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Two thirds of car buyers will never buy a diesel

Diesel pump in use

Only 5% of car buyers plan to purchase a diesel powered model and two thirds said they’d never buy one, according to a new study.

The research comes after the latest, April new car registration figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed electric cars have outsold diesel models by more than a factor of two so far this year.

New diesel registrations for the first four months of 2022 account to 30,411 cars, while more than 77,000 new fully electric vehicles have been sold in the same period. In comparison, last April, more than 62,500 diesel models had been sold, while battery electric vehicle registrations stood at 40,931 for the first four months of 2021. Less than seven years ago, in 2015, diesel models accounted for 48.5% of the UK’s new car market

As part of its latest weekly industry research, What Car? asked 910 in-market buyers their views on diesel cars and whether they think they’ll be buying diesel in the future.

Of the new car buyers surveyed, just 5% said they were looking at a new, factory-order diesel car, while 21% of used buyers were considering a diesel as their next car. In total, 89% of all car buyers surveyed were considering fuel types other than a diesel. Of these, 66% were confident they would never buy a diesel car in the future, while 22% weren’t sure.

Of the buyers considering other fuel types, 34% said they avoid diesels because they don’t believe they are environmentally friendly enough, while 20% said a diesel wouldn’t suit their needs. Another 17% said other fuel types are now cheaper to run.

Steve Huntingford, editor of What Car?, said: “Diesel’s rapid decline in sales comes as manufacturers continue to offer fewer models to new car buyers. Vauxhall was the latest manufacturer to drop the diesel option on its best-selling Corsa, with the car now available in petrol or fully electric powertrains only.

“As the new diesel car parc declines, this will eventually impact the used market for diesel cars – which are also impacted by the growing number of low emissions zones and other air quality initiatives.”

Two-thirds of motorists want to buy an electric vehicle (EV), with the majority seeking lower fuel bills.

A survey, commissioned by Bridgestone, found that 67% of motorists intended to switch to an EV and, of that figure, 47% want to change to save on fuel bills, while 56% are sold by the environmental benefits of EVs.

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