It is easy to be confused when trying to choose the best type of engine for your next car. For generations, petrol was the only choice but then diesel engines became more powerful and refined while offering unbeatable economy. Now, electrification is seen as the future, with hybrid and fully electric cars gradually taking over ahead of the government’s 2030 ban on the sale of internal combustion engines.
There are good reasons for this ban of course – electric cars offer the chance for the UK to fuel its transport without having to rely on oil imports and will improve air quality for those living and working near roads.
But until the infrastructure is suitable, there are still plenty of drivers who will need to rely on petrol and diesel engines. Diesel in particular is still the most sensible choice for many drivers, and the latest emissions control standards mean they are far cleaner than the soot-belching diesels which have given the fuel a bad reputation.
The choice of diesel cars and vans is shrinking, but the experts at Eden will be happy to help you find the most suitable vehicle for your needs, guiding you through the figures so you can see which model and fuel source is going to work for you.
Here are a few hints to help you decide if you should buy a diesel car.
A modern diesel car will be capable of returning fuel consumption figures of 50mpg or even more when traveling longer distances at cruising speeds. If you need to do 200 miles or more in a day that is going to be cheaper to run than a petrol equivalent. Electric and hybrid cars aren’t as efficient on the motorway, and while plugging in at home is cheaper than filling up with fuel, the cost advantage is lost if you need to use a rapid charger to top up your electric car on a longer journey.
So if you regularly travel longer distances, a diesel could still be your best bet.
If your journeys are mainly in the countryside or on major, fast-moving roads then a diesel will work well for you. The car will be able to slot into a high gear and settle into a relaxed cruise where the engine will be working at its most efficient level and the emissions control devices will be able to clean the exhaust effectively. However, if you are often entering urban areas then diesels won’t be at their most efficient and you may be subjected to tolls and charges.
Diesel superminis might be capable of exceptional economy, but the torquey characteristics of this type of engine mean they are best suited to large, heavy cars and vans. This is especially true if you need to carry loads or tow, which is why diesel is still a popular choice for 4x4s and commercial vehicles. A modern turbodiesel is still going to be the most time and cost-effective way of pulling a caravan or delivering a heavy load over a long distance.
Diesels are usually more expensive to purchase than a petrol car but the gap is narrowing as emissions regulations catch up with petrol motors. Both are still cheaper than electric and hybrids, but you’ll need to do some sums to work out the total cost of ownership. This will include factors such as servicing, road tax and insurance in addition to the finance or purchase cost. The experts at Eden will be on hand to help you make the right decision for your circumstances.