Are we at the petrol/diesel tipping point for car manufacturers?

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  • Are we at the petrol/diesel tipping point for car manufacturers?
  • stevextc
    Member

    The difference is less about petrol/diesel than bigger family wagons needing more torque and being more efficient on longer runs where they tend to be used. You can equally put in a big petrol engine … it will just burn more fuel.

    However there always seems to be the 1-2 options in petrol you just are likely to have to go for a lower trim level as city driving doesn’t really benefit in the same way from cruise control and even a big sunroof is a bit debatable in city driving.

    Last year I drive one of the Nissan MPV’s (hire car in Ibiza) with a small petrol engine…. it fine for short journeys or so long as you didn’t need to drive it up a steep hill or actually load stuff in and drive outside towns (or use the AC when going up a steep hill).

    Inside towns it was pleasant enough though…. driving round the Island we ended up taking different routes avoiding hills etc. which would be annoying if we did it every day but for a occasional use it was fine.

    The OH has just (6mo ago) swapped a big diesel estate for a 2L petrol Honda CRV and 90% of her driving is short trips and about town … she still can’t get used to it’s lack of power on longer drives though but perhaps that’s partly because she doesn’t do many.

    bikebouy
    Member

    Tipping point in favour of diesels you mean ??

    solamanda
    Member

    The situation has already changed, as of 2020 we won’t be able to drive our 2006 diesel into central London (which is something my wife does outside of rush hour for work reasons). Fortunately we also have a petrol car as well. If I were buying a car today to keep for 10 years I would be wary of investing too much in a diesel as it looks like they’ll be taxed out of existence, which also means you won’t be able to sell it. That’s fine if you’re spending £10k now and expect to get 100k miles out of it but I would be cautious of buying new unless you’re a very high mileage user.

    On the other hand petrol estates are very cheap at the moment if you’re buying second hand larger (over 2.5 litre) prestige brands and they’re safer from the tax repercussions and usually less complicated.

    oafishb
    Member

    In favour of petrols….I guess what I mean is, are there petrol engines which are as practical as diesel engines for bigger cars? Or are these in the works to be introduced in like 5 years….? Interesting point on spec, Steve.

    retro83
    Member

    oafishb – Member
    In favour of petrols….I guess what I mean is, are there petrol engines which are as practical as diesel engines for bigger cars? Or are these in the works to be introduced in like 5 years….? Interesting point on spec, Steve.

    Practical in what way?

    Equalling a diesel’s MPG? Probably not quite.

    Torque/power? Definitely yes. Look at e.g. the BMW 520i, even the old 2010 model was sub 8 seconds to 60.

    dooosuk
    Member

    If you’re buying a car (regardless of size) for short journeys (regardless of location) you should probably buy petrol.

    However, as you say, there are very few larger family size petrol cars for sale compared to diesels.

    Had the same problem last year. Ended up with a 320i BMW.

    oafishb
    Member

    I’m trying to buy a family car. I like cars but really hate buying them and keep them for at least 10 years when I do. We do a miniscule amount of miles and city driving mainly….so petrol. There seems to be a really small choice! I was looking at Nissan as an example: 133 diesels and 15 petrol.
    I guess the manufacturers went big on diesel and do you think that is changing? i.e will the situation be different in a year? Thank you STW hivemind.

    edit –
    Sorry – I realise smaller city cars would have petrol, but I’m talking bigger family wagons / estates etc 🙂

    bensales
    Member

    oafishb – Member
    In favour of petrols….I guess what I mean is, are there petrol engines which are as practical as diesel engines for bigger cars? Or are these in the works to be introduced in like 5 years

    ‘Practical’ depends on how you look at it. My current car (a large saloon) is available as a 3l petrol or a 3l diesel. Both similar performance but obviously the mpg of the diesel is higher.

    However, for me, it’s the fuel cost per mile that’s important as that’s how my company reimburse the vast majority of my mileage (I have no commute). The company pay IR rates currently of 12ppm for diesel or 21ppm for petrol (because they regard us as having a company car even though it a car allowance, just means I need to claim relief on the difference to 45ppm, anyway…)

    Doing the sums on mpg and fuel cost, the diesel engines car will cost 15ppm in fuel to run, but the petrol engine will cost 18ppm. Therefore for me, it’s actually more cost effective to run the petrol car, despite consuming more fuel.

