It is a growing concern for all motorists in the UK right now. Well if you’re a young chap like me you probably heard your Mum or Dad talk about how amazing their diesel cars where / are and how much everyone was backing the change, cheap fuel, cheap tax 50+mpg everywhere you went. Sounds great right?
There are many advantages to diesel cars which have been there for years. The main ones are the their efficient miles per gallon, reduced road tax and the torque of diesel the engine.
Miles per Gallon
Diesel engines are more fuel efficient than their petrol counterparts, approximately 15%- 20% which is substantial if you do a lot of miles. Recently, petrol prices have dropped and modern petrol engine technology has become better so the efficiency difference is now less substantial.
On pre-April 2017 vehicles, road tax on diesel cars is much cheaper due to their lower CO2 emissions. Modern diesel cars are now being taxed more and in some cases can be more expensive than their petrol counterparts, so again, with time, it is becoming less of a pro and more of a con.
The experience of putting your foot down to overtake someone in a diesel will never get old. That low-end torque means you glide effortlessly past other people on the motorway and an equivalent overtaking power has yet to be achieved by a petrol engine. Diesel vehicles are perfect for the commuter who needs to drive very long distances effortlessly. This is still a major benefit of a diesel motor vehicle.
There are also some cons to diesel cars the main ones being their cost and their emissions.
Whenever you see a broken down diesel car you should presume it will be expensive to fix. The sheer amount of technology pumped underneath the bonnets is astonishing. All this technology allows the humble diesel motor vehicle to be roadworthy, keeping them within the emission laws. We are currently on Euro Stage 6 and 7 emission laws. All this technology and complication means more expense when they do go wrong.
Although diesel cars produce less CO2 emissions than petrol cars, they produce a hefty amount of NOx gasses. If you do not know what NOx gasses are you should. Nitrogen oxide is produced by diesel cars and is extremely hazardous to health as well as the environment. This is the Achilles heel for the diesel motor vehicle and the reason why governments have changed their policies to make diesel engines more expensive to own and run.
Volvo says they are going to stop making brand new diesel products and that in 3 – 5 years stop making them altogether. Does this mean diesel cars are a thing of the past already? Well no, Audi has just released a whole new range of “S” model cars all packing a diesel engine!
So the picture is confused and there is no right or wrong answer. The balance of pros and cons to ownership of a diesel motor vehicle is subjective. It all depends on what you like driving and what kinds of driving you do. If you do 200 miles per day on the motorway a diesel is probably for you but if you potter around your local city centre stuck in traffic then a petrol engine is probably better. With petrol and diesel both being banned by 2040 anyway, I think you should simply enjoy driving in your favourite car now. We will all have to wait and see what the vehicles of the future hold for us.