I've received a lot of emails about the merits and otherwise of buying a petrol or diesel. Here is just one sample:
"Your 'Motors' supplement is excellent – very readable and interesting. A few weeks ago you had an article about the economics of diesel cars and you said that anyone doing fewer than 10,000 miles (16,000km) should look at the economics of petrol over diesel. I do about 15,000m a year and am looking to buy a small family car. What should I do?"
Eddie: I think we have become brainwashed into thinking we must have a diesel. I'm a fan of course when it is in a big car that is going to cover 20,000km or a lot more. Diesels make sense at that stage.
But so many people are putting up 8,000km or 12,000km a year and have paid extra (yes, they tend to cost a bit more) for a diesel that will take a long, long time to make up the difference between the higher price and the lower outlay on fuel. Of course you are more likely to get a higher trade-in on a diesel and that must be factored in. But even allowing for that, why go to the expense and bother of additional outlay and have it lying idle for so long when a less-costly petrol can do the same job for you?
As well as that, some of the petrols they are making now are really frugal and can match diesels.
So all I am saying is that if you put up fewer than 14,000km or 15,000km each year, take a few petrols into your review of models you might like to buy.