Car registrations down as diesel debated

Car registrations dropped in May by 3.5 per cent, the first fall in volumes since February.

The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) revealed that volumes over the first five months of the year were down by a minimal 0.6 per cent.

But the figures were May’s weakest performance since 1999, probably due to the tight credit conditions being experienced by consumers.

As fuel prices continue to increase, consumers may be looking for fuel efficient models, but a new study has shown that they may not always be the cheap option in the short-term.

EurotaxGlass found that an average three-year-old mid-sized family diesel vehicle can cost as much as £800 more than a petrol model.

Consumers looking to save on fuel bills would only recoup £105 per year with the diesel model meaning it would take almost eight years for it to be better value alongside its petrol counterpart.

Petrol costs are also rising at a slower rate than diesel prices with petrol up 15 per cent compared to May last year and diesel up by 25 per cent.

Adrian Rushmore, managing director of the firm, said the used car market was still adapting to the year-on-year increases in fuel costs.

He expects the rises to lead to a drop in the popularity of non fuel efficient models.

“While there is nothing to suggest that prices of used diesels are falling faster as availability increases, clearly the broader financial argument for diesel ownership is becoming less persuasive,” Mr Rushmore added.

He said the models would need to rely on driving characteristics rather than financial qualities.

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