    Premier Icon geoffj
    Subscriber

    Mrs J wanted a bike-carrying capable petrol car last year for short journeys.
    Ended up with a petrol Doblo – there were 10 times the number of diesel equivalents for sale.

    stevextc
    Member

    The problem with buying for 10 years is really that you have no idea what legislation will be and how governments will manipulate the market.

    5 years ago they were actively pushing diesels in completely inappropriate use cases… in another 5 years when the present small engined petrol engines are dying there will likely be yet another change and the facts will be again manipulated

    I guess what I mean is, are there petrol engines which are as practical as diesel engines for bigger cars?

    It really depends on the use … when we were driving in town the tiny petrol engine was fine… just avoid steep hills when fully loaded (and our local town was reasonably hilly but not too bad) and given it was a hire car we just burned the clutch to get torque when needed. (Mostly one specific junction and the drive of the villa) … however the missing component was more torque than power… I didn’t bother to check but I guess it was a 1.6L or something…

    a 2L would be better and a 2.5-3L V6 petrol better again …even a bigger petrol engine will heat up way faster than a diesel…. my mate had a big Cayanne Petrol and in winter his engine was warmed up in minutes..(just on the drive) . whereas my smaller diesel would still not be properly warmed up after 25 miles on the motorway… that said I could drive 50 miles, park it all day and the engine was still warm come driving home from work… so it would be warmed up to running speed much quicker….

    If your milage is really small you can just look at a bigger 2L+ petrol… this seems good in the CRV (which is a smaller MPV) except on long motorway runs… OH still says her 250,000 mile 2.2 diesel was nicer to drive on motorways… I haven’t driven it enough to really comment… but given the choice if I was driving into town I’d take her car which is more efficient… she really struggled finding the spec in a petrol though… (she bought a nearly new) and it took a lot more effort finding the car with leather seats (always good with kids) for example than a diesel… and she didn’t want a big panoramic sunroof anyway which made it easier… however they exist…you just need to look a bit harder and longer

    dragon
    Member

    OP what do you mean by a family car? If you mean traditional ‘family’ cars like the Ford Focus and VW Golf then they definitely do petrol’s.

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Subscriber

    Anyone who has driven a VAG car with the 2.0 TSI/TFSI is unlikely to have much complaint about torque and power.

    Comparing turbo charged diesels to N.A. petrols is Apple’s and oranges

    oafishb
    Member

    Dragon – was thinking more like either large estate or SUV (like X-trail); I must add that I am not a huge fan of SUV’s but there’s, y’know, some pressure.

    Steve – the Honda petrol CRV might be a good shout actually.

    P-Jay
    Member

    Yes.

    It’s different around the world.

    The mass migration to diesel was almost unique to the European market – the regs here which set things like VED, Company Car tax, duty etc were very Co2 centric – which really favoured diesels.

    They never really caught on elsewhere, even though in some places like Australia and the US when intercity driving means hours of endless, light traffic freeways which is perfect for them. They were starting to gain some traction in the US but I think the VW thing probably put pay to that – ironically almost there’s a bit of cult following for diesels in the US, they tune them for incredible torque and spew massive clouds of black soot for effect.

    Anyway, with some cities banning older ones and a greater and greater focus on nitrogen emissions and some of the health concerns around them their days are numbered.

    The motor industry is switching towards smaller petrol engines with turbos to make up the short-fall in displacement, which could be good for drivers in the UK – they’re perhaps not as frugal as diesels at the thing diesels are good at – namely chugging away at a constant speed, but this is off-set by the lower cost of petrol – our refineries are slightly out of sync with demand so we don’t produce enough diesel and produce too much petrol so we import the former (from France mostly) and export the latter which is inefficient.

    I’ve driven a couple of the new ‘little petrol’ cars and they’re perfectly good at what they do – my Wife’s 1.2TSI is more than quick enough around town and sits at 80 very happy.

    There will no doubt be some ‘horror stories’ about how these complex little engines that can do 60Mpg and 0-60 in 7 seconds from 999cc (not at the same time of course) when we find out what sort of witchcraft is used to do it and how some 3-letter acronym will fail around 10 years or 100k miles and cost about a grand to fix – there’s always one and we’ll all moan about these stupid ‘unneeded’ devices were only put there to ruin our lives.

    dragon
    Member

    Well an X-Trail is aimed at a market that want them full of stuff and potentially need to tow things, and value MPG, so naturally diesels will be the preferred option.

    dooosuk
    Member

    There will no doubt be some ‘horror stories’ about how these complex little engines

    There already are. Ford’s Ecoboosts have been blowing their engines.

    retro83
    Member

    dooosuk – Member
    There will no doubt be some ‘horror stories’ about how these complex little engines
    There already are. Ford’s Ecoboosts have been blowing their engines.

