Added: 01 March 2018

Diesel cars are suited to more than twice as many motorists as petrol cars, according to data from What Car? magazine’s newly launched What Fuel? tool.  But it seems that hybrid cars are the best choice for most motorists.

The What Fuel? tool asks four simple questions to find out the driver’s typical mileage, type of roads travelled on most often and most common individual journeys.  It then uses this information to assess what fuel type is best suited, financially and environmentally, for each motorist.

In its first week, more than 5,800 motorists used it to find out what powertrain they should buy in order to be most cost-effective and efficient.  Around 11% found that a diesel – which has been the subject of huge negativity in the last 12 months, with emissions levels demonised and the Government’s lack of clarity over taxation causing mass confusion – was the optimal choice, compared with just 4% who were recommended a petrol car. 

And while the choice of viable electric cars is growing, range anxiety and infrastructure currently count against them, hybrid cars’ combination of a greener electric motor coupled with the added protection of a combustion engine increasingly makes them an ideal compromise for many.  They currently account for just 4% of the cars on UK roads but, according to the What Fuel? results so far, could be the right choice for 60% of drivers.

“Recent research we carried out revealed that more than half of motorists find the most frustrating thing about buying a new car is the amount of choice they have to wade through,” the magazine’s editor Steve Huntingford said.  “The number of engines, models, colours, accessories, spec levels and deals on offer can feel completely overwhelming.  The confusion is then compounded by the uncertainty over fuel types, taxation and the future direction of the motor industry.

“With electric cars and hybrids still a relatively new phenomenon and the Government causing uncertainty over the suitability of diesels, consumers are desperate for clarity.  The What Fuel? tool is designed to cut through some of this noise.”