Should I get a Diesel Car?


If you’re wondering whether to buy or lease a diesel vehicle in 2019 then you’ve no doubt got a few doubts.

You’re not alone. From Jan to March, sales of diesel cars fell by 20% compared with the first quarter of 2018.  And while they still account for 27% of all car sales, this is a drop from 44% two years ago.

So are they even worth considering?

Probably not if you only do short journeys. The main reasons are: (1) that a diesel car’s lacks efficiency during stop-start journeys and (2) the diesel particulate filter (DPF) doesn’t get hot enough to burn off the exhaust soot it collects. This means it can get blocked up, which could in turn mean an expensive fix.

But if you spend a lot of time on the road or have a caravan then diesel might still be a good option. As the AA says, “Diesels have a narrower rev range but lots of torque, making them better suited to towing and more flexible on motorways or hills where fewer gear changes may be required.”

What about car tax?

Diesel cars were favoured by successive UK governments because they have lower CO2 emissions and better fuel economy. Accordingly, diesel drivers benefitted from lower road tax and company car tax, which boosted demand.

But as public attention slipped from greenhouse gas emissions to air quality and pollution in cities, diesel vehicles have come under increased scrutiny.

The amount of pollution a car produces depends on the fuel used and the age of the vehicle: petrol is cleaner than diesel, and newer cars are cleaner than older ones.

From April 2018, new diesel cars that don’t meet the Euro 6d air quality standards have been moved up a tax band in their first-year vehicle excise duty rate. The amount that new diesel drivers pay depends on which vehicle they purchase or lease.

Someone buying a typical Ford Focus diesel, for example, could expect to pay an extra £20. A Volkswagen Golf buyer will pay £40, a Vauxhall Mokka £300, and a Land Rover Discovery £400.

Diesel-powered company car drivers have also been subject to a benefit-in-kind supplement tax increase from 3% to 4%.

Buy or lease?

Despite the negative headlines, and the removal of incentives, diesel cars are still a good option for some drivers.  

But national efforts to improve air quality will cause diesel cars to fall in value.

This doesn’t just include the potential for new taxes on diesel vehicles. It also includes local schemes like London’s Ultra Low Emissions Zones, which can charge vehicles up to £12.50 per day to drive on certain roads in the capital.

Other towns and cities across the UK are in the process of implementing similar schemes (though the proposed Greater Manchester Clean Air Zone won’t apply to private cars as it was not thought that this would improve pollution any faster and would negatively impact deprived communities).

The value of diesel cars has also been affected by the success of lease financing, an oversupply of second-hand diesels, the VW emissions scandal and the growth of electric vehicles.

By leasing a diesel (or petrol) car, you avoid some of the risk associated with your car plummeting in value.

If the second-hand value of the diesel car has fallen by the time your lease has expired, you can just hand the car back without incurring any losses.

For more information on vehicle leasing, speak to a member of our team today. Call: 01925 713 212.

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