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Should I still buy a diesel car?Back

DieselThe Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders published the latest figures showing March was a record month for car sales and a record century with nearly half a million new cars sold. However, buyers are starting to avoid buying new diesel cars, with figures revealing a 4 per cent rise in sales of petrol cars.

For the past decade, drivers have always been encouraged to switch to diesel cars due to their lower CO2 emissions. Furthermore, from 2011 diesel cars began to outsell their unleaded counterparts on an annual basis. So, what’s changed?

Recent reports have revealed that diesel cars are more harmful to the environment due to nitrogen dioxide emissions, which has led some local councils to charge diesel drivers through a parking permit system. As the debate continue

Cost

Diesel cars will cost the average buyer around £1500 more to purchase than its petrol equivalent. However, the idea is that the initial cost will be eventually recouped due to the diesel car’s better fuel efficiency. However, recent figures suggest owners may need to drive as much as 45,000 miles first before they would make a saving.

Buying second-hand

Second-hand diesel cars are more attractive to buyers because of their reputation for offering better fuel economy and a lower road tax rates due to their lower CO2 emissions. In addition, buyers often perceive diesel cars to be more reliable than petrol ones. Diesel cars also retain more of their value at resale.

Servicing

Despite servicing costs for diesel cars tending to be lower due to longer service intervals, the cost of parts is usually higher than petrol cars.

Performance

The perception that diesel cars are slower and noisier than petrol cars has been changed in recent years thanks to a new generation of turbo engines that have proved to be a successful match for their petrol counterparts when it comes to performance, smoothness and noise levels. Diesel engines also have the advantage of producing higher torque at lower speeds which is good for overtaking.

Fuel

Unlike years ago, diesel is no longer the cheaper fuel at the pumps – petrol companies and the government have taken advantage in recent years of the growing popularity of diesel cars and their ‘cleaner’ emissions, and petrol is currently around 2 pence per litre cheaper at the pump.

MileageMileage

Diesel cars always come up trumps here – in general you’ll get at least 15-20% more miles per gallon in a diesel car than in a petrol one, although some petrol cars are starting to catch up by using smaller, more efficient turbo-charged engines.

Environmental impact

Diesel cars have always had the advantage of being more fuel efficient meaning their CO2 emissions are around 20% lower than petrol cars, however, diesel cars do produce nitrogen dioxide emissions which has recently been linked to breathing disorders such as asthma and other health-related issues. Manufacturers are trying to tackle the issue by fitted by fitting vehicles with particle filters and catalytic convertors, but this has caused some reliability issues with certain models.

Road tax

Diesel car’s lower CO2 emissions mean that road tax is lower than in petrol cars.

Our verdict

There is currently no right or wrong answer as to whether a diesel or petrol car is the better choice for motorists. Both types of car offer unique advantages such as diesel’s superior fuel consumption, and the cheaper price of petrol cars, which is attractive to buyers who mainly travel short distances. However, with the gap continuing to narrow all the time, in the future, motorist’s decisions may just boil down to personal preference.

Posted by Leana Kell on 10/04/2015