UK car buyers switching back to petrol
Car buyers in the UK are turning away from diesel-powered cars in favour of petrol models, according to research by What Car?.
The shift in preference comes after a surge in the popularity of diesel-powered cars over the past decade. According to the car-buying website, diesel car sales have matched or even exceeded petrol sales in recent years.
But a new survey indicates that more than seven in 10 people would be likely or very likely to choose petrol power for their next car, compared with four in 10 who would consider buying a diesel.
With engine performance and good fuel consumption still rated as the two most important factors by car buyers, the shift from diesel to petrol models appears to have more to do with running costs than concerns about the environment following last year's Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, What Car? said.
More than 84% of the people surveyed said they wore worried about possible changes in legislation that may affect the cost of ownership of diesel cars in the future, such as the retail price, fuel duty and vehicle road tax.
And there is further evidence that buyers are less concerned about environmental factors. Between 12% and 32% of people would consider buying a hybrid vehicle, while more than 48% of buyers said they would be very unlikely to consider an electric car.
Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: "There appears to have been a dramatic shift in the petrol and diesel sales seesaw. In the 2000s, legislation changes resulted in a diesel boom, but following the emergence of extremely efficient downsized petrol engines, the tide appears to have turned.
"Buyers don't appear to be overly concerned about environmental factors. The choice of car is usually determined by the financial aspects of the purchase; if buyers fear a diesel crackdown and petrol engines are cheaper to buy while being almost as efficient, it's easy to understand the changes taking place."