A lot more mileage is left in the diesel vs petrol debate
Julian Knight finds fuel efficiency doesn't always mean low cost
Sunday 24 August 2008
In a little over a week's time, thousands of Britons will become the proud owners of a brand new 58-registration car. But in these days of the credit crunch and record-high oil prices, the decision to buy a new car is made as much with the head as with the heart.
No wonder, therefore, that fuel efficiency has become essential. And this is where a new generation of cleaner diesel engines is meant to offer a partial solution.
"Diesel engines are around 15 to 20 per cent more fuel efficient than standard petrol ones," says Luke Bosdett, spokesman for the AA. "It can make a huge difference to get 60 or 65 miles per gallon rather than 45 or 50."
However, there is a price to be paid for going diesel. The AA estimates that, depending on the size of the vehicle, the purchase price will be between £300 and £1,500 higher than for the same model fitted with a standard petrol engine. Generally, the bigger the car, the higher the price differential.
Up until recently, from a purely pounds, shillings and pence point of view, the calculation motorists use to have to make was whether they could cover the higher initial costs of diesel through savings at the pump. In short, the more miles you drove each year, the more you would benefit from the greater fuel efficiency of diesel.
But the dramatic rise in oil prices over the past year has thrown a spanner into these works and makes the job of calculating whether it's cheaper to go with diesel or petrol a whole lot more difficult.
"Not too long ago," says Mr Bosdett, "a gallon of diesel was around 5p more expensive than unleaded petrol. But with demand for diesel from the developing world, particularly South America, the costs at the pump have risen even higher than for standard petrol."
According to the AA's latest calculations, the average litre of diesel costs 124.44p, compared with 112.50p for unleaded petrol.
As a result, the number of miles that a motorist needs to cover each year to make diesel work financially has increased dramatically. "We use to say that if you did 20-25,000 miles a year, then diesel would work out cheaper," continues Mr Bosdett. "However, with the moves in oil prices, this has gone up to 40,000 or even 50,000 with some models of bigger car."
Just to put that into context, the average UK motorist is estimated to cover around 10,000 miles a year. Despite this, diesel is more popular than ever – not just among high-mileage company car users, who have in the past formed a large part of the market, but also with private individuals.
"The number of new diesel cars being registered grew by 7.3 per cent last year," says Sara Lee from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. "They account for 43 per cent of the total market. There has been a dash for diesel as people want the greater fuel efficiency, and it has shrugged off the old image of being noisy and polluting."
In fact, in many cases, the latest generation of "green" diesel cars actually emit lower levels of CO2 than their petrol counterparts, adds Ms Lee.
But Mr Bosdett puts the renewed popularity of diesel down to "consumers not doing the sums properly". Nevertheless, he holds out some hope that with a relative degree of calm returning to international oil markets of late, the price differential at the pumps between petrol and diesel will soon narrow, making diesel a more sensible choice for drivers who clock up average mileage.
However, Nick Van Der Vell of the UK Petroleum Industry Association is less bullish. He says the underlying reason diesel cars are making less sense financially is the Government's tax policy: "When you look around Europe, we are one of the few countries that taxes diesel exactly the same as petrol. Other countries, such as France and Spain, tax diesel far less, making it a more cost-effective choice."
- 1 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 Woman accidentally shoots herself in the head while posing for a selfie
- 3 Art Garfunkel calls Paul Simon a 'monster' with a Napoleon complex
- 4 Isis burns woman alive for refusing to engage in 'extreme' sex act, UN says
- 5 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...
Day In a Page
On the market for the first time in more than 50 years, this six-bedroom home is a project with vast potential - spread over three floors of living space.
This five-bedroom home comes with a range of outbuildings including a large barn which could be converted into a self-contained granny-flat or rental.
Surrounded by rolling countryside, this four-bedroom barn conversion comes with a self-contained, one-bedroom annexe that could serve as an office or a holiday let.
Located near Harrogate town centre, this five-bedroom Victorian terrace is arranged over three storeys while a current study serves as an optional sixth bedroom.
A ground-floor flat in a country house, located a mile from Sway; this two-bedroom home would make an ideal weekend retreat on the edge of the New Forest.
On a popular residential lane in Caterham on the Hill, this four-bedroom family home offers a secluded garden and a convenient location for local schools and public transport.
Just a short walk from Westerham green, this three-bedroom cottage has a light kitchen with exposed brickwork and double doors that lead to a south-facing garden.
In a prime spot opposite the River Thames, this one-bedroom flat has an 18sq ft reception room with glass doors that open out to a private terrace.
Set in the hills above Llanwrda Village, west Wales, this 18th-century three-bedroom farmhouse has holiday-let potential from a separate barn conversion and annexe.
This charming end-of-terrace townhouse is arranged over three floors, with two double bedrooms and a private courtyard garden located at the rear of the property.
This four-bedroom Edwardian home offers a combination of original features and contemporary design after a renovation by the current owners.
