Is it Still Worth Buying a Diesel Car?

Jack Dreyer | Thursday 5th January 2023 4:43pm

Person fills up their grey diesel car.

If youíre looking for a new set of wheels, there has never been a greater variety of vehicle types on the market than now. From diesel and regular petrol to plug-in-hybrids and fully electric cars, knowing which option is right for your next car can seem daunting to say the least.

If you look at Britainís roads, many people are still driving diesel cars, despite the rising popularity of Ďgreenerí vehicles such as hybrids and electrics. However, as for buying diesel cars, thatís a different story.

Read on to find out whether it's worth buying a diesel car or not.

Why buy a diesel car?

Mechanic performs routine maintenance on a vehicle.

First of all, letís look at some of the reasons why you might like to make your next car a diesel.


Itís a well-known fact that diesel cars are amongst the most hard-wearing on the market. To put it simply: diesel cars are built to last. This is largely due to the overall design of diesel engines, most notably the fact they are gear-driven, have better lubrication, and encounter less wear.

However, the compression ignition method of power also makes diesel engines more durable, as do the stronger components inside those engines.

On average, a regular petrol engine can typically operate for about 200,000 miles before any serious maintenance or repairs are needed. A diesel engine, though, can run for up to 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 miles without the need for significant maintenance. If kept in good working condition, a diesel engine could well last you 30 years. Whether the car around the engine will need serious maintenance before the million miles mark, however, is another question.

Fuel efficiency

Diesel cars are historically more fuel efficient too, making them cheaper to run. At a time when the price of fuel seems to be soaring ever higher, it makes sense to many drivers to purchase a vehicle that is economical.

Compared with regular petrol, diesel fuel contains approximately 10 - 15% more energy. Whatís more, diesel vehicles can usually run about 20 - 35% further on a gallon of fuel than petrol ones.

Why consider alternatives to diesel cars?

A modern electric car plugged in to charge at the curbside.

On the other hand, there are plenty of valid reasons why diesel cars arenít always peopleís first choice anymore. Letís look at these now.

Environmental impact

Itís common knowledge that diesel cars are fairly unforgiving when it comes to the environment, especially in comparison to their electric counterparts.

Emissions from diesel contain harmful pollutants that can have both adverse health and environmental effects. These originate from the combustion process and usually include:

  • Unburned hydrocarbons (HC)
  • Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
  • Particulate Matter (PM)
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)

It is a combination of these pollutants ó alongside the release of CO2 ó that contribute to the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which, in turn, has a knock-on effect on global warming. So, if you care about the planet a lot, a diesel car probably isnít your best bet. Also, emissions are now a part of the MOT which is definitely something to think about.

Legislative changes

On account of their high emissions, diesel cars are now subject to a whole new list of regulations too.

In the UK, for example, both new diesel and petrol cars alike are being banned from sale by 2030. Whatís more, beyond 2035 the only new cars that will be sold will be 100% electric (or, depending on their development, hydrogen-powered cars).

More widely, the EU has also announced its plan to completely ban petrol and diesel cars being manufactured from 2035. This goes hand in hand with the UKís recent investment into the electric vehicle industry, including £1.3 billion back in 2020 for the construction of EV charging points.


If planning on buying a diesel car, you should take into account some of the associated costs of owning one. For example, typically city-dwellers opt for more environmentally friendly cars due to taxes such as the LEZ and ULEZ.

If you want to drive your diesel car through central London, you should expect to pay £12.50 for the day or face a £160 fine (reduce to £80 if paid within 14 days)

Itís clear then, that the powers that be arenít making it easy to own a diesel car should you want one or not.

Is it still worth buying a diesel car?

When assessing the pros and cons of purchasing a diesel car today, itís pretty even, with the deciding factor being the attitude and lifestyle of the driver. If you want a reliable, durable car that is cheap to run, opt for a diesel. If you want a newer, more environmentally-friendly vehicle, diesel is not for you.

Speak to Kwik Fit

Whichever vehicle you have, it is important to get it serviced regularly to ensure it stays roadworthy for as long as possible. If you have any further questions, be sure to check in with the technicians at your local Kwik Fit. And, as always, for more helpful motoring advice, keep up with our blog.

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Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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