Which is better – petrol or diesel cars? [Infographic]

Which is better – petrol or diesel cars? [Infographic]

Has the time come to buy a new set of wheels? If so, you may be wondering which is better, petrol or diesel cars. The decision isn’t always easy, with both having pros and cons to consider. Read on to find out more. 

Which is better petrol or diesel cars

Petrol vs. diesel cars: What to consider 

Choosing between a petrol and a diesel car is a dilemma that many people face when it’s time to upgrade their vehicle. Your decision won’t just affect how much you pay at the pump but will also impact the performance of the car, the criteria of an MOT, and running costs like insurance and tax. Think carefully before deciding which is better, petrol or diesel cars. There are many factors to consider before you make your choice.

Purchase price 

When it comes to purchasing price, diesel cars are usually more expensive to buy. This is largely because diesel engines tend to require extra hardware to reduce emissions and comply with stricter EU laws. Diesel fuel is often more costly too. However, whilst petrol cars may be cheaper to buy, there’s a trade-off in that they’re usually less economical to run than diesel vehicles.

Running costs

The average cost per litre of diesel stands at 134p compared with 131p of unleaded petrol. This makes diesel quite significantly more expensive. However, diesel engines offer better fuel economy to make up for this, making them cheaper to run overall. They are simply more efficient at converting fuel to mechanical energy than petrol engines.

Another factor to consider when choosing between a petrol and diesel car is the cost of road tax. Diesel cars generally are liable for less road tax since they have lower CO2 emissions than petrol cars. In terms of insurance, you can also expect to pay more per annum for a diesel car. This is simply due to them being more expensive. Insurers need to consider the extra expense if a diesel vehicle is stolen or requires costly repairs. 


When it comes to emissions, the difference between diesel and petrol cars is stark. Diesel cars use 15-20% less fuel on average, particularly when travelling for many miles on the motorway. Since they use less fuel than petrol cars, they also generate less carbon dioxide (CO2) – a greenhouse gas that can have a devastating impact on the environment. 

However, whilst it’s great news that diesel cars produce less CO2 emissions, we shouldn’t ignore the fact they can create several other damaging by-products. Diesel engines emit higher levels of particulates, which are microscopic pieces of soot generated during the combustion process. These particulates can penetrate into the lungs, causing irritation and sometimes triggering asthma attacks. They also emit more nitrogen oxide (NOx) gases, which can contribute to climate change.


In terms of which is better, petrol or diesel cars in terms of performance on the roads, diesel may come up trumps. This is largely because they have more torque, giving them greater pulling power. If you tow a trailer or caravan, this is one good reason to opt for a diesel car. Diesel cars are usually able to overtake other vehicles faster too, not requiring as many gear changes as petrol cars. Although, keep in mind that diesel engines can be quite a bit louder than petrol engines.  


Whilst diesel cars come with many advantages, from fuel efficiency to providing superior performance on the roads, one big downside is their reliability. Research has found that diesel cars are over three times more likely to break down petrol cars. They can also cost up to 20% more to fix, potentially leading to some big repair bills. 

The biggest problem with diesel engines is that they rely on self-compression, which means that fuel is compressed to extremely high pressures. This puts greater pressure on the internal engine parts. Faults can also be harder and more costly to diagnose in many cases. If you’re considering buying a used diesel car, it makes sense to avoid those with several miles on the clock. 

Any there any alternatives to petrol and diesel cars? 

Absolutely. Whilst the internal combustion engine, fuelled by either petrol or diesel, has governed the automotive landscape for more than a century, times are set to change. This type of engine is largely dependent on non-renewable fossil fuels – the burning of which emits a number of air pollutants harmful to both the environment and health. As such, the sale of cars powered fully by petrol or diesel is set to be banned by 2030 in the UK. 

Many alternative fuels are being proposed to take over from petrol and diesel. Electricity is the most likely option, with more and more people opting for vehicles powered this way. 2020 Last saw the biggest yearly increase in the number of registrations, with over 175,000 electric vehicles registered. This showed a growth of 66% from 2019. 

Car servicing in Barnsley and Wombwell

Whether you have a diesel or petrol car, it’s essential that it’s serviced regularly. Not only will it keep your vehicle roadworthy but can also help maintain its warranty. For car servicing in Barnsley or Wombwell, look no further than Wyatt Auto Services. Located on Mitchell’s Industrial Park, we’re widely considered one of the leading car garages in the area. Our auto centre is fully equipped and our team of mechanics are experienced in working on a wide range of makes and models of vehicle. 

Contact us 

If you’re looking for car servicing in Wombwell or Barnsley, contact the team at Wyatt Auto Services. You can reach us on 01226 979 087 or send us a message via our website. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can with answers to your questions or a competitive quote. 

Wyatt Auto Services is a registered company in England.

Registered Number: 6341675

VAT Number: 916070443. Website design and marketing by jask Media Ltd.

© Wyatt Auto Services 2024. All Rights Reserved