Should you buy a Petrol or Diesel?

By: Alice Nicolson

Before you buy a car, one of the most important decisions you need to make is what kind of fuel your car takes. Fuel type is important, if you pick the wrong one, you could run into difficulties. There are pros and cons to both petrol and diesel, so make sure you know all the information before you start spending any of your well-earned cash.

If you’re wondering which type of engine will be better for you, look no further. We have all the information you need; from saving money to eco-friendliness, it’s all here.

Which one is cheaper – petrol or diesel?

This is tricky because a few factors go into the overall price of a car. Let’s start with the basics. Buying a new diesel car will cost more than buying a new petrol. For example, the diesel version of a Fiat 500 will cost you over £2000 more than a petrol engine. This is important information to know before you by a car.

Until April 2017, it costs less to tax a diesel because they emit less CO2. But after April, car tax is changing and all cars cost the same after the first year. So the amount of car tax you’ll pay depends on whether you’re buying the car before or after the tax changes and whether you’re buying it new or used.

CO2 emissions are directly connected to have many miles you get per gallon, so diesel engines tend to be more efficient. You could make your money back within the year, if you do a lot of miles. Diesels tend to be cheaper to insure, last longer and are in higher demand, so they usually have a higher resale price.

On the other side, petrol is usually cheaper than diesel at the pump. Even though diesel engines are more efficient, if you don’t do a lot of miles, a petrol engine might work out cheaper.

Is petrol or diesel better for my driving habits?

You might notice some types of cars, like some city cars, are only available in a petrol engine. This gives you a good indication of what kind of cars do best in certain situations.

Petrol cars are perfect for driving around town and doing short journeys. This is because diesel engines release a lot of pollutants (other than CO2). To combat this, diesel engines are fitted with a DPF filter. The filter needs to clean itself and regenerate, which it can only do when driven at high speeds for long periods of time.

If you had a diesel car and you were only doing short journeys, the DPF filter might not be able to clear itself and get blocked. So if you’re doing a lot of city driving and don’t get on the motorway much, a petrol car is the better option.

I’m looking for an environmentally friendly car, should I buy a petrol or a diesel?

Now, this is a bit tricky. A lot of people assume diesels are more environmentally friendly because they generally release less CO2 than a petrol.

However, diesels produce higher amounts of nitric oxide and nitric dioxide - especially at high temperatures. These chemicals cause pollution, are damaging to the environment and can cause respiratory problems in people. Diesels also produce more particulate matter, which is the amount of particles that hang in the air.

However, diesels release less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. So it’s not all about the petrol engine either.

If you’re really passionate about getting an eco-friendly car, check out cars like the Hyundai Ionqi, which won Green Car of the Year in 2016 thanks to its hybrid/electric technology.

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