Diesel or petrol? It’s probably the first question car buyers should determine before anything else. Which is better will depend on your circumstances, budget, and preferences. Let’s look at the three factors you need to consider when deciding between a petrol or diesel car.
A petrol car could deliver as much as 30% less fuel economy than its diesel counterpart, but it may be cheaper to own in the long-run.
Running costs tend to be a far larger matter than fuel consumption. These are the costs such as insurance, servicing, purchase price, and, of course, depreciation. All of these factors can vary considerably between diesel and petrol versions of the exact same car. Cars that are powered by diesel are typically more expensive to buy and service than the same car in a petrol version. However, ‘diesel premium’ reduces as cars get bigger. One of the most influential factors when it comes to running costs is time. Depreciation is no doubt the biggest cost in car ownership, so resale value will play a massive role in deciding whether to purchase a diesel or petrol vehicle. Fortunately, diesel vehicles are usually cheaper to insure and tax, and the more miles you cover, the more likely you are to save money with a diesel.
If you already have a negative opinion of diesel cars based on one you drove maybe five or ten years ago, it’s time to rethink your opinion. Engineering advances have finally blurred the line between diesel and petrol, in both refinement and performance. A diesel can develop maximum torque – that “push” you need to pick up speed – at much lower engine revs. This means you can change up through the gears earlier on. Such a narrow power band can render manual gear changes somewhat of a bore, but modern automatic vehicles work extremely well with diesel engines. Furthermore, today’s diesel engines are a lot smoother than their petrol counterparts, particularly the two and three-cylinder petrol units that seem to be a popular choice for manufacturers who want to boost fuel efficiency. Good diesel engines are about 35% efficient, whereas petrol cars are around 27%. However, companies like Mazda have been closing the gap by manufacturing petrol engines with a diesel-type torque, and also diesel engines with a petrol-like response. Today’s petrol engines are becoming lighter, smaller, and far more efficient without losing out on performance. An important factor to consider when choosing a diesel vehicle is the increase in the use of diesel particulate filters, or DPFs. With mixed driving, the filters are fine, but if you tend to drive around town the most, you may want to think twice before buying a DPF-equipped vehicle. Low-speed urban motoring tends to clog the filters.
Still Not Sure Which Car to Pick?
If your still on the fence, this video should help you with a little more information on the subject. Deciding which fuel type car will be most cost-efficient for you over time isn’t the easiest decision. Be sure to do your research first: there are plenty of sites where you can check out running costs for specific makes and models. To make things more complicated, or maybe more simple, check in soon for my post on Electric Cars and how they are bringing the future into the present.