    Are you talking about the problem with the plastic hose cracking that was remedied with a recall a few years back or is this something else?

    dooosuk
    Member

    Are you talking about the problem with the plastic hose cracking that was remedied with a recall a few years back or is this something else?

    TBH I can’t remember the finer details, just remember reading about it when the MIL’s Focus blew (twice – second time within 10 miles of picking it up). Something to do with a temp sensor failing to detect overheating (possibly due to loss of coolant).

    bigrich
    Member

    I’ve got 3.6L V6 that shuts down cylinders around town. Kind of wish I’d got the V8. Still less polluting than a diesel.

    I love living in the colonies.

    wobbliscott
    Member

    The difference is less about petrol/diesel than bigger family wagons needing more torque and being more efficient on longer runs

    Ah, this old chestnut again. People don’t need more torque, they’ve got used to diesels that give you all the torque at low rpms then nothing higher up the scale. Torque and towing capability is all about gearing so not an issue at all for a petrol engine. People just need to warn themselves off that lump of torque low down in the rev range, petrol engines can deliver all the torque needed.

    Diesels do deliver better mpg, and that may or may not translate into cheaper running costs, but even then that depends on he relative pricing of petrol vs. Diesel – it still takes around 40k miles if buying from new for the diesel car business case to start paying off.

    It was the car manufacturers lobbying politicians promising get them clean green diesel technology that lead to the rise in diesel cars…and huge sales for the manufacturers, but they failed to deliver on that promise and petrol is still the cleaner fuel, so no doubt the car manufacturers are winding up their lobbyists again to sell a new generation of hybrids and electric cars to clean up they air they’ve managed to dirty up with all the diesel cars they’ve forced into the streets.

    jimjam
    Member

    OP you should probably take a look at this thread from a day or two ago. Bottom line is you need to drive a new variable geometry turbo petrol back to back with a comparable turbo diesel.

    As richmtb points out above some people are comparing generalities they learned about old normally aspirated petrol engines (lack of torque etc) with turbo diesels. Or they are basing their opinions off conventional turbo petrol engines – an old Subaru Impreza or something. In addition to that you have confusion because manufactures use the same terms to describe a 1ltr engine and a 4ltr engine and spreading rumours about “horror stories”.

    New VGT petrol engines deliver comparable amounts of torque to a diesel of similar displacement from a similar point in the rev range (not identical but comparable), and then you still have increasing bhp past the middle of the rev range – it’s a nicer power band imo. Go to a dealerhsip and drive some. Just don’t expect the salesmen to have a clue about future legislation.

    Premier Icon benp1
    Subscriber

    My local council (London borough) have started charging an extra £10 for anyone who wants a residents parking permit and has a diesel car. It’s emissions based, then a straight £10 on top

    Our family car is a petrol (a 1.8 turbo engine in a e class estate, it’s huge!). Surprisingly fine, pulls kids, dogs, roof box and tow bar rack full of bikes. Mostly used for pootling about locally though

    bikebouy
    Member

    That point about diesels redg before 2006 being banned in london is slightly incorrect, it’s a distinction between the Euro 4-5-6 classifications that’s the deciding factor..

    wzzzz
    Member

    If you want to be future proof…. get an electric.

    However I think you are getting ahead of yourself.

    I doubt there will be a sudden crash in values of diesels or a ramping up of costs.

    Any cost will hit new sales rather than historical sales. One exception to that might be if you regularly drive in city centres which may quickly introduce charging. And then a charge for petrols will follow a diesel charge, as petrols aren’t exactly “clean” either. The 2006 diesel London ban will probably increment to newer cars too.

    You know diesels are bad, can you bring yourself to buy one just because it cheaper? But then petrols are only a bit less bad… and electric cars fund despot regimes where the lithium mines are.

    Just buy whatever stacks up now with your cash and your conscience. If its worthless in 10 years, who cares, you’ve had your use out of it.

    wzzzz
    Member

    PS Mrs has a petrol 1.2TSI 104hp 6 speed Golf, does over 55 mpg and just enough power to be mildly entertaining to drive

    I would look at the same engine or the 1.4tsi in a Skoda Yeti for something with a bit more room.

    stevextc
    Member

    Ah, this old chestnut again. People don’t need more torque, they’ve got used to diesels that give you all the torque at low rpms then nothing higher up the scale. Torque and towing capability is all about gearing so not an issue at all for a petrol engine. People just need to warn themselves off that lump of torque low down in the rev range, petrol engines can deliver all the torque needed.

