Petrol, Diesel and Alternative Energy

If you’re looking into buying a new vehicle, one of the main questions you’ll need to ask yourself is what kind of fuel it runs on. This will affect a whole range of things moving forward, from how expensive the vehicle is to run, to the overall performance of the vehicle.
In addition to this, a petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric vehicle will have different impacts on the environment. Different makes and models will have varying levels of CO2 and nitrous oxide emissions, for instance. With all of these things to consider, it can be tricky knowing which type of vehicle to opt for. That’s why we’ve created a helpful guide on the various benefits of each type of vehicle!



Buying a Petrol Vehicle

If you’re looking to buy a relatively cheap vehicle, petrol is probably the way to go. Generally speaking, they are cheaper than diesel cars, and are almost always cheaper than hybrids or electric vehicles, unless you’re shopping at an incredibly high end! The main reason for this is that the technology installed in diesel vehicles, which reduces CO2 emissions, is expensive to produce.
If you’re considering buying a new or second-hand petrol vehicle, we’ve outlined some of the main advantages and disadvantages below:

Pros of Petrol

  • Petrol vehicles are generally less expensive than ones that run on other types of fuel
  • Because there are more vehicles that run on petrol on the market, if you need to replace parts, these are cheaper and easier to source
  • Petrol vehicles don’t rely on a turbocharger to be powerful
  • Diesel engines have recently been discovered to emit more nitrous oxide than petrol engines, and the latter are generally quieter and smoother too


Cons of Petrol

  • Petrol vehicles are normally worse in terms of mileage than diesel
  • Due to the fact that they clog up faster, petrol engines will usually need more regular maintenance than other engines
  • While the fuel itself tends to be cheaper per gallon, as you need to fill up more often, petrol is more expensive overall


Buying a Diesel Vehicle

There are a number of things that make buying a diesel vehicle an attractive option. They are generally accepted to require less maintenance, have superior fuel efficiency, and can be more powerful than a petrol engine. The thing to bear in mind though is that the upfront cost of a diesel vehicle is often more expensive than a petrol one. So you need to weigh up whether or not you’re going to get long term gains from the vehicle, or only intend to keep it for a few years.
As with petrol engines, we’ve explored some of the benefits and limitations of diesel vehicles, to help you decide which type of vehicle you’d prefer to own.

Pros of Diesel

  • As diesel engines are considered to be more efficient than petrol engines, this makes fuel prices cheaper over time
  • Due to the turbocharger a diesel engine relies on, these vehicles are usually pretty powerful, and can be great for towing a trailer or caravan
  • You should pay less tax on a diesel vehicle, as they have lower CO2 emissions
  • In most cases, a diesel engine will have a longer lifespan than the petrol equivalent


Cons of Diesel

  • Buying a vehicle that runs on diesel rather than petrol can be a bigger upfront cost
  • In terms of fuel, diesel almost always costs more per litre than petrol
  • It can be comparatively expensive to replace or repair a part, as there are less diesel vehicles on the road
  • Diesel engines give out various emissions, such as hydrocarbons, nitrous oxide (N₂O), and soot particulates


Buying a Hybrid or Electric Vehicle

If neither petrol nor diesel appeals to you, you may decide to look into hybrid or electric vehicles. The majority of hybrids come with a petrol combustion engine, which is provided with additional power by an electric motor. And an electric vehicle is just powered by batteries and an electric motor. Check out the pros and cons below, to help you decide whether you wish to get either of these options as your next set of wheels!

Pros of Hybrids and Electric Cars

  • In terms of fuel, electric vehicles and hybrids can be as cheap as half the price, when compared to diesel and petrol vehicles
  • Both of these types of vehicle are better for the environment, as they emit minimal or no harmful emissions
  • These vehicles are quieter than petrol or diesel ones
  • Electric vehicles are exempt from road tax, as they don’t emit any toxic substances, and as hybrids have incredibly low emissions, they are cheap to tax


Cons of Hybrids and Electric Cars

  • The upfront cost of a hybrid or electric vehicle is normally higher than if you were to buy a petrol or diesel car
  • As the technology is relatively new, it can be expensive to repair or replace parts in the engines of these vehicles
  • You may not be able to travel too far without needing to charge your vehicle, especially with a fully electric car




Other Things to Consider

While we’ve listed the most important considerations above, such as the initial expense of the vehicle, as well as fuel emissions, there are a few other things to think about too. These include the overall running costs, the depreciation of the vehicle, and vehicle performance.

Running Costs

When buying fuel from a petrol station, diesel is usually more expensive per gallon than petrol. And hybrids and electric vehicles can be even cheaper than petrol – if charging an electric car from home, it could cost as little as £5 for a full charge, and between around £10 and £20 at a public charging station.

Vehicle Depreciation

This is not something a lot of people think about, but if you’re planning to sell your vehicle before too long, you may wish to consider its depreciation level. It’s impossible to know at exactly what rate any vehicle will depreciate, but you can generally get a good idea by researching online. Most petrol and diesel vehicles depreciate at roughly the same rate, while electric vehicles and hybrids tend to keep their value for longer.

Vehicle Performance

The pulling power of a diesel engine, which has more torque, is known to be superior to that of a petrol engine. This means that towing and overtaking are easier. This may not impact you too much – it will depend on whether you do a lot of motorway driving, as well as your lifestyle.

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