Diesels remain popular after scandal

New research for AA Cars suggests that faith in diesel cars is not being severely dented following the recent emissions scandal.

More than a quarter of car buyers (28%) say they will opt for a diesel motor – that’s just 1% down from a similar survey carried out in May and 2% down from December 2014.

Between December 2012 and December 2014, the number choosing diesel fell by 10%, but since then the decline has slowed.

Regionally, drivers in Northern Ireland are most likely to choose diesel (46%). Those in the South East (61%) and London (60%) are most likely to buy a petrol car.

Men are also much more likely to choose diesel (35%) compared with just a quarter (25%) of women. Drivers aged 65 and over are most likely to choose petrol, two-thirds (65%) doing so.

In fact, the findings from the AA-Populus Motoring Panel, responded to by over 27,600 drivers, shows that petrol power remains king with half of respondents (50%) choosing this option, higher than the 47% of December 2014 but also down from 51% since May.

Interest in hybrid or electric cars continues to rise with nearly 1 in 10 (9%) now choosing a ‘green’ option. Although numbers remain small, those who say they will opt for a pure electric vehicle has been rising but is just 1% of all respondents.

David Bruce, director of AA Cars said, ‘Our own experience suggests that interest in diesel cars on the AA Cars website remains undiminished.’

‘What’s more, the research suggests that those not choosing diesel do so for a wide range of reasons, most likely being that their mileage is too low to justify the higher cost of buying a diesel – 37% saying that.’

‘Only 9% agree that the emissions scandal has put them off. More respondents (15%) were worried about potential health effects of diesel exhaust.’

The AA’s online used cars sales platform currently lists 87,530 diesel cars for sale out of approaching 200,000 cars in total. Mr Bruce added, ‘Despite the controversy, used diesel car prices appear to be holding up well.’

Car fuel choice of those planning to change their car in the next three years

  Dec 12 Mar 14 Dec 14 May 15 Oct 15
Petrol 45% 42% 47% 51% 50%
Diesel 40% 38% 30% 29% 28%
Hybrid 5% 6% 6% 6% 7%
plug-in hybrid 0% 1% 1% 1% 1%
Electric 0% 0% 0% 1% 1%
don’t know 9% 13% 15% 12% 13%