Researching a Vehicle

Petrol or Diesel

Amelia Scholey, Brand and Content Specialist
Thursday, 25 August 2016

When it comes to buying a car a lot of different factors come in to play, model, size, colour, price and even the cost to run over time. One of the biggest questions to ask when deciding the long term cost is ‘Should I get a petrol or diesel-powered car?’

Trying to work out whether a petrol or diesel powered car will be cheaper to run over the years can be quite complicated. You do not only have to consider the fuel economy but should also consider the starting cost, service costs and even road tax.

We are going to look into both petrol and diesel cars in order to help make your decision a little bit easier.

Audi A1 parked up

Are diesel cars more expensive than petrol?

The initial cost of a car can change drastically when buying either petrol or diesel. Generally speaking, diesel cars cost more to buy than petrol. If you look at the exact same car model with the same trim and year you will generally be charged more for the diesel version.

This brings the initial cost of buying a diesel car up which is important to consider when purchasing the car.

What costs more at the pump?

The prices of both petrol and diesel are constantly changing, and with this in mind it is important for you to weigh up the price difference before you buy your car. Diesel on average costs more than petrol. However, diesel will go farther on every gallon of fuel.

When comparing a 40mpg petrol car with a 40mpg diesel car, the petrol car will do 440 miles on a full tank; the diesel car on the other hand will do 550 miles.

When looking at both fuel economy and fill-up costs diesel looks very attractive and this is why you need to consider the difference in the purchase price, servicing costs and insurance.

Road tax

The price of a cars road tax is calculated based on C02 emissions; cars that produce less C02 usually have cheaper road tax.

When deciding if you should get a petrol or diesel car it is important to factor in the price of road tax. Diesel vehicles are more efficient than petrol and emit less C02 and because of this they are usually cheaper to tax.

Before choosing your new car, it is a good idea to find out what road tax band your car will fall under, you can do this using an online tool. This way you can find out the annual cost of your road tax.

Car insurance

Car insurance can be quite costly, so it is important to pick a car with an affordable insurance premium. In most cases diesel cars are more expensive to ensure, and cost around 10-15% more than its equivalent petrol car.

Diesel cars have a higher average accident repair cost, and insures factor in the higher overall replacement cost if a diesel car is stolen which boosts the price. It is a good idea to get a few insurance quotes before buying your car to ensure you can afford the monthly or annual payment.

Servicing costs

When a diesel car needs to be serviced it can be more expensive than a petrol car. However, generally speaking, diesel cars do not need to be serviced as frequently as petrol cars. As a result of this you are unlikely to see a significant difference between servicing costs of the two.

What should I opt for?

Once you have weighed up the difference in the initial price of the two cars it is important to look into the long term financial factors such as tax and insurance. If you can comfortably afford the cost of either a petrol or diesel car, we recommend you test drive both and see what you prefer. There is a difference in the feel of a petrol and diesel car and this will be a personal preference that will also alter your decision.

Amelia Scholey, Brand and Content Specialist
Bringing you information on how to look after your vehicle, save money and enjoy your life on the road.