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Should I Get Diesel Or Unleaded Car?

Last Updated: 10th May 2017
Should I Get Diesel Or Unleaded Car?

10th May 2017

When it comes to choosing a car, the fuel it runs on is one of the first things you decide on. For years it was easy to decide. If you travelled a high amount of miles over the year, a diesel car was the better choice because it delivered better fuel economy and lower car tax. Petrol was more suitable for driving around towns, cities and shorter distances.

But is that all still the case?

Same model, different fuel, different price?

It is common whether you are getting a brand new car or a used car for diesel-powered cars to have a premium on top when compared to the petrol model with the same specifications. This may seem unfair that you have to pay more for a diesel engine than you do for a petrol engine, but it remains entirely dependent upon if you earn that premium back through the car’s running costs.

The price of fuel

Until recently, petrol was the cheaper fuel at the pump. This meant that if you didn’t drive huge amounts, you didn’t spend a lot and therefore saved money on a monthly basis thanks to your fuel bill. Diesel was always the more expensive fuel.

However, there have been times in the past couple of years, where diesel has actually cost less than petrol at the pump and currently they have levelled out.

Fuel economy

Fuel economy has become more of a priority for drivers in recent years for obvious reasons. Diesel cars usually deliver better fuel economy, therefore the more miles you do throughout the year, the more you save. This is particularly helpful if you drive a lot of miles in a year.

However, if you are one of those people who cover less than 10,000 miles a year like the majority of people now do, a diesel car might not be the best choice.  The average mileage for a year is now 8,707, so with that in mind, a petrol might be a better choice.

Retaining their value

Diesel and petrol engines retain their value differently. This is all down to demand and diesel are in more demand that petrol cars because of their better fuel economy and lower tax rates. That means they retain their value better than petrol cars do. So, if you want a good part-exchange or private sale value when it comes to reselling your car, a diesel might be a better choice.


It all sounds like a diesel car is the best choice with it having better fuel economy, the price of fuel basically levelled out and car tax being lower. However, there is more risk with a diesel when it comes to reliability and repairs.

The unique difference between a petrol and diesel car is the diesel particulate filter (DPF). This filter cuts down the harmful emissions that diesel engines release into the air, however, it can become clogged up. The best way to avoid this happening to your diesel car is to regularly run the engine at high speed for example on the motorway. If it does become clogged up and can’t be repaired, it can cost thousands to replace.

“Toxins Tax”

Diesel cars in 35 cities across the UK may find themselves subjected to a new tax nicknamed the “Toxin Tax” with its official name being the T-Charge. These cars will be taxed if they enter Low Emission Zones (LMZ) in these cities. There are currently Low Emission Zones in London, Brighton, Norwich, Nottingham and Oxford with more expected to appear in more cities over the next few years. This tax is aimed to reduce air pollution in these cities, which is why diesel cars have been targeted.

The T-Charge is up to £20 a day for those diesel car drivers who enter these Low Emission Zones.

The pros and cons

Pros or Cons




More fuel efficient, using 15-20% less fuel than Petrol

Petrol cars are cheaper to purchase


Lower CO2 emissions leads to lower car tax

Petrol is slightly cheaper than diesel at the pump


Diesel cars offer more low-speed torque so have better overtaking power and towing ability

Petrol engines are more refined and less noisy


Diesel cars usually cost more to purchase than petrol cars

Petrol engines are less efficient


Cost more to service and repair

Petrol cars depreciate faster


Diesel engines are noisier (personal preference)

Petrol cars emit more CO2 emissions, therefore, higher car tax.


Diesel cars subjected to a new tax: The T-Charge or “Toxin Tax”



That means that if you regularly drive around towns and cities and only venture onto the motorway occasionally, a diesel car is not for you. However, if you regularly travel on the motorway for work and other reasons, a diesel car is better suited to your needs.

Whatever fuel type suits you, we have a great selection of cars on offer for you to browse. If you find a car that matches your requirements, please enquire with us. Our staff can then work to get you the best car leasing deal available for you.

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