Speak to more than a handful of motorists and you’re bound to get at least a couple who say that electric is the way forward. They will also say that petrol is now an archaic and soon-to-be-obsolete fuel. Combine that with the fact that the government wants to ban the sale of cars with internal combustion engines that are powered by petrol and diesel by 2030 and you’d be forgiven for thinking of getting rid of your petrol-powered car.
Motoring experts have also predicted that the sale of petrol and diesel cars has reached its peak. As the world strives to achieve net zero in any way possible, the government are introducing schemes such as the ULEZ in London and the CAZ in Birmingham. Many people believe this makes make zero-emission vehicles the best choice for many motorists. And this isn’t just a UK thing; it’s happening across the globe.
With all that in mind you’ll probably want to chop your gas guzzler in for something more socially- acceptable soon. But before you make a decision you must understand that there is still a strong case for petrol cars. There are benefits over both diesel cars and cars that are powered by alternative means.
How cheap is electric?
In terms of fuel as a running cost, electric vehicles are very cost-effective. However they aren’t yet the best choice for everyone and it could well be a while before they are. If they ever are.
Let’s take someone living in London as an example. London has seen the recent extension of the Ultra Low Emisssions Zone (ULEZ). This has made petrol vehicle ownership that much less attractive for many car owners. However many people outside of London think that the ULEZ has banned petrol vehicles altogether. This is not the case except for much older models. Most modern petrol vehicles are still able to drive in the ULEZ without any additional cost. So if you have a relatively-new petrol car that produces a low amount of emissions, the ULEZ will make no difference to you.
Does petrol still make sense?
In recent years the sales of diesel cars has dropped considerably due to a wide range of factors. Sales of petrol models on the other hand have actually increased.
The main reason for the shift is that of the convenience factor. For starters a petrol car is cheaper to buy than a diesel one. You’ll also save money when refueling when compared to a diesel. And you won’t have to drive around looking for a suitable point to charge your car. Nor will you have to wait very long while it refuels.
Diesel cars come into their own for those who drive high mileages. This is because they are more fuel efficient than petrol ones. They also need to be driven for long distances frequently to prevent the clogging of the particulate filter, which can be a costly repair. When you consider that the average UK commute is 10 miles, and half of journeys in the UK made by car are between 5 and 25 miles long, it’s clear to see that diesel isn’t the best option for a lot of people.
Petrol is also the better fuel type for smaller cars. Smaller cars are still the most popular models in the UK market. If you’re a petrol head who likes sports cars you’ll likely already know that petrol engines are more responsive. This is what makes them enjoyable to drive.
What about hybrid?
On the face of it, hybrid cars are the answer. They carry many of the advantages that petrol cars do, with the eco-friendliness of cars powered by more sustainable fuels. That’s all very well but they cost considerably more to buy in the first place. Not only that but they can be very expensive to repair. It’s also interesting to note that hybrid cars are treated similarly to petrol and diesel ones when it comes to ULEZ and CAZ.
But isn’t electric the cheapest?
You’ll often hear the stories of people spending just £13 to full charge their electric sports car, and how they are saving so much money compared to their previous petrol cars. This may be true when you separate the running costs from initial costs. When you start to consider the initial purchase cost of an electric car the lines are far more blurred. In general electric cars are far more expensive to buy than petrol and diesel cars. And the truth is that for many motorists the difference in cost would take many years and sometimes decades before the average cost of an electric car comes close to petrol. And that’s not even considering the fact that once these years have passed, the electric car is just as likely to need replacing as the petrol car.
There is also the small issue to charging infrastructure. Ignoring the fact that the UK power grid barely meets demand at the moment as it is, it is estimated that if electric vehicle sales continue to increase at rate that they have been, we will need almost 10 times as many charging points in the UK than we currently have. The way around this problem is to have your own at-home car charger, but this will – of course – come at an additional cost.
So should I ever sell my petrol car?
If you were planning on selling your petrol car anyway, then don’t let any of the above dissuade you from doing so. However currently there is no extra reason to sell. With the only exception being that you have a very old petrol vehicle and live within the ULEZ. The ULEZ requires your car to meet Euro 4 emission standards, which have been met on many cars since 2005. In some cases cars as old as 2001 meet the Euro 4 emission standards. If your car is older than that then it may be time to sell if you live in the ULEZ or frequently enter it. If not, you can continue with your trouble-free motoring for the time being.
In other words there’s no reason to sell your petrol car just for the sake of it, nor is there a reason to consider a car powered by anything other than petrol or diesel for your next car – particularly if you don’t tend to own your cars for more than a few years.
How we reviewed this article:
Our experts continually monitor motor industry news & research, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.
- 1st August 2023
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- 26th November 2023
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