Should you buy a diesel car?

The Guardian newspaper has painted a rather bleak future for diesel-powered cars. In light of recent growing environmental concerns over harmful exhaust emissions, the newspaper forecasts that you prized possession could plummet in value as it becomes increasingly less desirable.

A depressing future of sky-high fuel prices, low emissions zones curtailing your ability to travel in your own car - assuming you haven’t already been taxed out of it - and the prospect of having to sell your pride and joy for a fraction of what it’s worth is a near-future scenario a growing number of people are starting to predict.

This situation has been, in part, brought forward by the London mayor’s decision to introduce a new ‘T’ charge for ‘toxic’ older, more polluting vehicles, which slaps an additional charge on top of the Congestion Charge fee. As such, the concept of being priced out of driving through London will be a very real one for drivers on low incomes unable to update their cars.

And, with the Spring Budget looming, there’s also the prospect of the Chancellor introducing measures to steer buyers away from diesel and towards lower emissions vehicles the only way politicians know how: tax incentives.

Back when the government thought diesel was A Good Thing, it was incentivised through lower tax bands. The tables could soon be turning, however, with the drivers opting for diesel getting hit with a big tax-shaped stick instead.

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That said, the tide could already be turning, albeit slowly. Recent new car registration figures have shown a small but important dip in diesel uptake. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to connect the recent slew of negative publicity to such behaviour. And, as the choice of electric and hybrid cars has increased, buyers now have a wider, more affordable and competent product range to choose from.

It’s unlikely that diesel cars will become worthless overnight, but don’t discount the possibility of a gradual decline in desirability and value as more environmental and wallet-friendly choices gain traction in the market, especially if they're taxed more sympathetically. And don’t discount a scrappage scheme for the oldest, most polluting diesels, which would no doubt please the car manufacturers of cleaner petrol, electric and hybrid models

Source: The Guardian

Gallery: Diesel emissions