Petrol or Diesel? – The Pros and Cons

| 01 October 2022

The UK are set to ban the sale of new petrol or diesel cars that are unable to cover a ‘significant distance’ in zero-emission mode in 2030. In effect, this means that only brand-new all-electric or plug-in hybrids will be sold when the ban comes into operation. Even so the petrol/diesel market remains strong. Team Motorfinity considers the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you make an informed choice.

Petrol and diesel vehicles are a lot ‘cleaner’ than they were a decade ago and so, despite the looming ban, they are still a popular choice in 2022. Sales are high for both, and the advice is clear – buy according to your lifestyle:

Living in or frequently drive in an urban/suburban area and most of your journeys are short?

Then petrol is the preferred choice for you. If you’re just doing short trips around town, then buying a diesel car is unlikely to be the best choice particularly in the case of modern diesel cars and vans using a system called Selective Catalytic Reduction to reduce harmful emissions of nitrogen dioxide. This system requires regular long trips to keep the filters (DPF) clear or blockages can occur causing problems, extra servicing costs and inconvenience. Diesel vehicles also command a higher purchase price, and this cost won’t be offset by fuel savings. Petrol vehicles are cheaper to purchase than diesel and you will pay less for fuel per litre.

Do you regularly cover a lot of high-speed miles commuting via motorways?

Diesel vehicles give better fuel economy (mpg) than their petrol counterparts. You may pay less for petrol per litre, but you could well end up using more of it. Diesel engines are at their most efficient on longer drives at higher average speeds.

Are you needing a vehicle with towing ability?

If you own a caravan, trailer or the like, then a diesel-fuelled car is preferable as it offers more torque giving a greater capacity for handling extra weight.

All the above are considerations when deciding on which fuel-type suits you. The table below gives you the pros and cons in a nutshell:

Pros and cons of petrol cars


Cheaper to buy

Typically, less noisy and more refined engine

No DPF to clog

Statistically cheaper to service with better MOT pass rates

Cheaper fuel


Less economic on fuel over longer journeys

Greater CO2 emissions

Inferior towing ability

Higher company car tax

Pros and cons of diesel cars


More fuel efficient over longer journeys/ longer range

Good motorway performer

Low CO2 emissions

Higher torque ideal for towing

Slightly lower company car tax


Higher purchase price

Typically, less appealing engine sound

Statistically, higher servicing costs and lower MOT pass rates

Blocked filters (DPFs) can be problematic

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