industry transition away from Diesel. With the government pushing for new greener practices, a lot of pressure has fell on the construction industry to make changes. Research shows that the construction sector contributes to 23% of air pollution, 50% of climatic change, 40% of drinking water pollution and 50% of landfill wastes.

Therefore, we know that it is only a matter of time before legislation calls for an end to diesel machinery, but can we actually continue to work as we do without it? Whilst the construction industry may have current alternatives, we still see a large portion of sites relying on heavy diesel usage.

So, what does the future hold? Let’s look.

Will Diesel be phased out in the UK?

Yes, although not just yet. The government has put forward the plan to phase out diesel in 2030. This means no new diesel vehicles will be sold past this date and hybrids will be stopped by 2035 as well. However, hybrids will only be able to be sold past 2030 if they can cover a significant distance in zero-emission mode. A parameter that has not been clarified yet. 

This means that we will eventually see diesel cars only existing on the second-hand market. However, for construction vehicles we are still unsure on how long they will be able to use diesel for. Considering the red diesel ban that hit the industry in 2022, we know that it will eventually happen.

The industry is making progress in the electric market, and big brands such as JCB have been creating new electric vehicles that are just as good as their other models, but since electric vehicles are fairly new, the price is still pretty high. We don’t have the same level of second-hand availability as diesel vehicles.

Why was red diesel banned?

As part of the government initiative to move towards a zero-emission future in 2050, they decided to move away from red diesel. Meaning the construction industry had to use white diesel and incur the same costs as everyone else.

Red diesel is not entirely banned, agricultural machinery can still use it, trains can still use it, and a variety of other vehicles, but for the construction sector it is now illegal to use red diesel.

Can solar power replace diesel?

Yes, but we still have a way to go. As batteries get better, and solar generation becomes better, machines have a longer charge time and performance level that rivals that of diesel. We have access to a large fleet of available green machinery and eco friendly options ready to go. If you want to try out machines before you commit to them, hiring them out for a job can be a good option.

From solar generators to electric excavators, we can supply your next job with a zero-emission fleet of tools and vehicles to create a better working environment for our future.