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Petrol 'vs' Diesel

Which car is best for you?? Petrol or Diesel?

Let’s look at the differences of both and you can decide for yourself...


- Petrol cars are said to be a smoother drive with a quicker response to eagerness to rev where as the diesel car have better pulling power which makes them a more relaxed drive. Petrol cars are better for short journeys and city driving whereas a diesel will perform better on long and motorway journeys, they are also better at hilly countryside driving and towing.

o Petrol cars are a more sportier style of car as they need to be revved to give their best and have a manual gear box

o Diesel cars are more layed back and the pulling power (torque) doesn’t work its best with low gear and high revs.

- The way in which the fuel is ignited in use is different in each car, a petrol car uses a spark plug to ignite the fuel whereas a diesel car compresses it to a very high pressure causing the reaction to ignite the fuel which make a diesel engine stronger and more expensive as it also needs particular filters to prevent emissions.

- Diesel Particulate Filters; these are a legal requirement since 2009, soot builds up in the filter and a diesel car needs to be run at high speeds for 30 to 50 minutes to burn off the excess soot in the filter and clear it, motorway driving is best for this. If you don’t like motorway driving or usually makes lots of shorter journeys a petrol car would be more suitable.


- When it comes to prices a diesel car has its advantages, the cost of diesel maybe higher but the miles per gallon differ, a diesel car will on average travel more miles due to the way in which the fuel is used within the car.

- Insuring a car comes at a cost also, in general a diesel car is more expensive to insure due to the any repair cost being potentially higher than a petrol car.

- Servicing; it will cost more to service a diesel car due to them tending to have more systems that need servicing in comparison to a petrol car but this is often not much difference. Diesel cars do need an additional liquid adding to the engine regularly, this is AdBlue which helps reduce harmful emissions but the cost of this is relatively minor given that it 10 litres will usually last 3000 – 6000 miles.

- Car Tax; in 2017 this changed and cars with zero emissions such as electric cars are tax free but all other cars are charged based on their CO2. Given that diesel cars produce less of this they will generally be charged less.




--> Cheaper to buy

--> Engines are typically more refined

--> Potentially lower servicing costs

--> Better MOT pass rates

--> Cheaper fuel

--> No DPF to clog

--> Higher fuel costs

--> Higher CO2 emissions

--> Not good at towing


--> Better fuel efficiency

--> Longer between fuel fill up stops

--> Good motorway driving

--> Low CO2 emissions

--> Well suited to towing

--> Engine doesn’t need to work as hard

--> Better fuel efficiency

--> Potential higher service costs

--> Loud engine

--> Potential DPF clogged

--> Older cars to fall foul of emission zones (eg.Bradford Clean Air Zone)

Sources; RAC and Carwow

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