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Don't pick diesel by default

Date: 04 December 2006   |   Author: Rupert Saunders

Think carefully when choosing fuel type

The business car market could save itself money by "rethinking its attitude" towards petrol engines, according to Dean Shaw, product manager for Volvo.

His remarks come at a time when diesel is taking an ever-increasing market share.

Speaking at the UK launch of Volvo's C30, Shaw said the perception in the business car market was: 'I must have a diesel'. In fact, many corporate car drivers - particularly those who aren't doing huge mileages - would be better off these days in a petrol car.

Shaw said many drivers were not being offered a real choice because user-chooser lists tend to be split by petrol and diesel, rather than comparing equivalent cars with both fuel types.

"Many business car drivers are selecting diesel by default and not always doing the research to save themselves money," he said. "If they had all the facts in front of them, they might come to a different decision."

Factors that might affect the decision include the high premium now being charged for diesel engines and the continuing higher price of diesel fuel at the pumps. Both are unlikely to change in the medium term, and forthcoming Euro5 emissions legislation could push diesel engine costs higher as particulate filters become essential.

BMW and Volvo are both now charging around £2000 premium for their diesel engines while Audi charges almost £2500 for a 2.0 TDI over the equivalent 2.0 petrol model.