Located in the University area, this semi-detached five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors - there's even a rear garden and off-road parking too.
Only a few minutes' drive from the charming town of Marlow, this two-bedroom home sits on the private riverside estate of Harleyford.
This detached four-bedroom home in Middleyard is arranged over two floors, with features that include a wood-burning stove and bespoke oak staircase.
In a row of eight detached Georgian residences, this five-bedroom home offers views of The Sound, Mount Edgcumbe and Cornwall from its impressive veranda and full-length balcony.
If you love cooking for friends this two-bedroom flat - complete with views of the iconic Battersea Power Station and an open-plan kitchen/dining area - will go down a treat.
Located above Grasmere village, this five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors and offers countryside views across Grasmere Lake towards Silver Howe.
Surrounded by the Western fells, this five-bedroom Georgian home retains many original features including panel-plastered ceilings, sash windows and fireplaces.
This six-bedroom home is set amongst three acres of grounds. Currently a large family home, Clift Hill has potential to make a B&B, subject to change of use permissions.
A former period coach house, Glebe Farm Stable is now a three-bedroom cottage with a double car barn, office, kennels and an outbuilding that's currently used as a gym.
Set sail for this four-bedroom farmhouse in Cowes. With five acres of land and an indoor pool, this home oozes character. There is even potential to let a one-bedroom annexe.
Surrounded by woodland, this five-bedroom manor house has plenty of outdoor storage space in the form of three converted loose boxes, two smaller outhouses and a woodstore.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with a double carport, useful workshop, garden and two walkways that offer views of the adjacent countryside.
With space for an equestrian business, a greenhouse for growing your own veg, a wine store and a gym; this five-bedroom home has all the ingredients for a country retreat.
This four-bedroom home has exposed brick chimneys and a vaulted ceiling in a breakfast room that's ideal for summer entertaining - the doors open to the patio and garden.
The decked roof terrace of this two-bedroom flat is perfect for summer drinks while large windows and ample storage space make for a light and spacious interior.
Surrounded by approximately 15 acres of grounds, this six-bedroom grade II-listed home has been extensively refurbished yet retains many period features.
This four-bedroom home comes with a two-bedroom cottage and commercial office, with planning to extend, in a stunning courtyard setting.
In a pretty Norfolk village, this four-bedroom family home is surrounded by landscaped gardens, with even a self-contained annex for guests.
A few miles from the seaside at Perranporth, this four-bedroom farmhouse sits amongst nine acres of idyllic grounds - including a lake and two barns used as holiday lets.
This five-bedroom home is arranged over three floors of a converted Victorian hospital, offering spectacular views of the Pentland Hills - only three miles from the city centre.
This four-bedroom detached home comes with grounds that span to approximately 2.5 acres, as well as two large patio areas and a double garage.
This four-bedroom cottage is a Grade II-listed town house, well-located for the thriving market town of Nailsworth.
A four-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a stunning period property in North Yorkshire, with two kitchens and a large south-west facing garden.
This high-spec two-bedroom home is part of a smart collection of new flats at Beaufort Park and has a large decked balcony that's perfect for summer drinks.
Capitalise on the fabulous views of Trevone Bay by taking two homes and creating one spacious boutique B&B. Just a cliff-top walk from Padstow.
Overlooking a golf course, this six-bedroom Edwardian detached home spans four storeys and retains many period features including the original, operational servants' bells...
On the edge of the city, this six-bedroom home comes with an outdoor swimming pool and a large garage block that has annexe potential.
In a Grade II-listed manor just outside of Bath, this three-bedroom home is arranged on two floors with a skylight in a vaulted roof line.
Open the living room's bi-fold wooden doors to reveal a retro-style kitchen, and a conservatory leading to a paved garden at this three-bedroom home.
A Grade II-listed, four-bedroom home, in a charming Somerset village, with a two-storey studio that could be converted into a holiday cottage
A modern four-bedroom Victorian home, within walking distance to the high street
A luxury apartment in the Gothic mansion of Wyfold Court in Kingwood, offers six bedrooms spread over three floors and a turret
This school conversion, near Stockwell Tube, oozes New York loft style. The one-bedroom flat features double height ceilings and exposed brick work
This six-bedroom Georgian home is on three floors with open fireplaces, a two-oven Aga, an annexe, and cottage gardens with outbuildings and a car barn
High Crest House covers an impressive 9384sq ft, with almost three acres of grounds including a tennis court and summer house enclosed by electric gates
A six-bedroom farmhouse with separate accommodation in converted stables. Situated in the village of Church Aston, within walking distance to the market town
A two-bedroom flat with under-heated walnut floors and bespoke built-in storage. The Tube and Clapham Common are a short stroll away
A refurbished seven-bedroom townhouse with staff quarters, cinema room, superb gym, steam room and plunge pool
A minimnalist four-bedroom home designed to the highest spec, featuring glass walls and a kitchen space lit by a glass roof