The war against diesel drivers can seem relentless. Tax hikes, parking surcharges and the future sales ban announcement has forced frugal diesel motorists onto the back foot, with new low emission zones tipped to deliver the knock-out blow.
So, what benefits can diesel cars offer motorists amid widespread uncertainty? Here’s everything you need to know if you’re wondering whether you should buy a diesel car.
Whether you should buy a diesel car over a petrol, electric or hybrid car is a complicated decision, and there’s no universal right answer. These are the factors that you should consider when making your decision.
Diesel engines can be more efficient than petrol models; particularly in heavy cars that need more energy to get moving. Diesel engines require less pressure on the accelerator and fewer engine revs - the less energy required, the more you'll save on fuel. While taxes and surges have reduced demand, diesel cars remain cheaper to run than petrol cars for most high-mileage drivers thanks to their excellent fuel economy.
Diesel cars generally depreciate in value faster than petrol cars and that’s especially been the case since 2017. As diesel cars become cheaper however, they could offer better value-for-money for buyers, despite the extra surcharges and taxes.
Diesel cars excel over long distances. If you're clocking up over 12,000 miles a year, the outlay of a diesel car may be worth it as you might recoup this cash thanks to its superior fuel economy.
You can reduce the risk of being hit with inner-city diesel charges by buying a newer Euro 6-compliant diesel car. These vehicles are not subject to fees in London's ultra-low emission zone (ULEZ), or Birmingham's clean air zone. Similarly, cars that meet future emissions regulations (Real Driving Emissions Step 2, or Euro 6d) will be exempt from the recent road tax increases.
The new car tax system reduced the long-held advantages of diesel cars. On the other hand the company car tax system maintains its links to CO2 emissions, so you could make savings if you opt for a diesel company car. Moreover, large diesel cars like SUVs are more fuel-efficient than their petrol equivalents and tend to attract lower company tax rates. Diesel cars generally than petrol cars and that’s especially been the case since 2017. As diesel cars become cheaper however, they could offer better value-for-money for buyers, despite the extra surcharges and taxes.
Like their suitability to powering heavy vehicles, diesel cars are also the optimal engine for towing. Their superior pulling power (torque) is more effective than electric or petrol cars at hauling heavy trailers and caravans. In contrast, petrol cars are more likely to stall when towing a trailer up a hill and if they do make it, you'll have to foot a much higher bill than you would with a diesel model.
All brand-new diesel cars should comply with the Euro 6 limits and there are no plans to charge owners of these vehicles for driving in city centres in the next few years. However, diesel cars that only meet the previous Euro 5 emissions standard or below, such as some used cars from before 2015, are subject to the emissions charges in London. Bear in mind that other major cities may also charge these cars for driving within central clean air zones in the future.
One way of protecting yourself against diesel’s uncertain future is by taking out a PCP finance plan. PCP agreements give you two choices that counterbalance the risk of depreciation. Firstly, they allow you to keep your car at the end of the contract by paying a pre-agreed lump sum. Alternatively, you can hand over the car at the end of the contract with nothing more to pay, regardless of whether it has depreciated quicker than expected.
The sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be get your car valued to determine what the market rate is and use webuyanycar.com to banned by as early as 2035, along with most hybrid cars that use current technology. While this policy sounds radical, the aftermath might not be as impactful as first thought.
Motor industry experts predict that in two decades, most cars sold will be either enhanced hybrid cars exempt from the ban, electric, or potentially hydrogen-powered. At the time of writing, there are no plans to ban diesel cars from the roads altogether and second-hand sales may continue unaffected.
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