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UK car buyers turning to petrol over diesel

Written by: Neil

Car buyers up and down the country are increasingly turning their backs on diesel-powered options and instead find themselves more attracted to petrol varieties.

According to the findings of a new study from What Car?, more than seven in ten UK adults would describe themselves as being likely or very likely to choose petrol for their next car. This compares favourably to the corresponding figure of just four in ten who would favour diesel.

Diesel car sales have either matched or even exceeded petrol sales in recent years. For instance, in 2014 and 2015, diesel models represented 50.1 per cent and 48.5 per cent of the overall market respectively.

However, this trend appears to be in decline, with running costs and environmental concerns being cited as the major driving factors behind it. Indeed, this is particularly the case in light of widespread concerns that have been raised in the wake of last year's Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal.

Engine performance and good fuel consumption are still rated as the two most important factors for car buyers, so cost and sustainability appear to be becoming more important in the eyes of consumers.

Over 84 per cent of those surveyed said they were also concerned about the possibility of future legal changes that could affect the cost of diesel ownership in the future. Retail price, fuel duty and road tax were listed as examples of areas where costs could escalate.

Despite this focus on environmental concerns, hybrids and electric cars are still not tempting many car buyers.

Between 12 per cent and 32 cent of respondents said they would consider buying a hybrid – and more than 48 per cent admitted it would not be very likely they buy an electric car.

Steve Huntingford, What Car? editor, said: "Buyers don't appear to be overly concerned about environmental factors.

"The choice of car is usually determined by the financial aspects of the purchase; if buyers fear a diesel crackdown and petrol engines are cheaper to buy while being almost as efficient, it's easy to understand the changes taking place."


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