A and D Autos

A and D Group

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Diesel vs. Petrol: What Is The Difference?

Choosing whether to buy a diesel or petrol engine vehicle depends on the type of car you want and how you intend to use it. If you just have short journeys in mind you would be better with petrol, but if you own a 4x4 or are thinking more of long journey’s, then head towards the diesels...

In reality, it is a bit more complicated. Here, we try to help you make a choice.

At A&D Autos, we specialise in MOT testing, servicing and repairs for cars and vans in Bognor Regis, West Sussex.  With over 30 years’ experience in the motor trade, we are qualified professionals, with a vast knowledge about fuels.


Older drivers will remember the cliché of smoky old diesels, suitable only for farmers and Frenchmen. Diesel cars were relatively unusual in Britain until the last couple of decades but it was the combination of competitive road tax and a lower fuel price that made them more attractive.  The introduction of common rail direct diesel injection systems providing a far more sophisticated and cleaner driving experience helped too.

Practical Differences

Ask anyone running a company car in the last decade or so and they will know that diesel was the way to go. If you intend to do a lot of steady motorway driving with a high annual mileage, you will probably get the best value from a diesel vehicle.  On the downside, they are more expensive to buy and maintain, but are more fuel-efficient.

If your mileage is less than 10,000 miles a year on mostly local roads, you will probably be better off with a petrol engine vehicle, as the long term savings offered by diesel may not kick in for you.

Tech Specs

Diesel engine vehicles are more efficient than those running on petrol. They convert around 45% of their fuel energy into mechanical energy, as opposed to 30% for petrol. This means the diesel in your tank will last longer. In fact, the engine itself will last longer due to the lower stress levels it is put under during its life. So if you want to spend less on fuel for a vehicle you plan to keep for a while, this may be worth remembering.


Diesel continues to grow in the UK, as seen in this year’s new car registration figures. In the first six months of 2016, 680,938 diesel passenger vehicles were sold in the UK, up 2.3% on the same period in 2015.  Despite such a high level of penetration, the UK has yet to reach "peak diesel" in the opinion of many in the automotive sector.

So if you do go for diesel you are still part of the majority flow towards the fuel. That said, most cars sold in the UK still run on petrol, but the split is fairly even.


When making the choice, consider how you drive, the distances you cover and how much maintenance and fuel costs matter to you. If you are still in doubt, ask one of our experts for advice.  We’ll be happy to provide you with free advice regarding petrol or diesel vehicle ownership.

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