Is it worth Buying a Diesel Car?

Diesel cars have received a lot of bad press in recent years. However they can still be the most sensible choice for many motorists in the UK.

Not in the too-distance past a diesel car was the default choice for most drivers. Diesel cars often held their value better than petrol ones because they are more fuel efficient, powerful and refined.

Why the hate for diesel cars?

The above all changed though when revelations were made about the harmful emissions of diesel cars. Until this time modern diesel cars were considered more environmentally friendly because they emit less Carbon Dioxide than petrol vehicles. The price of diesel also rose, negating the fuel efficiency for the average motorist. As well of all this, diesel cars also used to pay less road tax.

A recent succession of tax increases, extra parking charges, low-emission zones and ‘Dieselgate’ has caused diesel cars to be driven out of fashion. Plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in the UK by 2030 also helped with the decline. Although this date has since been pushed back to 2035.

If you follow the news closely then the future looks bleak for those who dare to own a diesel car. However a diesel vehicle is still very much the best choice for hundreds of thousands of motorists in the UK. Those who do many high-mileage journeys will find diesel cars hard to beat in terms of performance, comfort and running costs.

Diesel cars in London

Back in 2019 London’s ULEZ was launched, which charges a £12.50 daily penalty for anyone who drives a pre-2015 diesel car into the city centre. This area was expanded in October 2021, and then again in August 2023. We should therefore not consider it beyond the realms of possibility that the ULEZ will expand further outwards in the future.

Other large cities have followed suit by introducing Clean Air Zones (CAZ). Although they affect older petrol cars as well, it’s mainly diesel cars and their harmful emissions that are being targeted by these zones.

If you live within the ULEZ or near a CAZ in another city then it only makes sense to steer well clear of diesels when choosing your next car. This is a major reason why the sales of diesel cars have fallen dramatically over the past few years.

Should you Buy a Diesel?

For those who do a lot of miles, the fact is that diesel cars remain far cheaper to run than petrol cars. Diesel engines are very efficient and provide very good fuel economy that is unrivalled by petrol vehicles.

Diesel engines by design have a lot more torque in the lower rev range than petrol cars. This makes them far superior for towing. It also makes a diesel engine a good choice for larger and heavier vehicles. This is why you never see a petrol lorry and you rarely see a petrol-powered van. More modern diesels which meet Euro 6 standards and above are exempt from ULEZ and Clean Air Zones around the country. So contrary to popular belief you can still own a diesel car if you live in London.

A diesel car is almost always the better option for the following:

  • High annual mileages
  • Larger vehicles such as SUVs
  • Large company cars
  • Vehicles that carry heavy loads
  • Vehicles that tow

What about the Ban of Sale of Petrol or Diesel Cars?

The doom-mongers out there will have you believe that the end is nigh for petrol and diesel cars. However, this is simply not the case. The ban on sales of petrol and diesel cars in 2035 will only apply to brand new cars. There will still be a market for second hand petrol and diesel cars long after this date. And the date itself has already bene pushed back from 2030, so it’s no guarantee that the ban will actually happen in 2035 at this moment in time. And by using your own eyes and viewing your surroundings you will see that there are absolutely no immediate plans to withdraw fossil fuels from the forecourts.

If you’re considering whether to buy a petrol, diesel or alternatively-fuelled car, then hopefully this article has explained that you shouldn’t necessarily rule out diesel vehicles. If you’ve got a car to sell then you may wish to read our top 10 tips for getting the best deal on your car.

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Will I have to get rid of my diesel car in 2030?

No, not at all. The ban on sales of petrol and diesels won't be in force until at least 2035 now, and will only apply to brand new cars.

Do diesel cars produce more CO2 than petrol cars?

Diesel cars actually produce less Carbon Dioxide than petrol cars. However they do produce more harmful exhaust particles than petrol cars

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continually monitor motor industry news & research, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

  • 20th November 2023
    Current Article - By Harry Edwell
  • 11th March 2024
    Checked & Reviewed - By Sjoerd Bakker
  • 17th November 2023
    Copy Edited - By Gary McKrill
  • 15th May 2024
    Reviewed - By Gary McKrill

Car Monkey has strict sourcing guidelines and we try to rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and motoring associations where possible.

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_emissions_scandal
  2. https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-takes-historic-step-towards-net-zero-with-end-of-sale-of-new-petrol-and-diesel-cars-by-2030

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