A simples guide

Should I get a diesel or petrol car?

Choices, choices, there are just so many cars to choose from, it’s a bit like deciding what shoes to wear. Flat shoes are practical and you can walk further in them but heels are just so much more exciting but probably only good if you’re not going very far. Deciding whether to get a diesel or petrol car is much the same as the flats vs heels dilemma so if you’re stuck on what to choose, this is the article for you.

Which is better, petrol or diesel?

Neither one is better than the other as such, and each has their own set of advantages and disadvantages. What’s right for you will depend on how many miles you drive and where you tend to drive them.

Some cars are traditionally diesel such as 4x4s – diesels tend to be better at low torque meaning you can tow more efficiently and be quicker off the mark. Most other car models are available in both petrol or diesel options.

Diesel cars are usually the better option if you drive more than 12,000 miles mainly on motorways. By law, diesel cars need a ‘diesel particulate filter’ or DPF – this is to catch all the emission nasties in diesel. The DPF is self-cleaning but in order for it to do so, your car needs to be run for longish periods at high speeds. If the filter doesn’t get cleared and becomes blocked, it can be very expensive to repair.

Diesel cars are more fuel efficient but as a general rule diesel fuel is slightly more expensive, although this has fluctuated in recent months as diesel has been seen to fall below the cost of petrol. Considering the cost of diesel, the number of miles and fuel efficiency, you could recoup about £1,000 in a year or so with your diesel car. But if you drive less than 12,000 miles a year then it’ll take you far longer to make any savings. Petrol cars on the other hand are good for pootling around town and if you’re going to be driving less than 12,000 miles a year.

Pros and cons of diesel

Diesel cars produce less CO2 – which is handy because this is what UK road tax is based on, as a result, many diesel cars will cost less to tax annually. But if it’s the environment you’re worried about, whilst diesel spews out less CO2, it does produce other pollutants some of which have been linked to breathing problems such as asthma.

The resale value on diesel cars tends to be higher than that of petrol cars (sometimes as much as 10%) so if depreciation is your main concern then perhaps a diesel’s worth considering. But the downside of this, is that your diesel car will probably cost you more to start with.

Diesel is often touted as being far more fuel efficient than their petrol equivalents but some ‘real world’ tests have shown that actually, the results can be pretty close. So if really can’t decide between petrol or diesel, this could be worth some investigating.

Poor old diesel has historically had a bad reputation when it comes to noise. And perhaps once upon a time they did used to clang and rattle alarmingly but technology’s a wonderful thing and this isn’t necessarily the case now so don’t let this put you off.

Pros and cons of petrol

Petrol engines produce more CO2 than diesel so your annual road tax may be higher than for a diesel car. On the flip side though, petrol cars produce far less particulates and oxides of Nitrogen (or NOx) which is the stuff that has been linked to asthma.

Petrol cars are usually cheaper than diesels but their resale value isn’t as high. Petrol may cost you slightly less than diesel but a petrol engine isn’t as efficient as a diesel so you’ll burn more fuel, quicker. Petrol engines can be quiete than diesels but a lot of this will depend on the age and model of the car.

Insure your car whatever it drinks

Diesel car insurance and petrol car insurance may differ depending on the insurer so it’s worth checking before you make that final decision. But to make life just that little bit easier, we’ve brought the insurers to you – over a hundred of them in fact, so start comparing the market today to find the right insurance for your needs.

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