Diesel vs Petrol: which car to buy?

    If you’ve been looking for cars for sale in the UK, you’re probably currently trying to figure out whether it’s still a good idea to buy a diesel. There was a time that it was the dominant fuel in the UK, now it’s only about 5% of the UK car market according to the SMMT [ https://www.smmt.co.uk/ ]. It seems diesel’s days are numbered, and that’s before internal combustion goes officially out of fashion at the end of the decade.

    But while electric cars look like the future, right now they don’t suit everyone. They’re expensive, they need recharging more often than conventional cars need refuelling. So for many buyers any new car purchase still comes down to the choice between petrol and diesel. Let’s run through the pros and cons.

    Diesel pros:

    • Great for long distances – diesel may be considered the fuel of the devil these days, but it still delivers pretty much unbeatable long-distance fuel economy. So if you need to go far as efficiently as possible, don’t write it off just yet.
    • Torquey driving experience – another key characteristic of diesel engines is that they typically produce lots of torque (pulling power) from low revs. This makes them feel responsive and nippy for very little effort. Makes for a great tow-vehicle, too.
    • CO2 emissions are lower – something that seems to have been forgotten about diesel is that they generate fewer carbon dioxide emissions than other kinds of fuel. In this respect, diesel is actually good for the environment…

    Diesel cons:- 

    • Particular emissions are higher – while diesel may be good for keeping CO2 emissions down, it’s bad for harmful particulate emissions, the stuff that is directly linked to killing people. These days modern technology reduces this massively, but older diesels are pretty nasty
    • Diesel cars cost more – modern diesel technology is expensive. This makes diesel cars more expensive, too, at least when buying new. Keep this in mind, because you’ll need to travel tens of thousands of miles before the mpg makes up the difference
    • There are other running costs – to make modern diesel tech work, you need to keep the AdBlue tank topped up. You also need to take good care of your particulate filter, as these are very pricey to replace if they break. That fuel economy better be really good, eh?

    Petrol pros:

    • Petrol costs less per litre – contributing to the distance you need to drive before a more expensive diesel car breaks even with a cheaper petrol model is the reality that petrol costs less per litre. Not that any type of fuel is cheap these days.
    • Petrol is smoother to drive – modern diesels are impressive, for sure, but petrol combustion is naturally smoother. This makes for less vibration and faster revving. Which makes petrol cars more comfortable and typically more favoured by enthusiastic drivers, too.
    • Short distance efficiency is better – if you do lots of short journeys, a petrol engine makes more sense than a diesel. They warm up faster, so they’re more efficient around town, and only the very latest ones have particular filters to get clogged.

    Petrol cons:

    • Long distance efficiency is worse – if you’re a long-distance driver, diesel is still the king, which obviously means that petrol is the second-best choice. Motorway mile munching is best done with the black pump rather than the green one.
    • Driving fast is harder work – diesel torque makes for a relaxed driving experience. By contrast, many petrol engines require plenty of revs to make swift progress. Some might call this fun, however, and modern turbo petrol motors make up the muscle deficit easily.

    Internal combustion is still bad for the environment – petrol may generate fewer harmful particulate emissions, but it does typically generate more CO2. There’s simply no getting away from the fact that fossil fuels aren’t as clean in motion as electric vehicle technology.

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