Petrol versus diesel

Motoring 2018-1-29
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Choosing a car is hard enough, without agonising over whether you should opt for a petrol or diesel engine. Check out this simple list of the pros and cons of each.

It’s the age-old question: should I go for petrol or diesel when buying my next car. Diesel was in the media a lot last year due to the growing concerns over air pollution, but it still has its place depending on your driving habits.

Below, we take a look at the pros and cons of petrol and diesel, so that you can make a more informed choice.

Driving experience

The way a car makes them feel when they’re driving it is a big deal for a lot of car owners, and shouldn’t be overlooked when making a decision.

Long or short drives

If you spend a lot of time driving, particularly on motorways, a diesel may be better suited to your driving habits. All diesel cars have a legal obligation to have a diesel particulate filter (DPF). This filter needs to be regularly flushed out to keep it in good working order, and the best way to do this is by regularly driving at high speeds for at least 30 minutes - perfect for motorway driving.

On the other hand, if most of your driving is around the city or in short sharp bursts, a petrol vehicle could be better for you and the environment.


When it comes to the cost of your next car, it’s not all about the price tag sitting in the window; there are numerous expenses to consider.

Purchase price

As a general rule, diesels are more expensive upfront than a petrol equivalent.


With a higher upfront cost, insurance is also usually more expensive for diesels.


This is where diesel owners tend to make some of their money back. Although petrol is generally cheaper at the pump, it delivers lower miles per gallon, meaning you get more bang for your buck with a diesel when it comes to fuel. This fuel efficiency is yet another reason why diesel cars are so well suited to long journeys and motorway driving.


In April last year, the government made changes to the cost of taxing a brand new car. Now, only zero-emissions cars are now free to tax. All others are taxed dependent on their CO2 emissions for the first year, and a blanket annual cost of £140 thereafter.

In April this year, there will be a further change to the taxing of new diesel vehicles. This change will mean that newly registered diesel cars will be treated as if they’re in the tax band above for the first year, unless they meet the requirements of the upcoming ‘Real Driving Emissions Stage 2’ (RDE2) tests.

All of these changes, of course, are only applicable to new cars, so if you’re buying used you won’t be affected.

Residual value

Historically, diesel cars held on to their re-sale value better than petrol alternatives, but with all the bad press this could change, so it’s one to watch.

Source: RAC

Hitachi Hints and Tips is intended to be informative and interesting. It does not constitute financial advice, and you should always do further research when making any financial decisions. All information was correct at date of publication.


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