The Diesel vs. Petrol debate continues

Diesel price at petrol station

As pump fuel prices continue to scale upwards again, motoring journalist Iain Robertson asks, if given the choice, would he opt for one, or the other, fuel type for his next car and his response might be surprising.

For many years, as a confirmed former petrol-head, I found it very difficult to justify the change to diesel power in the late-1990s. As such, I was in a group of car buyers that may have warmed to diesel around a decade earlier, with its higher performance potential over previous oil-burners, but I remained concerned about its noxious exhaust particulate emissions.

The arrival of exhaust gas recirculation and (later) additives, such as AdBlue, provided greater confidence and the more recent engine technology developments ensured that I would not have concerns about the vehicle’s acceleration capabilities. In addition, most diesels of the post-Millennium period proved to be not only more refined but even more frugal than their forebears.

However, along with much-improved technology arrives a small number of additional maintenance issues that can add to the diesel user’s raft of responsibilities. It is not unknown for fuel injectors to become ‘lacquered’, or for performance to become sluggish, as a result of sustained, low-speed commuting, which clogs the catalytic converter.

In the latter instance, a red ‘catalyser’ warning lamp may illuminate on the dashboard. It can be resolved by adopting a policy of driving the vehicle at increased speeds, even for just ten to fifteen minutes, on a more regular basis. However, removing wax, or lacquer, does involve a more complicated process, which can only be carried out effectively at a local garage.

While driving a diesel-powered vehicle in this state can lead to further complications (as with any malfunction that requires remedial attention), the repair costs are not excessive. However, they are exacerbated by motor manufacturers that insist on increasingly lengthy service intervals. These can lead to lubrication oil ‘breakdown’, in which the quality of the oil sump’s contents can worsen over extended periods.

Taking your vehicle, whether it be a car, a taxi, a minibus, or light commercial, to your local Mr Clutch Autocentre can resolve the issues speedily and cost-efficiently. Mr Clutch recognises that diesel is a fuel that appeals to consumers expecting higher levels of fuel economy than with petrol and they will help with realising its potential. However, users do need to be aware that diesel is taxed at a higher level and trade-in values are no longer at a significant advantage.

As to my choice, despite using a diesel-powered car for around ten years, my present car is petrol-powered. I can attain in excess of 55mpg with it consistently and the most recent, smaller capacity and turbocharged petrol engined cars are capable of reaching diesel-like figures, with negligible performance drop-off. The fuel costs less into the bargain.

Regardless, Mr Clutch can ensure that you maximise the efficiency of your vehicle, whether petrol, or diesel-powered, which should help you to appreciate that remaining ahead of the maintenance game is the most efficient and cost-effective means to making your transport work for you.