Petrol, Diesel or Electric?

When it comes to choosing a car these days, one of the biggest concerns will be what type of fuel it uses. The fuel you burn is not only your biggest expense, but it will dictate what type of car you can buy and where you can refuel it. Read on and we’ll try to shine a light on the pros and cons of each type of fuel.

According to statistics from 2016, Petrol engine cars are still the most popular with consumers, with 61.2% of all new cars sold running the powertrain. Diesel is a distant second with 37.8% of new registrations using it. Only 1% of cars were alternative energy cars with 247000 hybrid cars being sold and only 400 electric cars.


Costs of cars

BRISTOL, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 06: A line of Toyota cars are offered for sale on the forecourt of a main motor car dealer in Brislington on October 6, 2015 in Bristol, England. Latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show a record 462,517 new cars were registered in the UK last month, a 8.6% year on year increase, and total sales in the year to date have hit 2,096,886, 7.1 percent higher than the same point last year and the first time the two million mark has been passed in September since 2004. The figures also showed a slight drop in the levels of drivers choosing diesel-engined cars, claimed in part to be due to the scandal that has surrounded Volkswagen and the disclosure that they cheated emissions tests on their diesel cars. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

For a supermini class car here are the RRPs from 2016:

Ford Fiesta (Petrol) – From £13545

Ford Fiesta (Diesel) – From £16045

Toyota Yaris (Hybrid) – From £14995

Nissan Leaf (Electric) – From £21530


As you can see newer technologies cost a premium. A fully electric car can cost up to 1.5 times the cost of a standard petrol car. Hybrids are still slightly more expensive than standard petrol cars, but only by around 10%.


Where can I fuel up?

Currently, there are roughly 8 and a half thousand fuel stations in the UK. There are 4181 electric recharging stations. By 2020 it is predicted that there will more electric charging locations than fuel stations. In my experience, there are not as many charging ports at electric charging stations as there are pumps at petrol stations, and in addition to this where it only takes a couple of minutes to fill a fuel tank it takes several hours to charge an electric vehicle.


What range will I get from one refuel/recharge?

The maximum range of the same cars we mentioned above is as follows:

Ford Fiesta (Petrol) – 607 miles

Ford Fiesta (Diesel) – 708 miles

Toyota Yaris (Hybrid) – 678 Miles

Nissan Leaf (Electric) – 155 Miles


As you can see, electric cars have a serious disadvantage when it comes to range. This probably isn’t a problem if you‘re only going to be using your car to dash around a city, but on country drives where charging stations aren’t available, this will become a major issue.


Pros and Cons


Petrol models are still the cheapest

There is the biggest choice of petrol models

Petrol cars have the most zip so are good for city and country driving

Petrol models produce the most co2/mile



Diesel models have the longest ranges

Diesel cars use 15-20% less fuel

Diesel cars are good for motorway journeys

Diesel engines produce the most pollutants


Hybrid Cars

Hybrid cars have low emissions

Hybrid cars don’t need to be recharged, they only require fuel

You have the choice of petrol or diesel hybrids

There are very few hybrid models available


Electric Cars

Electric cars have no emissions

Electric cars are quiet

Electricity is cheaper than fossil fuels

Electric cars need t0 be charged often

Electric cars electricity can be generated from fossil fuels with co2 emissions

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