Diesel cars are on their way out. The government intends to ban the sale of new ones by 2035 at the latest. With this in mind, is there still any reason to buy them?
Whilst diesel car sales may have plummeted, they once enjoyed a soaring popularity. Even with declining sales there are still a huge amount of diesel vehicles on British Roads. In fact, the Department of Transport discovered that there were 12.4 million of them registered in the country at the end of 2017; the highest number yet. The enduring love affair is a testament to two things.
First of all, diesels are usually significantly cheaper to run than their petrol equivalents; some by up to 20%. This means less frequent trips to the pumps and reduced costs when you make them. In addition, diesels usually offer improved performance. Needing less acceleration and fewer revs to start, they’re a good choice for people who like to make a move quickly when the light turns green or a junction becomes clear. Because of their power and performance, diesels are the natural choice for towing. This is why so many HGVs use diesel. This all comes down to increased torque.
Whilst diesels offer better fuel economies, they’re also usually more expensive at the point of sale than petrols. This is because the engine technology is more complex and costly to assemble. Traditionally, this has been outweighed in the long-term by reduced fuel costs and tax breaks. You also need to take the time to work out if the fuel economy works out for your driving style and what you’re using the vehicle for. It’s the favoured powertrain of commercial and company car drivers, both of which cover extensive mileage and regularly. If you’re typically driving short distances, perhaps on your commute or on the school run, you’re probably not going to be saving money.
Older diesels may suffer under the new way that the government calculates car tax. This is based on the amount of CO2 emitted by a vehicle. The higher the rate, the higher the tax.
The Politics Of Diesel
Diesel vehicles, despite once being hailed as a greener and more efficient alternative to petrol, are now at the centre of a number of controversies. This began when the car manufacturing giant Volkswagen was found to be tampering with emissions controls in order to show false readings. It led to extensive backlash against the powertrain, especially from environmentalist groups which put pressure on governments and local authorities.
City centres in the likes of London, Birmingham and Edinburgh are introducing charges for drivers of older diesels. Diesels that don’t meet Euro 4 Standards, or were registered before 2006, will have to pay a £15 congestion charge which applies during weekdays and weekends; its hours of operation have also recently been significantly extended, from mornings until late in the evening. The most polluting cars also have to pay an Ultra Low Emission Zone fee. It’s likely that other cities with introduce similar measures in the near future.
Should You Buy A Diesel?
If you own a diesel, there’s no need to panic. Whilst the government intends to ban the sale of new diesels by 2035, you’ll still be able to drive any you purchased beforehand; assuming Climate Crisis-led policy doesn’t become more extensive. However, with more and more cities introducing charges and fees for diesel cars, they are going to become more costly for some drivers. Non-commercial drivers are probably better off purchasing cleaner petrols. Commercial and company drivers still rely heavily on the powertrain. However, new Benefit in Kind (BiK) rates make all-electric models accessible and extremely cost-effective. Ultimately, diesels remain viable for long-distance drivers. But it seems that this will soon change. In which case, their utility is arguably draining away and fast.
Can’t Decide On A Petrol Or Diesel Car? Here’s What You Should Know – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/choose-petrol-diesel/
Ban Diesel And Petrol Cars By 2032, Say Government Advisers – https://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/ban-diesel-and-petrol-cars-by-2032-say-government-advisers/