Petrol vs diesel: which is better?

Choosing between petrol or diesel cars

With different stories flying around about fuel types, deciding whether your next car will be petrol or diesel can be confusing. The government were aiming to get diesel cars off the road, then they weren’t. Diesel has traditionally been perceived as being the cheaper option if you’re doing the miles; now, thanks to improved technology, that’s not so much the case. So what should you believe and how do you make the decision? We look at the facts around the diesel vs petrol difference.

Fuel economy

How much more economical is diesel than petrol? Well, diesel cars can deliver up to 8mpg more than petrol, and it still holds true that the more miles you do, the more you’ll save. However, petrol cars may still prove cheaper to run over three years.

Since the change in car taxation in 2017, drivers will pay a standard rate of £140 per year from the second year of ownership. With diesel cars being more expensive to buy, that cost is recouped slower than it would have been when cars were taxed based on their CO2 emissions (diesels have lower emissions than petrols). That means that despite potential savings in fuel economy, you could still be paying more in the long run.

Driving style

What about the petrol engine vs diesel engine comparison? Previous diesel drivers may have a poor perception of diesels due to their performance or refinement, but advances in engineering have closed the gap between the fuel types.

Today’s diesels not only develop maximum torque at lower revs, enabling you to change gears quicker, they can often be smoother than petrol engines too.

That said, you need to be driving on the motorways at regular intervals to really benefit from a diesel engine. The diesel particulate filters fitted on modern vehicles can clog if you don’t often drive at speeds of 50mph or more, and it’s a costly fix. So unless you’re using the motorways, opt for petrol.

Running costs and resale values

Cars manufactured before 1 April 2017 (those to which the tax changes don’t apply) generally retain their value better than their petrol counterparts. New models, however, don’t benefit from this and with some cities introducing measures that penalise older diesels, they are less likely to hold their value. Diesels also tend to be cheaper to insure, so savings can be made there by opting for diesel.

In a nutshell

In summary, the diesel vs petrol difference is becoming smaller. If you cover many miles, use the motorways a lot and choose a pre-2017 car, a diesel is a good option. If, however, you mostly drive around town and want to spend a little less in long-term running costs, petrol is the way to go.

Used petrol and diesel cars

At our locations in Harlow, Dunstable and Maidstone, Carwise Group has a range of petrol and diesel cars available. Our friendly team can help you identify the best fuel type for you and a model to suit. To book a test drive or discuss your requirements, contact us today.