Recently there has been a lot of bad publicity when it comes to diesel cars, stemmed from the VW emissions scandal, where it was revealed that some cars were producing more emissions in real world testing than they had done previously in lab testing. However, this affects old models, not the newer ones.
Previously, it was more common to choose a diesel engine, as they produced less CO2 than petrol, and therefore road tax cost less and there were fewer environmental concerns, although diesel engines produce more NO2, which is worse for human health and can produce acid rain and smog. Modern diesel cars do however feature new technologies to minimise environmental effects e.g filters that reduce the number of particles emitted from the exhaust. A new clean air zone policy means that many cities and towns across the UK are going to start charging higher emission engines, particularly concerning older diesel engines, to drive through them, this however is not going to come into place until 2020.
Diesel cars cost more to buy initially, although they are more efficient to run, so could save money in the long run, this is more appropriate for those who do a lot of long distance driving, as with current fuel prices, you’d have to drive 38,000 miles to break even. Low mileage drivers could save money by buying a cheaper petrol car as they may not have the car long enough, or drive enough distance to take advantage of the fuel savings. When it comes to tax and insurance, in the modern day, there is not much difference in price between the two whilst servicing costs are the same.
Diesel and petrol engines both have different driving qualities, diesels provide a stronger pulling power with less revs, this helps them to feel more relaxing to drive as you require fewer downshifts to generate relevant acceleration, petrol require a higher amount of revs in order to achieve the same performance. This means diesel cars make towing and overtaking a lot easier.
Overall, when considering which engine type to choose, it all comes down to what you want to use your car for, if you generate a higher annual mileage, tow regularly, or often carry passengers, then a diesel car might be the answer. However, if you do a lot of town/city driving and short journeys, then a petrol car might be the one for you.
* All vehicle images and car descriptions on this site are for illustration and reference purposes only and are not necessarily an accurate representation of the vehicle on offer.
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