Practically everyone buying a used car in the last few years has been in the same boat; “Should I buy a diesel car? Aren’t they being phased out?”. It’s completely understandable with the news out there at the moment. Although like everything the answer is muddled, for the most part, the answer is that it’s completely fine to buy a diesel now and should be really for the next decade or so.
The Diesel Ban
Let’s get straight into the nitty-gritty. One of the main reasons people are beginning to doubt whether they should buy a diesel car in 2022 is because of them being phased out. Now, although that is happening, that doesn’t mean it should put you off just yet.
While diesel cars are being phased out as a part of the government plan to lower carbon emissions, the truth is that it’s dramatically less extreme than people think. More interestingly still, petrol cars are in the same position, too.
As it currently stands, the government plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel-engined cars in 2030. That doesn’t mean that used cars will be banned by any means. It doesn’t mean that road tax will stay where it is either, but that’s another story altogether.
(Hybrids will still be being sold until 2035 under the current plans).
The next largest area to look to when deciding if you should buy a diesel car or not is the price that they currently sell for. On average, diesel cars tend to be more expensive than their petrol counterparts for the same model. That has been the case for years and likely will continue that way too, although some less efficient models will come down in price due to new ULEZ regulations meaning they are not eligible in some areas.
What is just as important as the buying costs for a used car however is the value it will hold too. (Running costs are on top of this, but we’ll get onto that below). Although diesel cars are cheaper to buy, they also sell for less when it comes time to get your next upgrade. The main difference however is that their depreciation is also a lot lower.
Because of how diesel cars are the best run, it seems to be much more common to be comfortable with higher mileage diesel vehicles, and as a result, they lose less of their value over time than some of their petrol opposites. It’s good to keep that in mind also.
Diesel Car Performance
A hugely common misconception about diesel cars is that they perform very differently from petrol cars on the road. They’re thought to be much more sluggish and only suited to long-distance driving. That’s how it has been since the ’80s. That’s also not quite true.
The difference in performance between petrol and diesel vehicles in 2022 is largely negligible for the most part. While it may be more of a factor when looking at the seriously high spec performance vehicles, in the standard everyday models, diesel wouldn’t affect the speed of a car at all.
In actual fact, in order to make them more efficient, diesel cars are actually often more powerful overall than petrol cars. They are usually fitted with more effective turbo systems to increase efficiency, but they do also usually feel more bulky and noisy as well.
In addition to the costs of buying a diesel car, a fundamental part of owning a diesel car is of course the running costs that come along with it. Diesel for example per litre is much more expensive than petrol, as has always been the case. They’re famed for it, but that doesn’t mean they’re more costly to run.
Even now with the fuel price hikes following Brexit and COVID-19, many diesel engines will still be incredibly low cost to run compared to purely petrol vehicles. In fact. It’s often estimated that a diesel engine can get more than 20mpg more when driving at higher speeds. While that is more suited to distance and motorway driving, they are still not uneconomical in city driving either.
For other costs, however, petrol does in fact still remain cheaper to own. Petrol engines usually require cheaper repairs should anything go wrong. On top of that, for city driving, petrol tends to be more efficient per gallon, so it is not as clean cut as it sounds.
Finally, the last major point of concern for someone debating whether they should buy a diesel car in 2022 is how they affect the economy. Despite having more energy per unit of fuel than petrol, diesel has a less efficient burn than petrol, meaning there is more carbon and nitrogen produced as a result, and this is of course damaging to the air around us.
What is very important to now remember however is that technology has changed a lot since diesel was first created over 100 years ago. Now, we have technologies like AdBlue and advanced filtration in the exhaust system working together to prevent this from happening, and to dispose of this waste in a way that isn’t harmful.
That isn’t to say however that diesel is still better than petrol. It isn’t, and even petrol is now being replaced with hybrids and EVs as we know. Even in the ULEZ, diesel cars have to be at least a Euro 6 to pass the emissions threshold, which is expected to soon change to 7, making things even more difficult.
All in all, diesel cars are going to be on the roads of the Uk for at least another 20 years, even if they are no longer sold as new from 2030. They are cheaper to buy, perform almost as well as petrol despite being slightly slower and less comfortable, and their running costs are lower too.
They do still harm the environment more than other fuel types, and they are of course still less desirable than others too, but their resale value will depreciate less as a result of all of that as well. It’s also worth noting though that they typically don’t live as long either often due to injector issues as other common diesel engine issues.
Ultimately, it’s all down to what matters most to you in your vehicles. As long as the car is safe, reliable and of a reasonable price, there is certainly no threat to you personally to buy a diesel car over any other type at the moment.