Diesel car registrations declined by 17.1 per cent in the UK, with the anti-diesel rhetoric and rumoured hikes in tax and fees for using them gaining traction.
Speaking about the issues, James Hind, CEO of carwow commented: “2017 was a challenging time for the industry and the impact of that was felt by consumers who, after being pushed towards diesel just a few years ago, were then told that diesel would be heavily taxed and was on its way out.
“The effect of this, of course is that consumers have decided to keep their hands in their pockets until guidance is clear.”
Negative reports about diesel cars has left many motorists completely baffled about whether they should stick with their car or ditch it for a new one.
Similarly people are sceptical about buying diesel due to the perception of these vehicles being tarnished.
Diesel cars, and their respective owners, have had a rocky two years after revelations about their emissions output were revealed.
The reputation of diesel has been severely tarnished since the VW diesel gate scandal of 2015.
It was revealed at the time that VW had been using defeat devices on its diesel cars to cheat the emissions test in the lab.
This incident led to further revelations about the harmful impact of diesel and the level of pollutants they emit.
Diesel cars typical emit less CO2 emissions than petrol cars but produce more nitrogen oxides which are harmful to people and the environment.
These emissions are thought to contribute to the premature deaths of around 40,000 people in the UK every year.
Diesel drivers have been understandably outraged by the condemnation of diesel after the Labour Government in 2001 incentivised drivers to buy one.
Fast-forward to 2017, these same drivers are being hit with inflated taxes, punishments and legislation to limit or outlaw the use of these vehicles.
Most worrying for diesel drivers is the increase to car tax proposed by Chancellor Philip Hammond that will come into effect from April the year.
Diesel drivers could face paying up to £500 more car tax as a result of this change.
So is it finally time to ditch your diesel car? Or is there still life in the vehicles yet?
Diesel car sales tumble in the UK but should you still buy one
Car supermarket site The Car People has outline a number of pros and cons relating to diesel cars.
If you’re a high-miler and travel long distances regularly then you may still be better off with a diesel car as they are typically more economically efficient compared to petrol.
If you drive a diesel car more than 12,000 miles a year, you might recoup £1,000 in a year or two. But if your mileage is around 6,000 miles a year, it could take you about four years to recoup the same amount
Therefore, if you know your vehicle is only going to be used to get from A to B, a petrol car is probably the best option.
Emissions are a huge consideration when purchasing a car. With the rise of electric, and manufacturers’ ongoing efforts to cut fuel emissions, it’s always important to consider the impact that diesel cars are having on the environment.
Although they produce 20 per cent less CO2 than petrol vehicles, they do produce tiny particles that are associated with a number of breathing disorders such as asthma.
So unless you are using the vehicle for long journeys regularly, it’s worth noting that a diesel car isn’t the best option for the environment.
Brits are sceptical about buying diesel cars due to their fleeting reputation
Cost and depreciation
Diesel cars typically cost more to buy than petrol cars.
However, they do tend to hold their residual values better over time, giving them a higher resale value.
When considering a diesel car, keep in mind the maintenance costs, as some issues may need a specialist mechanic which may be a little more expensive than a regular mechanic.
In addition to this, while this may have been true in the past that diesel cars retain their value better than petrol, the negative impact that new taxes and its fleeting reputation could harm the overall value of diesel cars over time.
New diesel cars that meet the EU6 standards are considerably less damaging to peoples health than the ones that are portrayed in the news.
They are also fitted with DPFs (diesel particulate filters) which converts most of the NOX produced from the engine into harmless nitrogen and water.
These filters tend to work more efficiently when the catalytic converter is hotter, so it is more suitable for distance driving and not stop/start traffic.
Jonathan Allbones, Director at The Car People, said: “Diesel cars have had a tough time in the press following the budget announcement and the car tax increase. Although they are still a viable option for many drivers.
“Many drivers find that having a diesel engine is hugely beneficial financially, as diesel vehicles provide more miles to the gallon.
“Driving a diesel car also gives many drivers confidence in the fact that the engine is prepared for longer journeys.
“Our advice would be not to rule out a diesel car straight away but to evaluate your driving needs and discuss them with your car dealer before making a purchase.”