Should I buy a petrol or diesel car?

Should I buy a petrol car or a diesel car? To put it simply there is no one answer. Even though diesel car sales have been surging recently both fuel type vehicles offer buyers many positives and negatives depending on your intended primary use for the vehicle.

Shop for cars has put together all the positives and negatives of buying a petrol car or a diesel car.

Diesel Vehicles

A breath-taking 2.6 million Australians currently drive a diesel car, with almost 300,000 of those coming in the last 12 months alone. To put this into context diesel vehicles are driven by almost 20 percent of Australia’s total vehicle fleet.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of diesel cars.


Fuel efficiency: Diesel cars are over 30% more fuel efficient compared to petrol vehicles. 

Better for the environment: Diesel cars are more environmentally friendly than petrol cars. Diesel cars omit over 50% less carbon omissions compared to their petrol counterparts.

Low RPM: Diesel cars deliver efficient pushing power. Diesel engines provide greater torque peak compared to petrol engines.

Towing performance: It’s common knowledge that if you are towing a boat or trailer, diesel vehicles are the way to go. Diesel vehicles can deliver peak torque 60% quicker than that of a petrol vehicle.

Increased fuel economy: Diesel cars can get over 35% more kilometres before heading to the petrol station compared to petrol vehicles.


More expensive to buy: Diesel cars can be over 20% more expensive than petrol vehicles.

More expensive to service: Diesel cars are far more expensive to service and maintain compared to petrol vehicles. Diesel engines require expensive high-quality diesel-specific oils and neglecting to properly service a diesel vehicle could lead to more costly repairs.

Not intended for small trips: If you are driving in a city or through the suburbs you won’t experience the fuel efficiency benefits mentioned above.

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Petrol Vehicles

Petrol vehicles are generally the go to for most Australian car buyers. Like diesel cars, there are many advantages and disadvantages to buying a petrol vehicle.

Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages for buying a petrol vehicle.


Cheaper to buy: Petrol cars are significantly cheaper to buy then diesel cars. A lot of the price comes down to the size of the engine. Diesel engines come with a turbo charger that produces greater torque and lower RPM.

Regular unleaded is generally cheaper: Regular unleaded petrol is often cheaper to that of diesel fuel prices. However, like all fuels, pricing structure does fluctuate based on supply, demand and the economy.

Low servicing costs: Servicing a petrol car is often far cheaper to the diesel counterpart. If there is a minor issue with petrol engines mechanics can quickly source parts for repair as opposed to diesel engines which require very specific diesel parts.

Better for short drives: If you are driving through your local residential area or city, petrol cars are often far better in fuel consumption.


Fuel efficiency: Recent studies have shown petrol cars consume over 20% more fuel on average than a diesel cars. Fuel consumption will also vary depending on the primary use of the car.

Towing power: Petrol cars don’t have the towing power then that of a diesel car. If you are looking to tow a boat or a trailer, petrol cars do not reach peak torque as fast as diesel cars do.

Frequent gear changing: Due to a lower toque, petrol cars will often produce greater RPMs that require frequent gear changes.

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Final Word,

Both petrol and diesel cars offer car buyers many advantages and disadvantages. Car buyers should assess their primary use of the car and evaluate the different costs associated with either fuel type prior to making a purchase.

Thank you for reading, if you would like to read any of our previous blog posts please click here.

About Shop for Cars,

Shop for Cars is Australia’s first car dealership-only online classified. Shop for Cars brings you the best quality new and used vehicles from trusted motor dealers Australia wide. Shop for Cars currently has over 12,500 cars listed for sale all from licensed Motor Vehicle Dealers ONLY.

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DISCLAIMER: This is all based on opinion please research and consult with all relevant parties to make the best buying decision.