Choosing Between a Petrol or Diesel Car

17 October 2018 Blog

Buying a new car can be an exciting experience as you work your way through the various options to find the right fit for you. One of the bigger decisions you’ll face is deciding which engine suits your needs and therefore choosing between a petrol or diesel car.

While some amongst us have a lifelong preference for one or the other, it’s always worth having a refresh on the pros and cons of each. After all, over the years your driving habits, budget and priorities can change. But what are the key questions you should be asking yourself when you find yourself searching for your next car?  

Do petrol or diesel engines last longer?

Engine longevity is not an exact science, as any mechanic will tell you, but there are some key differences between petrol and diesel. If you opt for the petrol engine, you are by no means looking at a short engine life but due to certain factors, it doesn’t last quite as long as diesel. Diesel cars, on the other hand, are notorious for their ability to stand the test of time. It has been estimated that diesel engines could go for over 200,000 miles or even more, if you really take care of it.

Obviously, the key component when it comes to either choice is maintenance. Attended to with the proper care, an engine will exceed your expectations and take you on many interesting journeys.

What laws are there for petrol and diesel engines?

Although the focus of government policy at the moment seems to be on hybrid or completely electric vehicles, recent controversies have brought diesel into the spotlight. Following the NOx scandal at Volkswagen and a general awareness of the ways in which certain cars were failing tests, the government has introduced policy and car companies have had to shape up, which they have done across the board. It was also quite a big turnaround – when Gordon Brown was Chancellor, he actually wanted to encourage drivers to buy a diesel as they do, in fact, create fewer CO2 emissions. 

Is there a difference in the cost to run petrol or diesel?

It goes without saying that everyone is different. Driving style, maintenance habits and sheer luck when it comes to working car parts can all influence how expensive or cheap it is to run a car. Servicing is where you can save the most on diesel as they tend to need less servicing over their lifespan.

But fuel is the one that everyone concentrates on when it comes to these two types of car. That’s because it’s where your lifestyle makes the biggest impact on your decision making. It is perhaps a well-known fact that diesel will cost you less in fuel over time. While you pay more at the pump, the savings will come, perhaps surprisingly, the more you drive it. So, if you were to drive 12,000 miles a year for the next two years, you are estimated to save around £1,000 in that time. Any less than around 6,000 miles a year though and you may be better looking at a petrol car, which is more efficient when it comes to shorter journeys.   

Will I have to pay more on insurance on a petrol or diesel car?

This is slightly unknown territory. Some argue that diesels cost more to repair after an accident so insurance can be pricier. Experts put it at around 10-15% more. Others say that diesel is, on average, cheaper to insure than the petrol alternative. Essentially, it boils down to researching in advance of looking at a car as it can also be dependent on more factors than the type of engine. For example, newer cars with better security features and less chance of needing to be repaired will fare well regardless.   

It is important to take all of the above into consideration when you’re buying a car. What matters to our customers is how each of these elements fit into their day-to-day lives. Those who travel long distances and require fuel economy above all else will generally opt for diesel. If they need better upfront costs and take shorter journeys then petrol is the preferred choice. At Motorpoint, we like to help everyone find the right car for their lifestyle. With 12 branches across the UK, advisors at the end of the phone and a website for you to browse, Motorpoint is the place for you to find your next petrol or diesel car.

Get in touch today or browse thousands of cars from over 30 manufacturers on our website.