    Diesels do deliver better mpg, and that may or may not translate into cheaper running costs, but even then that depends on he relative pricing of petrol vs. Diesel – it still takes around 40k miles if buying from new for the diesel car business case to start paying off.

    It was the car manufacturers lobbying politicians promising get them clean green diesel technology that lead to the rise in diesel cars…and huge sales for the manufacturers, but they failed to deliver on that promise and petrol is still the cleaner fuel, so no doubt the car manufacturers are winding up their lobbyists again to sell a new generation of hybrids and electric cars to clean up they air they’ve managed to dirty up with all the diesel cars they’ve forced into the streets.

    The whole thing is an old chestnut ….
    You can’t simply just say petrol is cleaner because it all depends on how and where it’s being used.
    All cars produce pollution – the most is electric but since that pollution takes place somewhere else it’s counted as clean… in the same way NoX in towns/cities is definitely bad…. however its a far more local pollutant…

    My mother used to have a Fiat 500 which I’m sure produced very little local pollution but a 300 mile motorway trip and it burned a litre of oil…. and about the same volume of fuel (or more) than my big diesel… however manufacturers are not allowed to publish figures outside the legislated ones..and the testing is specifically set up so that 4 hour motorway journeys are specifically not tested but common sense tells me an engine that burns 1L of oil in a 300 mile trip is producing much more pollution on the longish motorway trip than one that burns so little that it never needs topping up between 12500 mile services…

    I just got back from Germany yesterday and despite the preponderance of big diesels on the autobahn the air quality is good. Removing (or severely limiting them) from cities then makes sense… one difference is Germany has a functioning train system and we don’t… so despite my mothers old car being unsuitable for the journey the alternative is 8+ hours on trains… (that are also more expensive)

    Equally the reason we have so many diesels outside their environment is because legislation deliberately lied to the consumers… noone would have paid more for a diesel to be used in school runs had the actual MPG been available (or the requirements for the DPF cycle)… but the testing states the engine should be warmed up first…

    Diesel isn’t BAD … it is being used inappropriately … diesels are definitely inappropriate for mainly town/city use but then small petrols are inappropriate for mainly motorway use … and if you look at a complete cycle from building the car in the first place the small petrols being used for long journeys is then including the whole environmental cost of creating new cars and destroying old ones….

    Even this is skewed as manufacturers make fleet cars and non-fleet cars. So even though the engine may be the same a fleet car will be designed to last longer and hold resale.

    When a company is buying/leasing 10,000 cars the lifetime matters… and certain cars are designed mainly for the fleet market… it’s not just the engine but the bodywork and suspension is made to last…

    Edukator
    Member

    I was in Freiburg last week, walking in along the main road east I’d say the air quality has never been as bad in the last 25 years. They probably have some data somewhere on the Net, I might have a dig later.

    EV and petrol hybrid are what I hope will be the big sellers in ten years time.

    It’s not just variable turbos that have helped give petrol engines more low down torque Jimjam. The Renault TCE in my Dacia also has variable valve timing which reduces overlap at low revs and avoids that “coming on the cam” feeling. The engine runs well down to very low revs.

    jimjam
    Member

    Edukator

    It’s not just variable turbos that have helped give petrol engines more low down torque Jimjam.

    Yeah but we’ve had vvt since the early 80s and I don’t think it’s had as big an influence on torque at low rpms. The turbo is the main thing that’s giving you nearly 200-Nm per litre below 2000rpm from an engine that would probably have less than half that without it.

    Premier Icon Capt. Kronos
    Subscriber

    I would be looking at the new Mazda engines due on stream next year and wondering if I could hold out until they hit the market myself. Apparently they have a petrol engine running under compression – so pretty much has a blend of characteristics of both a petrol and diesel engine.

    Looks very, very interesting – and a decent option whilst waiting for widespread availability of EVs!

