Should I buy a diesel car to make my fuel go further?

The pros and cons of owning a diesel car…

When buying a car one consideration may be whether to buy a petrol or diesel car. South Africans have in the past, preferred petrol over diesel as diesel vehicles have been thought to be slow, noisy and dirty. Thanks to advances in engine technology, and the introduction of low sulphur diesel, today’s diesel vehicles no longer smoke, and they run very quietly too.

One of the biggest reasons one would consider buying a diesel car these days is due to the ever-increasing fuel price. On average, diesel engines consume between 25% and 30% less fuel than their petrol counterparts. This means fewer trips to the fuel pump and because diesel is cheaper than petrol, you will probably save a fair amount of money. The way in which diesel engines work provides an advantage that even the most sophisticated petrol engines struggle to compete with. Due to continuous improvements in technology, a diesel engine remains more fuel-efficient than similar-sized petrol engines.

There are, however, other points to consider before you make your final decision: 

Travel distance

Diesel power is a good option if you regularly cover a high mileage and mostly use the highway. However, if most of your driving consists of short trips in and around town and frequent stopping and starting, you’re probably better off with a petrol engine.

Diesel is more fuel efficient over longer distances, while petrol is better for short trips and stop-go driving.


As diesel engines don’t have spark plugs or distributors and therefore fewer moving parts, they require less maintenance and tend to have a longer lifespan. However, you will have to make sure that oil and filters are changed regularly. If not, the engine could suffer severe damage requiring expensive repairs. Another factor to bear in mind is that services on a diesel vehicle are generally more expensive than that of a petrol model.

Petrol engines are cheaper to maintain and repair but diesel engines last longer.

Pollution and emissions

Ever been stuck behind a bus or truck? Then you’ll know all about the unpleasant smell and the clouds of smoke coming from its exhaust. Fortunately, modern diesel vehicles run much more cleanly than they did before. Due to stricter requirements and the introduction of catalytic converters, emissions have reduced considerably. The burning of diesel fuel still causes more visible pollution than petrol though, even if carbon emissions are lower – so it’s a trade-off between the two.

A diesel engine’s CO2 emissions are 20% lower than that of a petrol.

In the end, it’s all about personal preference and the intended use of the vehicle. With advanced fuel economy and efficiency, diesel cars are cheaper to run than petrol cars. They also tend to have a higher resale value, particularly larger vehicles. This makes them a great choice for long-distance driving.

If you plan on taking long road trips around our beautiful country and value fuel efficiency, then diesel is the way to go. If, however, you only drive your car to fetch the kids and go to the shops and back – you should consider the petrol route.

Visit your nearest Imperial Auto Dealer to find out more about petrol vs diesel cars and join the conversation on Facebook – https://web.facebook.com/imperial.auto.sa.