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FAQ: Is Diesel Really Cost Effective?

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Diesel Cost Effective Cars Petrol

Vehicles fuelled by diesel have a number of advantages over petrol driven vehicles. But some motoring experts are sceptical over the alleged cost effective benefits of diesel.

What Are the Advantages of Buying a Diesel Car?

Diesel fuelled cars are more efficient than petrol cars when it comes to energy and power per litre. Diesel burns fuel efficiently without waste and improves fuel economy. Diesel powered engines also reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) and the amount of pollution pumped into the atmosphere. Fuel economy and cost effectiveness are the main selling points with diesel fuelled cars; less fuel needed and more fuel efficiency means less expense for diesel car owners.

Are Diesel Cars Cost Effective?

A huge number of drivers choose diesel cars for one reason alone, the savings that are made on fuel. Reports have stated that most diesel powered vehicles do offer better fuel economy at around 50 miles to the gallon. Drivers who buy diesel cars are also benefiting from lower tax as road tax is now assessed on carbon dioxide emission. These factors have been leading motorists to purchase diesel fuelled vehicles over petrol cars.

Why Do Some Experts Claim Diesel Cars are not Cost Effective?

Diesel is now costing UK drivers more than petrol per litre. The higher purchase of diesel and the higher costs of buying a diesel car are extending the time needed to make diesel powered cars cost effective. According to car experts it could take 28 years for a driver who purchases a new BMW 318 diesel to make back the extra cost. Drivers in the UK can expect to pay around £1400 extra to purchase a diesel car.

Why is Diesel More Expensive than Petrol?

Diesel is heavily taxed in the UK, more so than petrol. In countries such as France diesel is less expensive to buy than petrol due to government subsidies. Britain does have some of the heaviest taxes on fuel in the world and the price of diesel has been steadily increasing. The tax on fuel in the UK does amount to around 73% of the cost. Diesel in the UK does cost more to buy than petrol even though it costs less to produce.

Are Prices Set to be Reduced for Diesel Car Buyers?

Drivers in the past could have paid around £3000 extra to purchase a diesel car. This price premium has fallen and many of the major car manufacturers have reduced the extra charge for diesel cars. The extra cost of buying a diesel car did put off drivers who clocked up a low number of miles each year, it just wasn’t cost effective. Some car manufactures have eliminated the premium altogether for diesel car buyers.

What Is the Showroom Tax that the Government Introduced?

The government introduced a tax in April 2010 known as the Showroom Tax. The showroom tax is based on a new car’s CO2 emissions and is a one off tax payment for the first year. This payment is in addition to the usual excise duty rate and can add £515 to a car tax bill. Car buyers who opt for diesel cars can reduce or eliminate this extra payment whereas buyers of petrol cars will face the higher charges.

Are Diesel Cars More Cost Effective than Petrol?

With the extra price of diesel it does seem that diesel powered cars may not work out to be cost effective for certain drivers. Drivers who cover a lot of miles each year might benefit in the long run. Current estimates show that drivers will need to clock up 80,000 miles before diesel cars eventually pay their way. The average driver racks up around 12,000 miles each year. The price to purchase diesel fuel is one of the biggest factors, and in 2007 diesel was around 13p per litre more expensive than petrol.

So Buying a Diesel Car Is a Fake Economy?

According to certain car experts such as the president of the Automobile Association (AA) buying a diesel car is a false economy. There is no doubt that diesel fuelled cars are more energy efficient and environmentally friendly and can be cost effective for high mileage drivers. But it can be a very long time before most average road users can actually see the cost saving benefits of owning a diesel fuelled vehicle.

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