Petrol vs Diesel: Which suits you better?
For many motorists it may not exactly be clear which between petrol or diesel-driven car is in fact better to buy. In all likelihood when trying to make this decision, the biggest priorities will be establishing what offers cheaper running costs and require fewer trips to the fuel pumps.
It’s a difficult choice as there are numerous aspects to be considered when picking between petrol and diesel. Here we’ll guide you through the advantages and disadvantages that go with the two different choices of engine.
One general fact to consider is that diesel is almost always more expensive at the pump than unleaded petrol.
Then again standard diesel engines are generally more efficient compared to standard petrol engines. On the other hand, the efficiency gap between these two engine types has shortened in recent times.
There are some distinct diesel engines right now which can return incredibly high fuel economy plus low CO2 emissions.
Examples include the 1.4-litre e-HDi which returns 83mpg on the Peugeot 208, plus a CO2 output of just 87g/km. Then there’s also the 88bhp 1.5-litre dCi diesel available on the Renault Clio and the Dacia Sandero. On both cars the diesel emits less than 100g/km (just 90g/km for the Clio) and both officially return over 70mpg.
Numerous other diesel engines around the current car market can brake under the 100g/km CO2 barrier, putting the vehicle under Band A for Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), also known as Road Tax. This makes Road Tax therefore free for the car owner.
But in the past few years certain manufacturers have delivered small and highly efficient petrol units which can deliver similar efficiency and equally low running costs.
Distinct, award-winning examples include the Fiat 0.9-litre TwinAir engine, available for models like the Fiat 500. Another major example is the Ford 1.0-litre Ecoboost which has made a name for itself in the Ford Focus range.
Delving into the petrol and diesel car debate further, it has been generally found that petrol cars tend to be cheaper then diesel when first buying. However there sales have been frequently close to parity over the last six years.
Furthermore, past research has suggested that diesel cars will generally retain their residual value better than petrol cars.
A traditional argument which has been used by multiple motoring groups in the past is that diesels are likely to be more efficient yet also more expensive to run. This meant that if you didn’t cover enough miles you didn’t reap the rewards of the improved fuel economy. Some estimates online indicate a figure of 20,000-40,000 miles to recoup the initial outlay for a diesel engine.
Nowadays, petrol engines have been improved by manufacturers to the point where they aren’t that far behind diesels in terms of fuel economy anyway. The Fiat 500 TwinAir and Ford Focus Ecoboost mentioned previously can return up to 72mpg and 60mpg respectively on official fuel cycles.
In similar fashion, however, diesel engines are more refined than ever and tend to be paired with turbochargers. That means they can be as powerful as petrol engines.
Both petrol and diesel engines clearly carry their own strengths, but it is difficult to identify one type of engines as the clear winner. The answer to whether you pick petrol or diesel when buying a car really depends on what specific criteria you prioritise.
Make sure you establish what areas matter to you the most before buying to give yourself a better chance to find the right deal.