Should I buy a petrol or diesel car?

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Should I buy a petrol or diesel car?

Should you choose a petrol or diesel model for your first car? There are certainly a lot of reasons to consider diesel over petrol: cheaper tax, better residual value and better fuel efficiency to name a few.

With fuel prices rising at a troubling rate and the costs of motoring for young drivers already very high, it’s not surprisingly that many new drivers are looking for the cheapest way to get on the road, but is diesel really the cheapest way?

Diesel fuel costs

Diesel costs more than petrol in the UK and although diesel is more efficient, it’ll take a lot of miles driving in a diesel car to make you any kind of impressive savings. Unless you plan to do in excess of 10,000 miles a year or intend to keep the same car for ages, petrol may actual work out as the cheaper option.


The generally superior efficiency of diesel cars means that they generally cost less to tax than their petrol-powered counterparts. A brand-new Fiat Punto 1.3 16v MultiJet Dualogic (diesel) costs £30 a year to tax. The petrol equivalent would cost you £135 a year. It’s a decent saving, but it’s not enough to allow most people to decide between petrol or diesel.


The differences in insurance costs for petrol or diesel versions of similar cars is negligible.

Diesel vs petrol servicing and upkeep costs

The servicing costs for diesel and petrol cars aren’t that different when you factor in the longer service intervals of diesels. There aren’t any big savings to be made here.


Eventually, you’re going to want to sell your car. Depreciation – the amount the value of your car naturally decreases during your ownership – can account for up to half of the total running costs of your car over a three-year period.

Diesels generally hold on to their value better than their petrol counterparts, especially at the moment. Due to ever-increasing fuel prices, people are looking for more economical ways to drive.

Environmental considerations

Diesels go for further on less fuel, that alone makes them better for the environment. If your diesel has a diesel particulate filter, then you’re considerably more eco-friendly than someone driving the petrol equivalent of your vehicle.

So I should by a diesel, right?

It’s a matter of personal preference; there’s no definitive answer to ‘petrol or diesel?’. Unless you’re planning on driving for more than 10,000 miles a year or keeping your car for a long time, you’re not going to make massive savings by driving a diesel. However, if you’re dedicated to eco-conscious motoring or just prefer diesels, there’s no reason not to drive one. Buy what you like.

Image via Images_of_Money@Flickr