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Customer on forecourt choosing a car

The reasons for selecting a petrol car over diesel (or vice-versa) have been discussed previously in this blog - as you can see here - but changes over time can change opinions.

And now, according to new research undertaken by Whatcar.com, "car buyers are turning their backs on diesel powered cars in favour of petrol models." So much so that in the latest What Car? Intelligence survey, more than seven in 10 drivers questioned indicated that they would be 'likely or very likely' to choose a petrol car, in comparison to four in 10 who would consider buying a diesel.

Technological improvements in petrol engine performance and the subsequent fuel consumption decrease leading to a reduction in running costs for petrol cars is seen as one of the major factors, although the diesel emissions scandal last year is also considered a good reason.

Open fuel cap on a carAnd it seems that rumoured legislation changes that may affect the cost of ownership of diesel cars in the future, such as the retail price, fuel duty and vehicle road tax, is a worry too, with more than 84% of car buyers surveyed concerned. 

In 2014 and 2015, the market share for diesel car sales represented 50.1% and 48.5% respectively, but if the research results are to be believed, this is likely to recede, along with prospective sales of hybrid and electric cars

It seems that customers are replacing a concern for the environment with a concern for their financial situation - a situation indicated with only between 12% and 32% of buyers considering diesel or petrol hybrid vehicles, and more than 48% of buyers very unlikely to consider an electric car.

What Car? editor, Steve Huntingford, said: “There appears to have been a dramatic shift in the petrol and diesel sales seesaw. In the 2000s, legislation changes resulted in a diesel boom but after last year’s revelations and the emergence of extremely efficient downsized petrol engines, the tide has now turned.

“Buyers appear not to be overly concerned about environmental factors. Car buying is usually determined by the financial aspects of the purchase; if buyers fear a diesel crackdown and petrol engines are cheaper to buy while being almost as efficient, it’s easy to understand the changes taking place.”

Customer on WhatCar.com doing researchAs technology improves, the differences between diesel and petrol get smaller and smaller, and customer opinions will always fluctuate depending on their own requirements, their needs, and their own personal circumstances. And whether or not the electric revolution happens or not, there seems to be no time in the future planned for a complete phase-out of the fuel options.

So the choice is yours. Do your research, check the cars out, and make your decision.