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Diesel vs Petrol – Which Is Cheaper Over Time?

Since diesel cars first hit the market back in the 1980’s, they have largely been considered cheaper to run than petrol cars. Historically they boast better fuel economy and lower tax, however petrol cars are playing catch up. They now boast better, more fuel efficient engines every year. Coupled with cheaper petrol prices, are they catching up with diesel cars? You will pay a higher premium for a diesel car, so read our comparison below to make the right choice to suit your personal circumstances.

The Price of Fuel

cheapest fuel cfk

In the UK the price of fuel is a huge deciding factor when it comes to choosing a car. It is common knowledge that the price of of petrol is of course cheaper than that of diesel. The idea is that you re-coup the extra cost of fuel via savings made on fuel efficiency and overall vehicle life.

A diesel car will carry an additional price tag between £1,000 to £2,000 compared to it’s like for like petrol equivalent. The trouble is as petrol engines improve the time to make your money back is getting longer and longer. According to ‘Which?’, they claim that on average you will have to drive at least 11,000 miles each year to justify the initial outlay on a diesel car. Of course if you cover a lot of miles it almost makes diesel cars an obvious choice.

To be sure, use the Which? Petrol vs Diesel online calculator to help make your decision.

Residual Value

Generally speaking Diesel cars hold their money better and so you are likely to get more money when you decide to sell. A lot of this is down to the reputation that they’re cheaper to run and more reliable. They are of course taxcheaper to tax and people are attracted to their enhanced fuel economy.

That said, be cautious when choosing your fuel type, as this is changing every year. As mentioned above petrol vehicles are becoming ever more efficient and reliable. There will come a turning point where the attractiveness as a used car levels out between the two.

Tax, Servicing and Insurance

As a result of their enhanced efficiency, diesel cars produce less CO2 than their petrol counter parts which means they are cheaper to tax. When it comes to insurance this all depends on the type of car, engine size, value and driver age. Be sure to shop around for insurance deals before making any purchase.

As for servicing the price difference will barely be measurable. Just beware that major faults on diesel engines are more likely to be more expensive to repair.

Other Factors

There was a time when diesel engines were considered dirty, noisy and indiscreet technology. This has changed dramatically in recent years and manufacturers have completely transformed their image. On newer vehicles the diesel models are often just as quick and as smooth as their petrol equivalents. In some cases you may even struggle to tell the difference between them.

Are you looking to use your vehicle for towing purposes? Diesels have more torque in lower lower gears so if for example you want to tow a caravan, then a diesel may be the best option.

If you are still unsure which car may be right for you, take a look at our Buying a Used Car guide and our Top 5 Used Cars guide for additional help and tips.