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To Diesel or Not to Diesel? Part Two: is Diesel Best For You?

To Diesel or Not to Diesel? Part Two: is Diesel Best For You?

Having blindly trusted car manufacturers when they told us that diesel was the best choice for our wallets as well as the environment, the diesel scandal and increased charges for diesel vehicles have left plenty of brits feeling more than a little bit confused about what is best.

Last week, we looked at Dieselgate, what it entailed, and what it ended up costing VW as well as other manufacturers. But is it possible that the reaction to the scandal was in fact an overreaction? If you are looking at buying a new (or new to you) car, and electric or hybrid isn’t an option for you right now, it is possible that diesel is the most appropriate.

When is diesel a good option?

With people losing trust in diesel vehicles, there can be some bargains about. For some, diesel is a great option, which means that you are even more likely to be able to grab yourself a deal. Diesel is about 20% more efficient than petrol for longer distances and higher speed driving like motorway driving. However, if your trips are usually less than 15 miles long and more stop-start than motorway, you could run into problems with your DPF.


The DPF (diesel particulate filter) is a part of your exhaust system. When you drive at higher speeds, your engine gets hot enough that the soot collected by the DPF burns off. Lower speed, shorter distance driving doesn’t heat the engine up as much, and so the soot doesn’t get burnt. This build up can result in a blocked DPF; it sounds relatively simple but cleaning a DPF is expensive, and replacing it is even more so. If you notice that your diesel is losing power, smelling, producing more fumes than normal, or showing poor fuel economy, your DPF could be the culprit; head straight to your local garage to get it checked out.

To summarise, if you take longer, faster trips (such as regular motorway commutes) a diesel car is most probably the best option for you, providing better fuel quality and more power. If you are after a run around for inner-city or town commutes, a smaller, petrol engine is the greener option. If you use your diesel for shorter trips, it is a good idea to schedule in a longer trip once a month to allow the engine to get hot enough that it burns off the debris in the DPF.

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