It’s a common question motor enthusiasts want to know—diesel or petrol engine?

Each have arguments supporting their superiority but when comparing the facts, the true answer lies with the individual looking to make the purchase. The ideal car for you depends on your lifestyle, but which one suits yours?

Though there is no definitive answer about which is better, allow us to shed light on the benefits and drawbacks of each engine type.


  • Good Mileage: Diesel engines achieve great mileage, especially when open road driving. They typically deliver 25 to 30 percent better fuel economy than similarly performing petrol engines.
  • Most Efficient: As diesel fuel contains more usable energy than petrol, it makes it one of the most efficient and energy dense fuels available.
  • Maintenance: Diesels don’t have spark plugs or distributors meaning they never need ignition tune-ups.
  • Repairs: Diesel engines are built to withstand the rigors of higher compression; thus, tend to go much longer than gas-powered vehicles before they require major repairs.
  • Cost Stability: While diesel generally costs more than petrol, its price isn’t subject to the weekly fluctuations of its counterpart.
  • Big Loads: As diesel engines generate extra torque it makes them a good choice when carrying big loads or towing. In fact, turbo diesel engines typically outperform similar sized petrol engines in terms of torque and power.


  • Car Service: Though diesel cars have longer servicing intervals, when the car is serviced the costs are typically higher.
  • Financial: It is common for diesel cars to cost more than petrol versions upfront; also, diesel fuel is no longer cheaper than petrol, which ultimately negates the fuel saving benefit of the engine.
  • Speed Performance: When compared to petrol cars, diesel cars do not result in flashy high-speed performance.
  • Maintenance: Diesels still require regular maintenance to keep them running. Common tasks to maintain the car’s condition include changing the oil, air, fuel filters, and, in some models, also emptying the water separators.
  • Efficiency Limited: If you are more likely to do city driving or short trips, you will not benefit from the fuel efficiency of the diesel engine. In fact, if you only do trips under 10kms everyday you risk causing damage to the engine, which can be quite costly to fix.


  • Financial: Petrol is the cheaper option when compared to diesel fuel and the petrol-powered cars tend to be cheaper to buy and service.
  • Driving Experience: Petrol cars are typically faster, quieter and overall provide a smoother ride compared to a diesel car.
  • Speed Performance: Petrol cars provide a more exciting drive, especially when the car has been tuned for high performance.
  • Maintenance: With a petrol car there is far less maintenance involved to keep the car in good condition. For example, there is no need for manual emptying.
  • Suitable for City Living: Given the nature of the petrol car, it is more efficient when it is taken on shorter trips, making it suitable for city living.


  • Resale Disadvantage: The fuel that a car uses plays a significant role in determining its depreciation value. As a result, petrol-powered cars tend to depreciate faster than diesel cars.
  • Environmental Impact: Petrol engines are less environmentally friendly as they emit higher levels of CO2 compared to their diesel counterparts.
  • Less Fuel Efficient: Petrol-powered cars tend to require more frequent servicing as they do not have the fuel economy of a diesel engine nor its ability to withstand the rigors of high compression.
  • Fuel Price Fluctuations: Given the daily change in petrol prices, owners of petrol cars are constantly affected by fluctuations of fuel prices.


With the above factors in mind, it’s time to determine which car type is easier to maintain: diesel or fuel?

Though diesels are more fuel efficient and can withstand longer servicing intervals, they involve more regular maintenance on the owner’s part.

On the other hand, a petrol-powered car involves far less upkeep to ensure high quality performance, and as the car is typically serviced more frequently than a diesel car, the regular needs of the car are handled by professionals.

But now, let’s consider the lifestyle of the owner.

If you are someone that typically takes long drives, tows heavy machinery or isn’t too fussed about getting their hands dirty, a diesel car would probably suit your needs more.

Whereas if you are someone who typically drives within a city, only takes short trips or is looking for a low maintenance vehicle, a petrol-powered car may be the better choice for you.