You are ready to choose your new car and have picked a brand and model to suit your budget.  But which engine – petrol or diesel?

The key factors that determine the answer are these

  1. Petrol engines cost less to make
  2. Petrol engines cost less to service
  3. Diesel powered cars tend to hold their value better (but this could change)
  4. Petrol is traditionally less expensive to buy (although not right now)
  5. Diesel cars are much more economical

So there are 4 factors in petrol’s favour and only one in diesel’s.  Generally speaking this means that mileage needs to be above average at say 15,000 per year for diesel to become massively advantageous.  The exact threshold is different for every car, of course, and working it out may seem like you need a degree in maths.

Lease a vehicle though and it becomes much easier to calculate as points 1 to 3 are taken care of as they are all variables that contribute to the lease rate especially with a maintained lease which includes servicing.  That’s not to say these factors aren’t relevant but that someone else crunches the numbers and comes up with a straightforward composite figure for any particular model so it’s easy to compare different models with different fuel types.  The cost of fuel isn’t a differentiator currently either as there’s little if any difference in the cost of a litre of either type.  Consequently, if the diesel and petrol lease rates are similar then the better economy of the diesel should make it clear and simple choice.

But there’s another factor to consider – the type of driving to be undertaken by the vehicle, both in terms of mileage and journey type.  If a diesel engine isn’t given a regular motorway or similar work out for 10 to 20 minutes per week there’s a real chance that the diesel particulate filter (DPF) will become clogged and pack up.  Cost to replace?  £1000 upwards and it’s not covered by warranty or the maintenance element of a lease.

We recently quoted a client for a BMW 1-series and included both options.  Diesel was actually quite a few pounds per month less to lease and therefore the decision seemed straightforward but on questioning the driver it turned out that not only would the usage be low but motorway driving would be very rare.  As a result, our recommendation was to go for the slightly more expensive petrol engined model.

Sometimes there’s no choice though.  We have just delivered a van to an organisation that will use it more as a mobile store room than a van and it will be driven once a week and not very far.  Diesel is the only option available and therefore the risk to the DPF is very real.  Our advice?  Take a motorway journey every couple of weeks to preempt issues and watch out for the warning light.  If it comes on, keep driving until it goes off.  Advice like this, of course, is all part of a good broker’s service.

If you’d like to know more about how leasing works and how it could work for you, please get in touch.  If you think others would be interested in this post, please share it.  Feel free to connect and follow me on LinkedIn (

Matt Spivey

Vehicle Leasing Neva Consultants
Left the corporate world in 2013 after ten years at Vodafone and now specialising in car and van leasing with Neva Consultants.Serial networker and member of BNI Wakefield Wealthbuilders, 4Networking and The TradesHub Academy South Yorkshire.

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