Something that crosses every motorist's mind at some point, to buy petrol or diesel? When it comes to buying a new car, regardless of what you may use it for, there are a huge number of options you need to consider. One of the most popular concerns, certainly from an economical point of view, is whether you should be driving a car which runs on petrol, or one which prefers diesel. To the untrained onlooker, there may not be that much of a difference – but there are factors to consider on both sides of the argument. A number of key sources in the motoring industry have highlighted pros and cons for both types of fuel. Petrol Sources agree that, on the whole, the cost of a petrol-operated vehicle will cost less than that of a diesel equivalent; certainly on face-value. WhatCar.com advises that if you are in the market for a smaller, lower-maintenance vehicle, you can expect to be paying less outright for a car which runs on petrol – making a further point that you will be likely to spend much more at the fuelling pumps on a diesel model than on pure petroleum. CarBuyer.com makes a point against running a petrol motor, stating that resale values will most certainly be less if you are not selling on a car which runs on diesel fuel. While WhatCar.com advises that this is less clear-cut and is dependent on other factors after a three-year period, making the case that depreciation can vary from model to model. Handily, WhatCar.com also hosts a 'Depreciation Calculator', in an effort to make the whole process a little simpler. Diesel On the other side of the coin, there is the argument that you will pay more outright for a diesel-powered vehicle for a sound reason – that you will reap the benefits along the way; particularly when it comes down to fuel efficiency (i.e. how far that extra money at the pumps will actually take you). Auto Express makes the case that diesel cars are better suited to long journeys and sustained trips owing to the fact that you are guaranteed much more in the way of usage from this type of fuel (CarBuyer.com agrees here, explaining that it is merely a case of value for money – you will part with more money to fill up with diesel, but it will take you much further). AutoTrader's US blog agrees too; advising that if you’re likely to cover more motorway than you are menial trips on an occasional basis, you may well benefit from purchasing diesel. However, maintaining a diesel car can be more costly than running its petrol equivalent; though this again ties in with the earlier point of resale value and depreciation. The Bottom Line The schools of thought are generally balanced on what is better for the consumer, and while there are no hard or fast answers as to which type of car is beneficial overall, it really is a case of taking into account what you are looking for in a vehicle. If you are looking to drive short distances, pay less for the privilege and require a car that needs the lowest maintenance available, consider buying petrol. If you commute or drive for long periods (i.e. via motorway), it is highly likely that you will reap the financial and efficiency benefits of a diesel car, with the added bonus that with the correct operation and care, you may benefit more in terms of resale three years or more down the line. Don’t forget – test driving always helps, too. If it drives comfortably, and it fits both your budget and your lifestyle, you may need not worry about which camp you belong to. One major thing to consider is that local authorities are increasingly implementing fines for diesel cars - especially Islington Council and that could put off some prospective diesel buyers in the future.
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