Jan 102019
 

Petrol v DieselPetrol vs Diesel Cars – Which One is Better?

When buying a car, there are a lot of elements to consider. Some choices – 2-door or 4-door, black or white, leather or cloth – are easy to make and are informed almost entirely by your personal taste. But, some choices – like whether you want a car that is petrol or diesel powered – requires a bit more research. Why? Because your choice could have financial, environmental and experiential consequences.

The Cost of Petrol Cars Vs. Diesel Cars

The cost of a car isn’t calculated using the purchase price alone. You also must factor in the cost of fuel, tax, insurance and servicing. So, while the cost of a comfortable, 4-door car with a diesel engine will cost around £1,500 more upfront than the equivalent car with a petrol engine, it could cost less over time.

Historically, this upfront cost was offset for owners of diesel cars because of lower fuel costs and reduced tax rates. Now, only the former applies. Before April 2018, drivers with cars that produced less than 100g/km of CO2 emissions (for example a Volvo S60, Audi A4 Saloon, or Hyundai i30 Tourer) got a tax break. As of April 2018, though, drivers with diesel cars – even those that produce less than 100g/km of CO2 – are required to pay tax.

But, diesel cars are still – in general – more fuel efficient and therefore require less fuel. While the cost of fuel per litre is slightly higher for diesel, the fuel economy (which is higher both on the motorway and around town) supports lower running costs.

When you also figure in the extra cost of car insurance which, for diesel cars, tends to be 10-15% higher because repairs on diesel cars tend to be more expensive, one could make the argument that in general, petrol cars cost less. Of course, this is completely dependent on the make and model.

The takeaway: do your research! The purchase price is just part of the equation.

Do Diesel Engines Pollute More Than Petrol Engines?

A lot of the conversation around diesel cars has to do with their environmental impact and, in particular, their toxic emissions. But, if you look back several years, you’ll see that in reaction to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emission (especially CO2), diesel was actually promoted as the environmentally friendly option. This, again, comes down to the cars’ fuel economy.

While diesel fuel does contain more carbon than petrol, their CO2 emission tends to be lower because diesel engines are a lean-burn meaning they use less fuel and more air compared to petrol engines.

So, what’s changed?  Nothing…in terms of CO2 emissions. Now, the public (and governments) are equally concerned about toxic emissions that are immediately harmful to humans.

Both petrol and diesel engines produce nitrogen oxides, but petrol cars have a built-in three-way catalytic converter that cleans up these toxins to emit significantly less than diesel cars. Diesel cars have something similar – a diesel particulate filter or DPF – but these require regular maintenance.

This explains why, in the UK, new MOT rules dictate that diesel cars with a DPF can’t have visible smoke coming from their exhaust and can’t show any evidence of tampering. Both result in an automatic fail.

Given the environmental impact, higher tax rates, and more strict MOT rules, some people are starting to wonder if diesel cars will one day be banned. While it’s impossible to answer this question, it is worth mentioning that the UK government is under significant pressure to ban both diesel and petrol cars by 2032 to ensure all cars on the road are zero emission by 2042.

Are Diesel or Petrol Cars More Powerful?

 If you’re looking for a car with some serious ‘get-up-and-go’, you might prefer a diesel powered vehicle. Diesel produces huge amounts of torque (power), which explains why lorries, buses and other large vehicles are often diesel powered. Torque allows for better overtaking power and towing ability but that’s not to say that petrol cars won’t get you where you’re going.

So, Which is Better?

That’s up to you! Both come with a list of pros and cons and it’s important that you decide what’s important to you when buying a car, whether it’s used or new.

Whichever you go for, make sure you protect yourself in the event of unexpected vehicle failure by getting a quote with Warranty Direct today!

Policies underwritten by Pinnacle Insurance plc. Arranged and administered by Warranty Direct. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

 

Oct 012018
 

New car checklistFor many young people, owning a car is a rite of passage. But, with so much choice available and with many young people on a tight budget, selecting the right student car can be tricky.

Warranty Direct has put together some helpful tips to help student motorists make the right decision, from buying your first car to beyond.

Where to start

When looking at potential vehicles, you can be tempted to go to the first car that catches your eye. However, it’s important to keep your budget in mind when choosing what’s right for you.

Firstly, you need to decide whether to buy a new or used car. Although initially more expensive, newer cars are normally more advanced in terms of safety, technology and fuel efficiency. This could save you money in the long-term.

On the other hand, a new car can lose around 40% of its value in the first year, so you may be left out of pocket when you go to sell it later.

Statistics also show around one-quarter of young drivers are involved in a crash within two years of passing their test. So with this in mind, it might be more cost-effective not to purchase a brand-spanking new vehicle until you have a little more experience on the roads.

Don’t get caught out with insurance

For the majority of students, expensive car insurance is far from ideal. Drivers aged between 17-24 can expect to pay over £1100 for their insurance policy.

Limited driving experience and a greater likelihood of being in an accident account for this high rate. However, there are ways for students to keep their insurance costs down.

For example, adding a more experienced named driver on a student’s insurance policy can shave an impressive 13% off their insurance premiums.

Younger drivers can make further financial savings by opting for a black box insurance policy. This is where the insurer fits a telematic tracker – which records speed, braking and cornering behaviour – to your vehicle.

 In fact, according to recent figures, 60% of the cheapest black box deals are for under-25s, compared with 50% two years ago.

Factor in reliability

It’s important students know what they need from a vehicle, not just what they want. Factors such as safety, cost and reliability need to be considered; particularly if you’re facing a lengthy commute from home to your new student accommodation.

Look out for vehicles with low repair and maintenance costs and features such as light steering and user-friendly controls.

Using tools such as our Reliability Index to see which vehicles are the most reliable could help you avoid expensive maintenance issues further down the line.

If you’re willing to look beyond flashy alternatives, the trusty Ford Fiesta is a good bet for students on a tight budget. The Fiesta scores highly in the reliability stakes and suits the needs of most young motorists.

Fuel for thought

For cash-strapped young drivers, one of the major drawbacks of owning a car is the cost of keeping a vehicle on the road.

With fuel costs rising, it’s worth looking out for the most fuel-efficient models on the market.

It’s also important to account for vehicle tax, MOT tests and the general cost of upkeep for your new vehicle. On average, it costs around £472 to maintain a used car over the course of a year.

It might be worth considering Just Add Fuel options which combine finance, breakdown, servicing and tax costs into a single monthly installment if your heart’s set on a brand new vehicle.

Owning a car can give you your first taste of ‘grown-up’ responsibility, so it’s important to think wisely if you want to experience the joy of the open road on a student budget.