Latest Reader Question: Diesels and Hay Fever (May 6, 2018)

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Nasir asks: I have one for you – want to know if you have any idea/view about this. The other day, I was listing to a radio talk show while driving, and something new was being blamed on my dear car which I had never heard before. Apparently, the pollution from cars, particularly diesels (all diesels, even the new ultra clean Euro 6 ones we have here) causes hay fever! Yes… you heard it.

I’ve suffered from quite bad hay fever my whole life but never heard this before. Also, it only flares up in the spring and late autumn (in sync with certain types of pollen here in the UK). It has gotten worse for the past few years, but Im assuming it’s because I’ve moved from Central London to Surrey (lots more greenery around) some years ago. The view being pushed on the radio however was that its because pollution in and around London has gotten much worse over the years, and of course that the government should speed up banning all non-electric cars. Have you heard this before? And have they started blaming hay fever on cars in the U.S. yet?

My reply: Hi Nasir! Yes, this is a new one – for me, at any rate. But I am not surprised in the least. Demonizing diesel engines is necessary because they make economic and functional sense and are therefore a real threat to the Electric Car Putsch under way. After all, what normal person – in the sense that said person is concerned about economics and practicality – would spend $35,000 on an electric car that goes maybe 150-200 miles on a charge before requiring a 45 minute (best case) recharge (to 80 percent range) when they could spend $23k or so on a diesel-powered sedan of the same general type but which can travel 600-plus miles on a tankful and refuel to 100 percent in less than 5 minutes?

I doubt electric cars will ever be able to match the economic and functional sensibility of diesel-powered cars. Therefore, diesel-powered cars must be demonized. Their emissions output must be grossly exaggerated and also the effect of those emissions on air quality/public health.

This smear campaign has been very effective, for several reasons. One, the media hystericizes the problem, purveying the grossly misleading propaganda about diesel emissions and the effect on public health. Two, the average person doesn’t question any of this and so does not grok that – with regard to modern diesels – we are talking about fractional emissions vs. whole number emissions (in the long-ago past) and accepts at face value gratuitous assertions about supposed ill health effects. VW was crucified over exactly this. Not one actual victim was produced. Instead, “studies” were introduced into evidence claiming that postulated (but not actual) victims were harmed.

It’s disgusting, really. Especially given that diesels solve the problem. They are affordable, practical, highly efficient and do not pollute.

But it’s electric cars uber alles. 


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  1. I was in Denver this weekend to take advantage of the excellent bicycle path network and watch the film “Little Pink House.” By the end of my Saturday ride I got into a coughing fit. I’ve had situations where the Denver brown cloud (temperature inversion induced pollution) would cause this but generally that only happens in the wintertime under somewhat specific conditions.

    The population of Denver is exploding. There’s traffic just about all the time now, and any vacant land is being utilized. I have no real problem with this, aside from it’s all bubble induced. But it seems the agenda21 crowd who’s pushing people, millennials especially, into the city is causing the air pollution issues. I’ll bet out here in the wide open western slope there’s more diesels per capita than in Denver, yet the air is much cleaner. And I’ll bet because we’re not sitting in traffic all day we don’t use much more fuel either.

    People like to s*** on the suburbs and rural areas because they’re inefficient. But they’re also pretty good at disbursing the waste products of modern society too.

  2. Thanks Eric – yeh thought its more nonsense. What I find amazing is how nobody actually uses their own faculties to think about things and question them anymore, specifically when they are pushed by the media….. In this instance it seemed extremely obvious it was nonsense (unless everyone starts driving their diesels much more in the spring causing everyones hay fever flares up).


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