Should I Buy a Diesel Car in 2021?

Diesel cars get a lot of bad press these days. The government seems keen to paint them as inefficient pollution machines. So they’re applying lots of extra taxes and charges for diesel drivers, and they’re even planning on banning them outright in the near future.

But despite all this, diesel cars can still be cheaper to run than petrol cars. So if you’re planning on buying a new car in 2021, in this post we’ll explore why you might not want to write off diesel cars just yet.

Reasons Not To Buy a Diesel Car

There’s no denying it: there are many reasons not to buy a diesel car in 2021, including:

  • London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone
  • Clear Air Zones planned across the UK
  • The Government diesel ban (from 2030)

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ)

London introduced an Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) in April 2019. Any car or van that does not meet the latest Euro 6 emission standards must pay £12.50 when entering the city. Many diesel cars do not meet these standards. So if you drive a diesel in 2021, and you spend any time driving in London, you may have to pay.

Clean Air Zones

Many UK cities are following London’s example. Cities such as Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Manchester and Derby plan on introducing Clean Air Zones (CAZ) either in 2021 or 2022. Once again, if you drive a car that does not meet the latest Euro 6 emission standards, before long you’ll have to pay extra to drive in a lot of UK cities.

Not sure what’s planned for your area? Check the government’s site for more details.

2030 Diesel Ban

The government is also talking about banning diesel cars outright by 2030. That might sound like it’s a while away. But previously, the government had pledged to ban diesel cars by 2040. They’ve already brought their plans forward by a decade. Might they bring them even further forward? It’s not impossible.

Larger vehicles such as trucks and lorries will probably rely on diesel for a good while yet. And some will continue to drive old diesel cars regardless. So even if the sale of new diesel cars is banned, it’s unlikely that petrol stations will stop selling diesel.

Nonetheless, the uncertainty about the future of diesel cars, coupled with the added costs you might face if you drive a diesel, might encourage you to consider a petrol, a hybrid, or an electric car in 2021 instead.

Reasons to Buy a Diesel Car

Diesel cars have a reputation for being dirty and inefficient. This isn’t necessarily true, there are some benefits of diesel cars:

  • Modern diesels can have low emissions
  • Diesel cars can outperform petrols on mileage
  • Larger cars tend to be diesel

Modern Diesel Efficiency

Some diesel cars boast lower emissions than petrol cars. Many modern diesel models also happen to meet Euro 6 emission standards. So it may still be possible to drive a diesel without having to worry about ULEZ and CAZ charges.


Also, when it comes to mileage, diesel cars often outperform petrol cars. So you will often enjoy lower running costs with a diesel car than you would with a petrol car. If you drive many miles each year, then even if you take the extra charges into consideration, it may still be cheaper for you to drive a diesel than a petrol.

SUVs and Larger Cars

Finally, if you have certain practical needs, then a diesel car might remain your best bet. If you have a large family, for example, you might need a larger family car, or an SUV. You might have to drive a larger car as part of your job. Or you may have to tow trailers now and then. In each case, a larger and more powerful diesel car may suit your needs better than a petrol car.

So Should I Buy a Diesel Car in 2021?

It all depends on your specific circumstances as a driver!

You should choose a diesel car if you:

  • Rack up a large mileage every year.
  • Need a bigger car, such as an SUV, for certain practical purposes.
  • Regularly tow, or you need something powerful and reliable as part of your job.

On the other hand, you should choose a petrol or an electric car if you:

  • Drive less than 12,000 miles a year.
  • Only need a small or medium size vehicle.
  • Do most of your driving in a city with an ULEZ or a CAZ.
  • Are seriously worried about your carbon footprint (though as we said above, diesel cars can be surprisingly green and efficient too!)
Still Can’t Decide If You Should Buy a Diesel Car in 2021?

Of course, it’s not just a question of petrol vs. diesel. You also have to consider hybrid and electric cars.

We put together a complete guide to the pros and cons of each: Petrol, diesel, hybrid and electric.

One thing you’ll need to think about regardless of which type of car you drive is car insurance. And if you’re a new driver or a young driver looking to buy your first car, unfortunately you should expect to pay more for your insurance than you would if you were a more experienced driver.

But one way you can lower the cost of your insurance is through choosing a reliable car with advanced safety and security features. So if price is a factor when choosing your car, don’t forget to take car insurance into consideration too. Beyond petrol and diesel, choose a car from an insurance group that could result in a lower premium. Head here to read our complete guide to car insurance groups.




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