You might remember a time, not too long ago, when everyone wanted a diesel car. Rewind a few years back to 2011 and the popularity of the black pump had gone through the roof, with diesel cars making up 56% of the car market – a huge increase of 37% when compared to a 19% share of the market in 2007.
Then, as you may also remember, the now infamous ‘VW Gate’ scandal happened, causing diesel engines to slide to a 30% market share in 2019.
A lot of bad press now surrounds diesel engines, some of it unfair. Here are the facts around them and what to consider if you’re thinking about buying one:
- Government policy
Do diesel cars cause more pollution?
Contrary to what the media might have told you about diesel engines post-VW Gate, newer, modern diesel engines are actually quite clean.
They produce less CO2 than petrol cars, and the problem of harmful soot particulates which you might’ve read about causing cancer or heart attacks has been solved.
Newer diesel cars are fitted with special filters which prevent 99% of the harmful particulates emitted by diesel engines from leaving your exhaust pipe, meaning that if you’re environmentally conscious diesel might be the right choice for you.
Are diesel cars more expensive than petrol?
Whether or not diesel is a cost-effective choice of fuel depends on your personal driving habits. Diesel is slightly more expensive than petrol, but lasts longer due to the fact it holds more energy in its liquid form than petrol does.
Diesel cars themselves also tend to be slightly more expensive to purchase.
This means that if you’re a driver who’s clocking upwards of 10,000 miles a year due to long journeys or commutes to work, then a diesel engine is probably going to save you more money in the long run.
On the other hand, if you live close to work and just want your car for getting around town in (plus the occasional long journey), then chances are you’ll be better off with a petrol engine.
What is Government policy on diesel cars?
A replacement to the T-Charge in London is being introduced called the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ). The ‘T’ stands for toxicity. It is a levy aimed at improving air quality in the capital and mainly applies to diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006.
Anyone driving a diesel in these ULEZ zones that doesn’t meet new European Euro 6 legislation regarding diesel emissions will have to pay £12.50 each time they pass through them.
This is likely to be put into practice in other large UK cities too, so if you’re a diesel owner who lives in a big city you might want to consider switching to petrol, or at the very least ensure you have a modern diesel motor that complies with this new legislation.
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