Diesel demand plummets

Thousands of diesel car owners are already looking to offload their vehicles after a ‘triple whammy of bad news’ according to car buying website Motorway.co.uk.

Based on thousands of online valuations made in April via the website, more than half (56%) of enquiries were from UK diesel car owners, even though only 47.7% of cars on UK roads are diesels.

Amongst diesel owners based in London, valuation enquiry levels were even higher. The capital’s diesel drivers are clearly questioning their car ownership choices, with 58% of all London enquiries on Motorway.co.uk last month being diesel vehicles.

This surge in enquiries from diesel sellers follows a double dose of bad news in April for diesel owners already facing the prospect of a ‘toxin tax’. Firstly, London Mayor Sadiq Khan stated he will bring forward the introduction of an ultra-low emission zone to April 2019, and increased congestion charges on high-polluting cars. The government then hinted that it was considering introducing a diesel car scrappage scheme.

A survey of almost 1,000 diesel car owners across the UK carried out by Motorway.co.uk also revealed that 18.9% of diesel owners said they will be looking to sell their car over the next 12 months to avoid paying additional taxes.

The anticipated glut of diesel cars to hit the used car market, combined with falling buyer demand makes a significant price drop likely within the next 12 months.

Motorway.co.uk believes a fall in the average price of used diesel cars of 10-15% versus their current deprecation rate, over the next 12 months, is entirely likely. With around 17 million diesel cars on the road, and the average value of a used diesel car at around £7,000, a 15% drop in value would see more than £17bn wiped off the combined net worth of current UK diesel car owners.

Alex Buttle, director of Motorway.co.uk, commented, ‘We have not seen a major fall in diesel car valuations on our website just yet, but the surge we have seen in diesel selling suggests the market will quickly become saturated. Coupled with falling demand for ‘dirty diesels’, this means a price drop is inevitable. This has already happened in Germany, where similar diesel regulations led to a 19% drop in the average price of diesel cars this year.’