Make sure a rush to diesel doesn't cost you money
Published 23/01/2013 | 05:00
THE level of fixation with diesel is in danger of costing many low-mileage buyers dearly.
An important recent study showed how those clocking up small mileage will be years and years clawing back the difference between the higher purchase price of their diesel and what their car costs to run each year.
Diesels usually sell really well because in general they have lower emissions and that means lower road tax.
And questions about the level of road tax on a new car is one of the top three queries that potential buyers pose when looking to purchase.
But buyers should beware of making the mistake of opting for a higher-priced diesel car because they think they are getting a better deal on road tax alone.
For those putting up a lot of miles they make real sense.
But for many who only potter around in them, it can take a long, long time for lower running costs to bridge the gap to a higher initial price.
Lots of people who don't need them are buying diesels. They would be perfectly well off with a lower-priced, if higher consumption, petrol.
Why? Because the gap between initial outlay and incremental savings can take years and years.
Service intervals can be longer too. And you are paying less interest on a lower loan for the car. So there are a lot of hidden counterbalancing costs.
Equally valid is the fact that you can make significant savings on fuel consumption through how you drive the car.
We have carried out several experiments here over the years and the difference between best and worst can be as high as eight-to-10 miles to the gallon.
So there is many a way to bridge the gap between higher purchase price and perceived savings in running costs.
Therefore, put the brakes on the rush to buy diesel because just everyone else is doing so.
There are some superb small petrols out there that will cater for a lot of people who do 5,000km to 12,000km a year.