In the third part of our Fuel series, we look at diesel.
As price-pressured motorists look to get more bang from their buck, sales of diesel light vehicles have increased rapidly over the last couple of years. Due to lower fuel consumption rates than an equivalent petrol engine, diesel engines are the standard in heavy vehicles. So why not in light engines too?
- Modern diesel engines are as quiet, smooth and powerful as petrol engines and are more fuel-efficient.
- One disadvantage often mentioned by NRMA Members is that diesel handpieces at garages often have a film of diesel fuel over them, as any spillage does not evaporate as quickly as petrol. And if the diesel gets on your hands or clothing, the smell is difficult to remove. Retailers are making efforts to avoid this but have not yet found a perfect system.
- Diesel fuel does not contain more energy than petrol. In fact, it contains marginally less.
- Whereas the intake of a petrol engine has a throttle blade in it, which forms an obstruction and reduces efficiency, a diesel engine doesn’t. Therefore, it gets lower fuel consumption.
- Diesel variants are often more expensive to purchase than the petrol ones, so if your interest is purely in lower running costs, make sure it is going to make sense for you by checking out the NRMA’s Car Operating Cost Calculator.
- In many cases, the higher initial purchase cost outweighs the reduced fuel cost. But you are also gambling on the price of diesel staying similar to petrol over several years.
- If you have never driven a diesel-engined vehicle and are considering purchasing one, you should test drive a few to see how it feels.
If you drive a diesel car, do you feel you’ve you got your money back in reduced fuel/servicing costs? And are you happy with the driving characteristics of diesel?