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Petrol or Diesel car - which should I choose?

Chloe Martell profile

Chloe Martell

January 2, 2019

Owning a car 5 min read

When it comes to choosing a car, one of the decisions you’ll face is ‘should I buy a petrol or a diesel car?’ – And it’s a pretty valid question! After a lot of bad press recently around diesel cars on things like higher taxation and new charges being introduced, it can be a pretty confusing decision to make on which type of car to choose.

If you’re new on the roads, it’s unlikely that you’ll know all the pros and cons of each to help you make up your mind, so we’re here to help!

There are a few things you need to ask yourself before making the decision, or at least, things to consider. The main 3 are:



We all want to save money, but will a diesel or petrol car cost you less?


Which type of car is the best to drive with the environment in mind?

Car use

Depending on how you plan to spend time in your motor, which car will be the best?

We’ve pulled together the pros and cons of each – to help you when it comes to choosing your next car!


Petrol pros

Money: Petrol is cheaper to buy than diesel fuel. Petrol cars also tend to be slightly cheaper to buy and to service!

Environment: CO2 emissions in petrol cars are higher than a diesel, however, they give off less dangerous emissions like nitrogen.

Petrol cons

Money: Petrol engines aren’t as efficient as diesel and will use more fuel.

Environment: Petrol cars emit more CO2 emissions than diesel cars, which eat away at the ozone layer.

Diesel pros

Money: Diesel engines are more efficient, and use less fuel to run.

Environment: Lower CO2 means lower tax (for diesel cars made before April 2017). Newer diesel cars have a Euro 6 diesel cars (made after April 2017) mean the tax is likely to be higher than a petrol, however, it is the cleanest diesel engine ever produced.

Diesel cons

Money: Diesel cars cost more to buy than petrol. Diesel fuel is more expensive, and servicing will also likely cost more. New charges such as the London T-Charge mean it can be more expensive to drive diesel cars in certain areas.

Environment: Even though diesel cars have lower CO2 emissions, diesel fuel has more dangerous emissions which affect not only the environment but our health, such as Ozone which can decrease lung function, and Nitrogen oxides which are associated with increased deaths from heart and lung disease.

What about my style of driving?

If you look at pure running costs of both petrol and diesel cars, diesel will cost you less. However, because diesel fuel costs more than petrol, for this to be the case, you will have to have high annual mileage and spend a lot of time of motorways to make the most of your money.

If your time spent behind the wheel will be nipping in and around town, and you have generally low mileage, then diesel may not be your best bet. A small, petrol car will likely be more suited for you. Not only will it likely cost you less to buy, but it will also cost you less to run!


The cost of fuel

The cost of petrol or diesel changes, depending on where you are in the country, and the garage you go to! Head over to Petrol Prices before filling up your car, to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.

What about electric and hybrid cars?

Electric and hybrid cars are on the rise, and this will likely have an impact on the cost of buying petrol and diesel cars in the future, especially since the government plan to ban the sale of diesel and petrol cars by 2040. It’s worth occasionally checking how this affects traditional car prices, and if an electric or hybrid car is the one for you.

If you’re in the market for a new car, why not look at our brand new cars on finance? Many of them even come with free insurance – another great way to cut costs!

Chloe Martell profile

By Chloe Martell

'As a new driver, I'm so eager to share my driving journey with you all - from when I was a learner, going through my test and all the aspects of my driving life now, including my love of cars!'  See more posts by Chloe

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