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Petrol vs diesel – Which option is better for me?

Apr 16, 2019 | News

Car & Van Finance Direct use our motoring industry expertise to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of petrol and diesel vehicles.

Petrol vs diesel? Which should I choose?

Petrol or diesel? This is one of the first questions those searching for a new car or van should decide before they even get to make or model. Which of these you should opt for will depend on a number of factors including budget, circumstances and preferences.

Previous stereotypes about the two fuel types have become outdated, with it generally considered that diesels were less refined and cheaper to run, whilst petrol vehicles were more enjoyable to drive. Technology means that the difference between the fuels is less prominent than ever before.

Three factors which determine whether to opt for petrol or diesel

Car & Van Finance Direct believe that the choice between petrol and diesel is essentially down to three factors: fuel economy, running costs and driving preference.

Fuel economy

A petrol vehicle may offer up to 30% less fuel economy than a diesel counterpart, however it may still end up being cheaper to own a petrol vehicle. Not only does diesel cost more at the pumps, you’re also likely to be paying more in tax to run your diesel vehicle, with diesel vehicles moving up one tax band in 2019 for cars with identical carbon dioxide emissions.

Running costs

A much larger issue than that of fuel consumption when deciding between the two fuel types is that of running costs. These costs include all costs not relating to fuel such as servicing, insurance, purchase cost and depreciation, these can all vary between petrol and diesel versions of the same vehicle.

Diesel vehicles do tend to be more expensive to purchase and service than petrol alternatives, however the biggest factor in running costs is time. The biggest cost in vehicle ownership is that of depreciation, so resale values are a major factor in determining whether a petrol or diesel vehicle is best for you.

On the other hand, as a general rule of thumb, diesel vehicles are cheaper to insure; it is also true that the more miles you cover, the more likely you are to save money by opting for diesel.

Driving preferences

If you have a negative preconception of diesels based on something you drove a long time ago, then it may be time to reconsider, with technology and engineering advancements bringing petrol and diesel vehicles close together both in terms of refinement and performance.

Today’s diesel engines may be smoother than petrol engines, whilst they also develop maximum torque at lower revs so that you can change up the gears earlier. This can make manual gear changes a chore as they are more frequent, however automatic transmissions tend to work well with diesels as a rule of thumb.

One important factor to consider when opting for diesel is the use of diesel particulate filters (DPFs). These can cause a problem if you operate largely in town as a diet of low-speed urban driving can clog a DPF filter and these can be costly to repair or even replace.

So choice between the two is largely down to what you’ll be using the vehicle for and overall cost to run of the vehicle, with both petrol and diesel vehicles having their advantages and disadvantages.

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