Do diesel or petrol engines last longer?

Looking at whether diesel or petrol engines last longer and which you should choose.

Do diesel or petrol engines last longer?

When considering which car type to buy you may be faced with the decision of what engine type to choose. So will it be diesel or will it be petrol? Common knowledge is that diesel engines offer better fuel economy, and some believe they are better for the environment. So which is best?  In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each. We’ll also answer the important question do diesel or petrol engines last longer?

Pros of diesel engines

    • They are more economical if you drive long distances. It’s not a rule of thumb that diesel engines are more economical. In fact, if you typically drive short distances such as popping to the shops or doing the school run. Then a petrol engine will almost certainly be a more cost effective option. However, if you spend hours trawling up and down the motorway regularly. Then a diesel engine would give you more mile for your money. A typical diesel engine gets around 30 percent better fuel economy than its gas counterpart.
    • Because diesel engines offer better fuel economy they can be considered to be better for the environment. The emissions they produce are dirtier than a petrol engine, but because you can get more miles for the equivalent volume of emissions they can be considered more environmentally friendly.

They perform better. Diesel engines have a powerful fuel injection. This means they are generally more responsive and have better torque than their petrol counterparts.

Cons of diesel engines

    • Diesel cars are more expensive. If you choose to buy a diesel powered car then you are likely to pay an extra £2000 plus on the list price of the vehicle. This could make any fuel economy benefits redundant so try to take this into account when making your decision.
    • The price of diesel fuel is higher than petrol. While you get more miles for your money the fuel price is higher leading some people to question the economical savings.
    • Not all car models are offered in diesel so if you are set on a particular make and model of car then you may be out of luck if it isn’t produced in a diesel version.

Transport experts have been talking for some time about diesel cars being discontinued in the UK. This is because the government is under pressure to place more importance on reducing air pollution.The Government is keen to rid Britain’s roads of diesel cars by 2030. They have recently announced a scrappage scheme for diesel car drivers which will be launched in 2017. Read more about if diesel cars are being discontinued in our blog.

  • Diesel cars cost more to repair
  • Diesel cars usually cost more to insure

Pros of petrol engines

  • Petrol is cheaper than diesel at the pump. Not only that, petrol cars have always been cheaper to buy overall
  • Some people prefer the quiet and refined driving experience of a petrol car over a diesel car
  • Parts for diesel cars are cheaper meaning that repairs aren’t as costly
  • Petrol cars are cheaper to insure

Cons of petrol engines

  • Petrol engines use more fuel than diesel and can be more expensive to run if you do a lot of miles

Are diesel cars really more environmentally friendly?

Up until January 2017, the government had pioneered the use of diesel vehicles under the rationale that they are 20% more efficient and therefore better for the environment. What hadn’t been considered is that diesel engines produce twice as much harmful nitrogen dioxide as their petrol counterparts. In January the government made a U-turn stating that diesel engines are actually worse for the environment and will be putting in measures to reduce the number of diesel cars on Britain’s roads.

blurred picture on petrol and diesel pumps

Nitrogen dioxide contributes to some significant health concerns and outdoor air pollution is responsible for 40% of deaths from stroke and heart disease. Defra estimates that deaths in the UK are 4% higher due to nitrogen dioxide pollution – around 23,500 extra deaths per year.

So, do diesel or petrol engines last longer?

Diesel engines do last longer than petrol ones. Diesel is a light oil and when burned and used as fuel by the vehicle it lubricates the parts of the engine. This prolongs the life of the engine. Petrol is a detergent and washes away oil from the components of the engine, therefore, wearing it out quicker.

Typically you can get between 250,000 km to 300,000 km from a petrol engine before it starts to burn oil and wear out. A diesel engine can easily manage 500,000 km and still have room to keep going and going. If your diesel engine is properly maintained, most mechanics say that you can expect it to run on the road for 30 years. (ref The Globe and Mail)

While diesel engines typically last longer they are more costly to repair. This is partly because of the intricate fuel pump which is expensive to repair or replace. Engine filters must be changed regularly on a diesel car and these can cost up to £100 each.

Will a diesel car be cheaper to lease?

A direct link between engine type and lease price is likely to be more commonplace as a result of the diesel scrappage scheme. Lease prices are based upon the residual value of the car. The residual value is the estimated value of the car at the end of the lease contract. Until recently diesel cars would have a stronger residual value and would, therefore, be cheaper to lease. Because the government are looking to reduce the popularity of diesel vehicles it is estimated that the residual value of a diesel car would be less, meaning that your lease payment could now be higher.

glass money jar on wooden table with hand putting more money in

Why are diesel cars more expensive to insure?

Diesel cars can be around 10-15% more expensive than petrol equivalents. Diesel tends to have higher average repair costs which reflect on the insurance. Not only that, insurers must factor in overall replacement costs into your premiums. So, with diesel cars being more expensive to buy this will also add some extra onto your premium, in the case of theft.

Diesel cars have higher average accident repair costs overall, and because insurers must factor in the higher overall replacement cost if a diesel if stolen.

focused on computer screen that shows animations of car insurance with business man and coffee to the side

In Conclusion

Deciding between a petrol or diesel car used to be a much harder conundrum. But with new developments in government legislation and the predicted decline in popularity of diesel cars in the next 25 years. It could be an easier decision. If you do a lot of mileage then a diesel car will still be the more economical choice. If you are not concerned with the long-term re-sale value of the car. Or if you are looking to lease a car. Then diesel could still be a cheaper alternative to petrol for you. However, if you don’t do a lot of miles, or if you have an interest in the environmental impact of your car, then a petrol, hybrid or electric vehicle will be the more suitable choice.

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Faye Lindeck

Faye enjoys Music, Dog Walking and Socialising with friends.

Faye is an experienced blogger with a keen eye for finding excellent information about the subjects she writes about. Giving OSV blog readers the most accurate knowledge.
Faye Lindeck

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