Diesel particles galore: Bulgaria and its 3.44 million vehicles

Written by on January 10, 2018 in Bulgaria - Comments Off on Diesel particles galore: Bulgaria and its 3.44 million vehicles

These days, Bulgaria has visitors, many of whom are VIPs. There will be so many EU Commissioners and heads of governments. The problem is that all of them have to be driven from A to B, from B to C, and back to A and B all the time.

Since VIPs are not known to like old rusty Ladas built in 1972, they are being driven in rather expensive vehicles. For that purpose, Bulgaria has rented 80 new cars, among them 40 limousines and 40 mini buses.

For some EU Council Presidency guests, those who can not rely on any VIP status, Bulgaria decided to become a good example. As many as 15 electric cars and drivers were hired from Renault Nissan Bulgaria, according to the Bulgarian-language publication Dnevnik. Three new charging stations were even installed for all those airport transfers.

But most of the vehicles driven in Bulgaria are non-electric. In fact, out of a total of 3.44 million vehicles in the country only 384 are purely electric, not counting the 3487 hybrid cars registered. There are some Teslas, some e-Renaults, e-Mitsubishis, a hand full of e-BMWs and a few e-cars of more exotic brands.

Dnevnik reports that last year, 39,094 new cars were purchased in Bulgaria, but 200,000 vehicles which were more than 10 years old. Out of all vehicles in the country, 1.34 million are more than 20 years old. So are their engines. And engines of that age, especially Diesel engines, are dirty and stinky like hell.

Part of the catastrophic air quality in Sofia and other cities measured over the weekend and on Monday, until the wind blew some of it away, is being produced by those vehicles. A total of 1.2 million cars, trucks and buses in Bulgaria run on Diesel, which is bad news.

While Sofia has started replacing some of the very oldest city buses, that measure can only be a drop in the bucket. At the same time, starting the process of replacing all those rolling scrap heaps is the right thing to do. A total of 21,000 buses are in service in Bulgaria, and far too many of them spread a lot of Diesel particles with their ancient engines.

What propane and methane-powered cars are concerned, their official number in Bulgaria is 171,338. But these are only the ones which were propane and methane-powered when they were first registered, meaning there are more gas-powered cars, which were converted.

Increasing the number of electric vehicles in Bulgaria will most likely take ages, since the market is small and the country is mostly poor. Tesla, the Californian manufacturer of electric cars, has not even bothered to open the only “Supercharger” station announced in Bulgaria yet, simply because they have hardly sold any vehicles to this country. Sure, a few Model S sedans and at least one Model X have been seen in Sofia, but a few do not seem to justify that investment.

Rich Bulgarians seem to prefer non-electric vehicles anyway. Bulgarian National Radio reported, 3852 new luxury vehicles had been registered in 2017, which amounts to some ten percent of all new cars.

All in all, the vehicles driven in Bulgaria will spread a lot of Diesel particles and other dangerous pollutants for a long time. It will probably take decades until the average Bulgarian can afford modern, ecofriendly cars.

 

Bulgaria: Registrations of new cars skyrocket

 

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