Diesel discounts rocket amidst falling demand

It’s understood the government is planning to raise VAT on diesel fuel or hike road tax when its Autumn Budget is announced on Wednesday.

Leaks suggest the money raised will provide extra funds for the improvements in air quality announced in its Clean Air Strategy in July.

However, with demand for diesel falling – sales of diesel cars fell by 29.9% in October, compared with the same month in 2016 – What Car? has found discounts on new diesel cars are 25.6% higher on average than for their petrol counterparts with average savings of £2,716.

Claire Evans, consumer editor at What Car?, said, ‘The dramatic rise in discounts is a direct response to a slump in demand caused by the government’s demonisation of diesels and a lack of understanding from consumers of the new cleaner ‘Euro 6’ diesels now available. It’s a perfect storm.’

The gap between petrol and diesel discounts is at its starkest in the volume sector, with a 34% bigger discount on diesels, and large SUVs (28%).

What Car?’s new car buying marketplace gathers the best deals available on new cars, including the latest diesel models, allowing consumers to buy at that price and avoid the hassle of haggling. The biggest percentage discount available on a diesel is 25.2% off a Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 TDI 150 GT DSG saloon. Overall, Target Price savings climb as high as £22,626.

Claire added, ‘At the current level of discounts available, any increases in tax on diesels will be off-set by the fall in price of the vehicle itself. For the canny buyer, the market is ripe for deals and securing big savings over petrol variants. Despite recent headlines, diesel cars still have much to offer, especially for drivers doing high annual mileage or a lot of motorway driving. They deliver better low-end power and more torque than petrol equivalents, so are much better suited to tasks such as towing, too.’