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Petrol, diesel, hybrid or electric: which is better?

This week, Porsche announced that it will stop offering diesel cars, instead focusing on petrol, hybrid and electric vehicles. Although Porsche chief executive Oliver Blume was quick to stress that the company isn’t demonising diesel, the decision follows growing consumer demand for more eco-friendly hybrid and electric engines.

In August, sales of diesel cars dropped by 28.7 per cent as buyers opted for petrol and electric cars instead, but that’s not to say that we should write off diesel cars altogether. Different engines suit different requirements, so which would work best for you?


Despite the bad press that diesel cars have had of late, it wasn’t long ago they were being touted as the perfect vehicle. They are more fuel efficient, with higher miles per gallon than petrol cars, meaning that fuel costs are an average of 20 per cent lower. The engines in diesel cars also tend to last longer and produce less CO2, so the road tax is lower.

A Vehicle Excise Duty tax increase on new diesel cars was introduced earlier this year to encourage drivers to switch to other fuels, amid concerns about the impact of diesel emissions on air quality and human health. As a result, diesel cars are recommended for those who frequently undertake long-distance journeys on the motorway, as they are cheap and efficient to run. Starting in April 2019, London is introducing an Ultra Low Emissions Zone that will charge diesels that don’t meet new EU regulations an additional £12.50 a day – so perhaps not the best option if you’re a regular visitor to the city.


Petrol engines are the go-to option for people who are running a small car and primarily using it for short distance journeys. A petrol engine is lighter and cheaper to manufacture than its diesel counterpart, and has a less negative impact on the environment thanks to its comparatively cleaner emissions. Many drivers also find petrol cars more enjoyable to drive due to the responsive, high-revving engines!

They do tend to use more miles-per-gallon than diesel engines and have higher CO2 emissions, making them less economical than diesel cars. However, if you do low miles – fewer than 10,000 per year – petrol is a viable option.


Hybrid cars, as the name suggests, are a combination of a petrol engine with an electric motor and a battery. When driving at low speeds, the motor can power the car without relying on the petrol engine, and the energy that would normally be lost through braking is used to charge up the battery. As a result, hybrid cars are more energy efficient and economical for stop-start driving, making them a good choice for those who live in a city. Plug-in hybrids offer the same benefits, except they use the electric motor as the main power source so require a dedicated charging infrastructure to recharge. Hybrids are more expensive than petrol and diesel cars, and may be more difficult to repair due to the specialist skills required.


Electric cars are the most eco-friendly of the lot, producing zero emissions and causing minimal noise pollution. They may be considered the future of driving, but for now they are still comparatively expensive to buy and, due to the scarcity of recharging points, not a viable option for everyone. However, with an increasing number of car manufacturers introducing electric models, it might not be long until charging points are as common as petrol stations.

Ultimately, there’s not a one-size-fits-all option – the type of car that would work best for you is dependent on your individual circumstances. If you’re still at a crossroads, get in touch with our team who will be happy to help you find the perfect car.

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