27 January 2009 by Parkers Team

  • Diesel models may not be the big money saver you think
  • Initial purchase price outweighs any fuel saving
  • Use Parkers petrol vs. diesel calculator to work it out

Hundreds of thousands of drivers choosing diesel new cars could be wasting money instead of saving it, according to research by Parkers.

Increases in the cost of diesel at the pump and price rises for new diesel cars are now preventing drivers from saving money by choosing diesel.

Many popular models need high six figure mileage to recoup the extra expense and some diesels always cost more than the petrol alternative at current forecourt prices.

Several years ago, the price of diesel on the forecourt was within a penny or two of unleaded. But recently the price of diesel has been significantly higher than petrol making it more difficult to save money choosing a new diesel car.

Parker's has cut through the confusion with a new calculator that shows whether diesel will save you money.

Go to www.parkers.co.uk/cars/petrol-vs-diesel/ and choose the new car you are interested in. Depending on what you have chosen, the calculator will choose a similar priced petrol or diesel alternative from the same range.

It will then tell you much of a saving the diesel is likely to make per 1000 miles, and how far the car will have to travel to recoup any premium if the diesel version is more expensive.

In a few cases the diesel will be both cheaper to buy and to run, and occasionally no diesel can be found that's cheaper to run than the petrol car selected.

On cars where there is parity between the new prices for petrol and diesel models - such as the Jaguar XF - your first tank of fuel will take you further in the diesel model so you start saving money

straight away.

Petrol model Diesel model Diesel premium Mileage to break even
Audi A3 S/back 1.8 TFSI SE S/back 2.0 TDI SE   £300    23,719
Audi A4 Avant 1.8 TFSI SE  2.0 TDI (143) SE   £1350    88,578
Audi A6 2.8 FSI S Line auto  2.7 TDI S Line auto   £750    41,639
BMW 318i SE saloon  318d SE saloon   £2690    287,356
BMW 530i SE auto   530d SE auto   £355    Diesel auto won’t break even
BMW X5 xDrive30i SE auto xDrive30d SE auto   £365    25,268
Citroen C4 1.6 VTi SX 5dr  1.6 HDi (110) SX   £1500    88,212
Citroen C5 1.8i VTR+ 4dr  1.6 HDi VTR+   £1000    42,372
Ford Focus 1.6 Style 5dr  1.6 TDCi Style 5dr   £1000    45,132
Ford Mondeo 2.0 Ghia 5dr  2.0 TDCi 5dr   £1650    93,291
Ford S-MAX 2.5 Titanium  2.2 TDCi Titanium   £550    21,715
Honda Civic 1.8i-VTEC EX 5dr  2.2i-CTDi EX 5dr   £1300 137,278
Honda Accord 2.0i ES GT saloon

2.2i-DTEC ES GT saloon 

£1800    143,632
Honda CR-V 2.0i-VTEC ES  2.2i-CTDi ES   £1300    108,904
Jaguar XF 3.0 V6 Premium Lux 2.7d Premium Luxury   £0    0
Mazda2 1.3 TS2 3dr  Mazda2 1.4D TS2 3dr   £1275    172,391
Mazda6 1.8 TS 5dr   2.2d TS (125) 5dr   £979    85,923
Mercedes-Benz C200K SE auto  C220 CDI SE auto   £1025    172,179
Mercedes-Benz CLS350 CGI  CLS320 CDI   -£700    Diesel cheaper to buy and run
MINI Clubman Cooper (Chili)  1.6D Cooper (Chili)     £1160   

99,531

Nissan Micra 1.4 Acenta 3dr  1.5 dCi (86) Acenta 3dr  £860    52,029
Nissan Qashqai 2.0 Tekna  2.0 dCi Tekna   £1400    149,379
Peugeot 207 1.6 Sport 3dr  1.6 HDi (110) Sport 3dr  £1100    97,838
Peugeot 308 1.6 VTi S 5dr  1.6 HDI (110) S 6sp 5dr  £1500    96,133
Renault Clio 1.2 TCE Dyn 5dr  1.5 dCi Dynamique 5dr £950    76,717
Renault Megane Coupe 1.6 Exp 1.5 dCi (106) Expression  £1450 53,702
SEAT Leon 1.4 TSI Stylance  1.9 TDI Stylance  £530    54,366
Toyota Yaris 1.3 VVTi-TR 5dr  1.4 D-4D TR 5dr  £1000    84,376
Toyota RAV4 2.0 VVT-i XT-R 2.2 D-4D XT-R  £1250    74,178
Vauxhall Corsa 1.4 SXi 3dr  1.3 CDTi 90 SXi 3dr   £290    33,796
Vauxhall Astra 1.6i Club  1.7 CDTi Club   £1285    123,614
Vauxhall Insignia 1.8 SE 4dr 2.0 CDTi SE 4dr   £1500    90,850
VW Golf 1.4 TSI SE 5dr  2.0 TDI (110bhp) SE 5dr  £970    61,787   
VW Passat 2.0T Sport  2.0 TDI 170 Sport   £80    4053
Volvo V50 1.6S  1.6D DRIVe S £2315 78,185

 * Break even points change daily, as fuel prices fluctuate. For the latest information click here.