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Diesel vs Petrol-Which is Better?

Posted on 10th February 2022
Diesel vs Petrol-Which is Better?

When looking to buy a new or used car you often have much to weigh up. How much does it cost? How reliable is it? Does it run on petrol or diesel? Our team at Euphoria Finance can help with all those questions.

Today we look at both petrol and diesel vehicles and assess the pros and cons of both so that when we, or another car company give you the answer, you can see whether it effects your decision for your new car finance or used car finance purchase.

What is the difference between petrol and diesel?

In essence, they are the same-they both help make your vehicle run but it is how they are used, how much they cost and how you use your car that makes such a difference.

Diesel is, by its nature, a heavier dirtier fuel that requires a higher boiling point. When in a car, air is compressed until the pressure combusts the diesel, meaning it won’t need to be ignited manually. It is a powerful form of combustion and can be quite hard going on the engine.

Petrol on the other hand is ignited by the spark plug, this ignition then causes a piston to operate which in turn sees various mechanical parts come together to get the car moving.

What is more expensive, petrol or diesel?

A diesel car will tend to give you more MPG (miles per gallon) but its cost per litre is more expensive than petrol and this can sometimes deter people as they see this price displayed on station forecourts. As of December 2021, research by the AA showed that the most expensive diesel was 150.8p per litre whereas the most expensive petrol was 147.2p per litre. So, whilst the fill up of the car may initially cost you more, you’ll get more value from a diesel vehicle. However, if you don’t drive much and therefore don’t tot up the higher mileage then petrol would be the most cost-effective option for you.

Tax, insurance, and maintenance


It isn’t just the cost of refuelling the vehicle you need to be aware of though. Diesel cars have a higher tax rate due to the types of gas they emit. They may emit less CO2 than their petrol counterparts but other toxic gases like nitrogen oxide contribute towards a higher tax rate. The amount you pay will vary depending on the emissions. If your car meets Euro 6 standards there won’t be much in it. If it doesn’t you can expect huge differences between petrol and diesel cars. For example, the tax on a petrol car that emits 135g/km will cost just over £200 whereas the diesel equivalent will be well over £500. The good news though is that all new diesel cars, must meet Euro 6 standards.

The vehicle itself will also be more expensive when it is a diesel. The more intricate manufacture and its necessity to pass emissions testing mean that you can be looking at over £1000 more to buy a diesel car. That said, due to the extra work put into the engine and its alluring MPG, when it comes to selling it, your car won’t depreciate as much as a petrol one.


Due to the way a diesel engine works, it can make them more prone to wear and tear which could mean more maintenance is needed. This is a driving force in making the insurance of a diesel vehicle more expensive than a petrol one. A recent report indicates that costs can be around 10-15% more.


There are certain elements in a diesel car that simply do not appear in a petrol car and they can lead to huge repair bills. All diesel cars have what is called a DPF (diesel particle filter) and they NEED to be looked after. They collect the soot from exhaust emissions and need to be emptied regularly, normally done by driving fast for a period of time, which causes the particles to burn out. If, though you are only doing short journeys at slow speeds, it will constantly fill up with these particles. With this being in place to reduce emissions and help your car run, you will simply put, fail your MOT and face a huge bill to get it repaired.


As mentioned earlier, diesel cars are more cost effective for their MPG and that is why for many, a diesel car is ideal for long journeys where the average speed is a little higher. The torque of the engine not enjoying lower gears also points towards an automatic being your best choice. Petrol on the other hand, benefits the driver in a manual car or the driver that does shorter, slower journeys.


Where Co2 emissions are higher in petrol cars, the mix of chemicals produced by a diesel car causes considerably more damage with the fumes from Nitrogen Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide over 11 times more than those from a petrol car.

Neither are significantly more friendly to the environment than the other, the higher Co2 of petrol or the mix of gases form diesel, both have their negative aspects that are a danger to both health and environment. With this category, there is no real winner.


It is a tough one to call. Diesel has a more expensive initial outlay, but the better MPG will save you on fuel costs. A diesel car will sell for a higher price than a petrol car but may cost you more in repairs during the time you have it. Maybe you drive more on the motorway than through suburban roads, if so then diesel works better for you, or perhaps your main concern is the planet, in which case, petrol has a slight advantage.

Whatever you decide. Our expert team can advise and support you with new and used car finance as well as first car finance for new drivers. Contact us today for a free quick car finance quote and let us guide you towards the right car for you.


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