Should I Buy a Diesel Car in 2024?

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Should I Buy a Diesel Car in 2024?

First published on: February 19, 2024

A few years back diesel cars were the popular choice among car buyers, but recently in the past few years the scenario has changed. With stricter emission norms and increased environmental concerns, diesel cars are facing criticism and have been banned in many cities around the world.

This has led many people to question whether it is still worth buying a diesel car.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about buying a diesel car in 2024.

Let’s dive in!

Reasons to Get a Diesel Car

Here are some reasons why you might consider buying a diesel car:

Fuel Efficiency

Diesel engines are known for their superior fuel efficiency when compared to their petrol counterparts. They burn fuel slower, which means they can travel longer distances on a single tank. This makes diesel cars an excellent choice for long-distance drivers who are looking to save on the cost of fuel and reduce the number of times they need to fill up. This inherent efficiency translates to significant savings over time for diesel car owners.

Higher Torque, Better Towing

Diesel engines deliver a higher level of torque at a lower RPM compared to petrol engines. This elevated torque results in a more robust overall drive and allows for better towing capacity and hauling performance. Drivers of diesel cars often appreciate the strong pull and immediacy of power, especially when climbing hills or overtaking on motorways.

It’s this kind of raw power that continues to make diesel a favoured option among individuals who require their vehicles for more heavy-duty tasks.

Durability & Lifespan

Diesel engines have historically been celebrated for their longevity and durability. Built with more robust components to withstand higher compression levels, they tend to last longer than their petrol equivalents. This resilience means that diesel cars can often maintain high performance over many miles, which, when coupled with regular maintenance, contributes to an extended vehicle lifespan.

As a result, for those who rack up a high annual mileage or who plan on owning their car for many years, a diesel engine could be a wise investment.

Better Resale Value

On the flip side, diesel cars tend to hold their value better over time when compared to their petrol equivalents. This is particularly true for models with a reputation for reliability and economy.

Despite the changing landscape of the automotive industry, the demand for second-hand diesel cars remains stable in specific markets and niches, such as with larger vehicles and SUVs where the benefits of diesel power—like torque and efficiency—are most pronounced.

As a consequence, owners of diesel vehicles can often expect a more substantial return on their investment when it comes time to sell or trade in.

Related: Why are SUVs So Popular?

Long Distance Driving

For those who routinely travel great distances, diesel cars offer a series of advantages that make them a compelling choice.

The remarkable fuel economy of diesel engines means that long-haul drivers can cover more miles between refuelling stops, serving as a significant convenience and saving time during extensive road trips.

Moreover, the sustained power and smoother ride at cruising speeds offered by diesel technology can make for a more comfortable and less taxing journey. This is especially beneficial for individuals who spend hours behind the wheel, whether for work or leisure, and require a vehicle that can effortlessly handle prolonged durations of operation.

Reasons to Avoid Buying a Diesel Car

Here are the reasons why you might want to think twice before buying a diesel car:

Higher Upfront Cost

As with most things, when it comes to cars, you usually get what you pay for.

The more advanced technology in a diesel engine means that they tend to cost more than their petrol equivalents upfront. This initial expense can be prohibitive for those on tighter budgets or who are looking for a more affordable vehicle to purchase.

Additionally, the higher cost of diesel engines can also translate into higher insurance premiums and maintenance costs.

Negative Environmental Impact

Diesel cars have come under increased scrutiny in recent years due to their negative impact on the environment.

The by-products of burning diesel fuel include high levels of nitrogen oxide—a primary contributor to air pollution—and particulate matter, which can lead to respiratory issues.

As a result, many cities around the world have banned diesel vehicles from their streets, and governments are implementing stricter emissions standards to curb the use of diesel engines.

Changing Attitudes Towards Diesel

The controversy surrounding diesel cars has led to a shift in public opinion and attitudes towards them.

Many people view diesel as an outdated technology that is being phased out in favour of more environmentally friendly alternatives, such as electric or hybrid vehicles.

As a result, diesel cars may not hold the same cachet they once did and could even become harder to sell in the future.

Stricter Emission Regulations

Governments and regulatory bodies around the world are implementing stricter emission standards for vehicles in an effort to reduce air pollution and combat climate change.

These regulations are becoming increasingly tough on diesel engines, meaning that it may become more challenging to find a diesel car that meets the required standards.

This could lead to additional costs in terms of modifications or upgrades needed to meet these regulations and maintain roadworthiness.

Resale Concerns

With the automotive industry’s trajectory steering towards greener alternatives, the long-term resale value of diesel cars is becoming an increasing concern.

Potential buyers are becoming more environmentally conscious and may be hesitant to invest in a diesel car amid the slew of emerging regulations and the growth in popularity of electric vehicles (EVs).

This shift could result in a decreased demand for diesel cars on the used market, potentially leading to a further dip in resale values in the years to come.

It’s worth considering these potential resale concerns before committing to a diesel car purchase.

Living in London or CAZ

Living in London, or within one of the many Clean Air Zones (CAZs) that now pepper towns and cities across the UK, has become increasingly complex for car owners.

With the recent expansion of the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) to encompass nearly all areas within the M25, residents are faced with a daily dilemma if they own older diesel vehicles. These vehicles, typically with Euro 4 or Euro 5 engine standards, attract a considerable fee for every journey within the zone—£12.50 in the case of London, for what could be a short trip down the road.

Although diesel cars with Euro 6-standard engines and most petrol cars (Euro 4 engines and onward) are exempt from these charges, the inception of these zones underscores a clear message: the future favours zero-emissions vehicles.

Electric vehicles (EVs), which emit no tailpipe pollutants, align perfectly with the environmental objectives that CAZs aim to achieve, presenting the most fitting choice for conscious urban dwellers.

Is There a Future for Diesel Cars?

As the automotive industry evolves, the future of diesel cars becomes increasingly uncertain. With around 11.2 million diesel cars in the UK, their number has been on a decline for three years, a trend that is expected to persist up to the 2035 ban on the sale of new diesel vehicles.

The upcoming years will see a reduction in diesel car models available, and public preference is shifting away from them, which may cause the total number of diesel cars to dwindle rapidly.

Post-2035, diesel’s longevity is an issue that many grapple with. Questions around how long manufacturers will produce spare parts, the duration oil companies will refine diesel fuel, and the rate of Electric Vehicles (EVs) adoption remain.

Despite potential hurdles, owning a diesel car might still be feasible into the 2040s. Oil companies likely will continue to cater to the diesel market as long as there is a demand.

However, as societal values align with achieving net-zero emissions targets, we may witness a rise in ‘diesel shaming’ throughout the 2030s, directed at those who have yet to embrace cleaner transportation alternatives.

Should I Buy a Diesel Car?

The decision to purchase a diesel car ultimately hinges on your specific needs, driving habits, and future expectations of vehicle ownership.

If you routinely undertake long-distance journeys, value torque for towing, and desire a vehicle with robust durability, then a diesel engine may serve you well. They are a strong contender for high-mileage drivers who benefit from diesel’s fuel efficiency.

However, if you are concerned about environmental impact, potential resale value, and increasing regulatory restrictions, it may be prudent to explore other options. With the automotive landscape shifting towards greener technologies and many regions adopting stringent emission standards, the future for diesel cars appears uncertain.

As electric and hybrid vehicles continue to advance, offering low emissions and competitive operating costs, they might be worth considering as potentially more sustainable and future-proof alternatives.

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