Ah the old petrol or diesel debate! What a pain in the ass, mind you it was a lot easier back in the day when a) fuel was cheap b) diesels were slow and c) no one cared about global warming. But anyway the below is somewhat of a rant and doesn't reflect the views of MicksGarage
as a company but rather one employee who we “think” may be a bit nuts!
The Government Hates the Motorist
Since we do have a big audience from the UK, I thought I’d share with our friends over the water that the Irish government, tends to fleece the motorist every time they need extra cash for some ridiculous project or to pay sovereign debt, which seems to be the cool thing to do nowadays (I say sovereign debt with a pinch of salt here since it never should have been sovereign – but this isn't a political blog).
Anyway, road tax in Ireland is a rip off, and has been for quite some time! Now I wouldn't mind if this massive tax receipt was used to improve the road network, but no; motorway tolls are sold off and privatised, back roads are poorly lit, roads all over the country are filled with pot holes (some would call craters), etc, etc, etc… For good measure here’s some examples of what our road tax money is supposed to fix:
Anyway, onto the whole diesel thing – one thing the government did a few years back was to re-adjust the tax rates based on emissions. Which means that if you can afford to buy a 2008+ diesel or one of them hybrid things (no future by the way) than HAPPY DAYS you're onto a winner. If it wasn't so serious it would be hilarious how the Irish government consistently reverts to taxing and punishing the lower earners in society (I’m sorry I just realised I went off on a political tangent again). No but in fairness its a shame people who can afford to pay big bucks for a motor upgrade in the middle of a recession get a huge tax break
The funny thing about this, is the fact that there is actually far less money now being generated because the public are actually switching to diesel cars! Now that’s all well and good for the environment but not for the exchequer. I think it’s going to be hilarious when they slowly start creeping the lower emission tax bands back up – and sure they've already started with the last budget. The below picture comes to mind:
Ireland vs. United Kingdom - Private Road Car Tax Rate Comparison
Below is a table of what the current tax rates are in Ireland and the UK, taking into account both emission based and engine sized based rates from both states.
Even with the lower rates on emissions, there is a massive difference, and has anyone seen UK roads, especially the motorway network? Some may argue that there’s more people, more cars and more tax income – but there is also more (and better) roads to maintain so the costs are relative!
And that’s really annoying! But the thing that annoys me the most, and the reason why I have gone on the whole topic of government here is that they have managed to convince the general public that they should be driving diesels! And for a lot of people it just doesn't make sense!
Petrol vs. Diesel
The reason this all came about is because a friend of mine is looking at a car, and he is determined to buy a E60 BMW 520d / 525d. Now he's not buying a 2008+ car so he won’t benefit from the lower tax rate – he's buying a 2004-2006 car and tax doesn’t really come into it. Why does he want a diesel though? Because he is under the illusion that he’ll save loads of money on fuel and depreciation (because no one is currently buying big petrols).
Now I am a big petrol head but even I’ll admit when a diesel car makes sense – if you are doing very high yearly mileage and if you can afford a 2008+ car (for the time being anyway). Now in order to make this point to my friend I downloaded this very handy running costs calculator
from whatcar.com and filled it out. I based it on the 520d vs. 520i versions of the E60, got factory MPG figures and based the cost price of the car on the actual average of all 520d’s and 520i’s on carzone.ie and donedeal.ie. I ignored the tax part and resale value because I was not interested in that for the small point I was getting at. I also put his average annual mileage down as 10,000 even though I know it’s far less than that – but I was trying to make a strong case for it! The average price of diesel and petrol was based on whatever pumps.ie had it down as on the day.
Anyway the result was, that based on his mileage, mpg, buying price and all that jazz – it would take just over 5 years before he sees any saving from buying the diesel! 5 YEARS! Do people even hold onto cars that long anymore? I worked it out again based on the cheapest diesel vs. the average petrol car and the break-even point was 2 years!
And the worrying thing is that was based on him doing 10k miles per year which based on his commute I would say he does half. And that’s the problem! Everyone is afraid of buying petrol cars because “no one will buy it from them at re-sale”, diesel is cheaper, the government hate petrol, etc, etc, etc… Sure the average weekly fuel bill will be smaller, but overall you are losing money. And in the second hand market you’ll get a better spec, nicer petrol with more optional extras and the car will be a nicer place to be.
Anyway all the above is based on basic fuel based running cost! The other thing many people fail to consider is the reliability and repair costs of modern diesel cars. Modern diesels are less reliable than their petrol equivalents because of (among other things) the huge amount of emissions related crap that’s fitted to them – I may get slated for that one. EGR Valves
, Diesel Particulate Filters
, Turbos all these things go wrong, the extra torque is also great until the Flywheel
decides it doesn’t like you anymore!
Anyway, think I’ll end this little rant now. The general gist is – the government hates the motorist, we’re ripped off on road tax, fuel tax, even insurance compared to the UK, and diesel DOES NOT make sense for most people! Everyone needs to fill in the above comparison chart in before making the choice and unless you do high miles – chances are you’ll be buying a petrol.
Sure buy a V8, you only live once!
Want more petrol vs diesel ramblings?