    I am just in the process of changing my van back to a pickup again having had a couple of issues over the past 18 months… so it’s a big old diesel mill for me! That said, since it is company registered and I need something to park my full NCB on before I loose it in January I am looking at something small, light and petrol (with a not so small engine in it)… which will also have to be very, very cheap due to skintness! Plans to perhaps loose the company and go it alone mean maintaining said NCB is kinda important!!!

    oafishb
    Member

    Thank you, STW hivemind. Great opinions and information, as usual.
    I am not surprised by the lack of petrol engines in the area we are looking at, but it makes things a touch harder. I will keep looking. *grumble* I still find the price of newish cars painful *end grumble*
    TBH I still drive a 14 year old Toyota Avensis in taxi beige. It refuses to die. Someone actually hailed me down on the street in Bristol the other day, but that a story for another time.

    wilburt
    Member

    July diesel sales were 20% down on YoY.

    Actually quite a good time to buy one for the right customer.

    Demand is low, prices dropping and you’ll still get 10+ years good service from a well chosen low mileage dealer car.

    There dont appear to be selling petrol cars either though so perhaps just a good time to be a buyer whatever youre after.

    Edukator
    Member

    I drove some wild cammed turbos in the 80s that would barely run below 3000rpm, Jimjam. It’s the combination of variable geometry turbos and variable valve timing that’s made tubos smooth low down. And coated pistons that don’t melt and mapping that means fueling and ignition timing are always optimal… . They’re just better, but still noisy, unrefined and lacking in low-down torque compared with an electric motor.

    jimjam
    Member

    Edukator – Reformed Troll

    I drove some wild cammed turbos in the 80s that would barely run below 3000rpm, Jimjam. It’s the combination of variable geometry turbos and variable valve timing that’s made tubos smooth low down. And coated pistons that don’t melt and mapping that means fueling and ignition timing are always optimal… . They’re just better, but still noisy, unrefined and lacking in low-down torque compared with an electric motor.

    Yes but we’ve had variable valve timing and alternate firing order camshafts and coated pistons and fixed geomtry turbos all in the same engines and they didn’t produce the same amount of torque at low rpms as diesels. Then we had “twin” turbos, sequential turbos, twin scroll turbos etc, but still not the same low end torque available with a vgt.

    And there were plenty of vvt afo cars that had annoying or noticeable changeovers depending on the type of car, or the type of driving you were doing. We can reminisce away, and yes it’s a confluence of multiple technologies but chief amoung them is the vgt and the way new engines and their management systems are built around them.

    hjghg5
    Member

    I have a petrol berlingo and when it broke down recently I looked at replacing it rather than fixing it (it’s fairly old and needed expensive repairs). I couldn’t find anything 3-5 years old that wasn’t diesel. I decided to fix the one I have in the hope it will last a few more years until more petrols start tricking through.

    fingers crossed!

    Edukator
    Member

    Good man, highg5. There’s a realisation in France that the scrapage deals a few years back took a lot of not very polluting small petrol cars off the road and replaced them with NOX and soot spewing diesels.

    wilburt
    Member

    Riding in traffic it seems to be pre-2007 cars, vans and buses that are the worst polluters.
    Some targeted scrapage scheme on those vehicles would seem sensible but I would like to see the subsidy applied only to modern(but not necessarily new) vehicles with low emissions.

    oafishb
    Member

    Yeah, it does seem that way, High 5. Part of me just thinks wait till more petrols trickle through. I quite liked the look of the Passat estate but, again, no petrols in my search. There was a newish passat hybrid on but that was £34,000. 😯

    Premier Icon molgrips
    Subscriber

    How much NOx does an SCR diesel actually produce? Real tested stats?

    thomthumb
    Member

    Part of me just thinks wait till more petrols trickle through. I quite liked the look of the Passat estate but, again, no petrols in my search. There was a newish passat hybrid on but that was £34,000.

    +1 lots of large estate cars auto trader has not one petrol between 2k & 30k. They either didn;t make them or didn’t sell them.

    I’m hanging on to my 02 plate for a while longer and will proabably still have to get a smaller car to avoid diesel.

    trail_rat
    Member

    Riding in traffic it seems to be pre-2007 cars, vans and buses that are the worst polluters.

    you ride around with emissions checking equipment on your bike ?

    ANyway i too am in the market for a new car.

    I want another berlingo/partner/doblo

    i also feel that the wifes driving habits have changed in such that she no longer benifits from a diesel now that all long journeys are done in the campervan.

    Went to the garage to see what i could see…. got any petrol berlingos/partners on your books – no ? – nation wide ? – no ….. but i can sell you this 1.2 puretech for 17grand…… no you cant.

    So ill be sticking with old faithful for a while longer. Just need to hope differential bearings last till i get back.

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