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Diesel sales up as commuters turn their backs on public transport

by LLB Reporter
23rd Sep 21 10:39 am

With the great return to the office in full swing, commuters aren’t clamouring to get up close and personal with hundreds of others in packed rush hour buses, trains and tubes any longer.

Instead, workers going back are choosing the privacy and comfort of their cars as the best option for a post-Covid commute.

New research carried out by online car marketplace heycar* has revealed more than half of the public intends to avoid public transport wherever possible.

For those millions who are clearly still feeling anxious over the long-lasting effects of the pandemic, despite the lifting of all restrictions, it is the reassuring private space of their cars that appeals most. When asked how they intend to commute, 47 per cent of people said by car.

The 18 months of home working brought on by Covid saw thousands of people leaving the UK’s cities for larger properties in rural locations, smaller towns and coastal communities. Recent research** showed that property searches for Cornwall, Devon and Dorset had jumped in popularity as the most sought-after places people wanted to live.

However, now that office life is back on the agenda for almost all of us, people need to be ready for longer drives on the two or three days they’re in the office each week. So it’s little surprise that fuel efficient diesels are most in-demand – in fact, heycar is reporting that seven in 10 of the most popular cars on its site at present are diesel models.

The most in-demand models between May 1 and September 1 on the popular online car marketplace were:

  • Range Rover Evoque Diesel
  • Ford Ranger Diesel
  • Mercedes-Benz A Class Diesel
  • Mercedes Benz C Class Diesel
  • Mercedes Benz E Class Diesel
  • Nissan Qashqai Petrol
  • Volkswagen Polo Petrol
  • Nissan X-Trail Diesel
  • Ford Fiesta Petrol
  • Land Rover Discovery Sport Diesel

Drivers surveyed indicated that their preference for diesel models was due to fuel economy (41 per cent), being the best option for long journeys (29 per cent) and reliability (26 per cent).

Diesel remains a popular choice with the nation’s motorists, despite the government’s moves to ban the sale of new models from 2030.

A survey carried out for the Honest John motoring site*** shows that 41 per cent of drivers do not plan to buy an electric vehicle for more than five years.

The upcoming ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars is not popular with motorists, with one in three surveyed by heycar saying that they’ll stick with traditionally fuelled models after the ban, while two in five feel the ban is unreasonable.

Although pure electric cars with zero tailpipe emissions are firmly on motorists’ horizons, right now the environment is low down the list of car-buying priorities. Cost is the top consideration for car buyers in the heycar survey, followed by fuel efficiency, range and then protecting the environment.

And the high costs of electric vehicles compared to traditional petrol and diesel cars is still the main barrier to switching. Cheaper prices would encourage three in five to make the switch, with lower running costs and improved infrastructure (more charging points) the priority for 40 per cent.

Dan Powell, senior editor at heycar, says: “After so many months of lockdowns and social distancing, it’s understandable that one-in-two are uncomfortable with the prospect of being jammed into a train carriage or standing on a packed bus with dozens of strangers.

“As a result, our cars have taken on even more importance as a comfortable and reliable way to travel to work in a post-pandemic world.

“At heycar, we‘ve seen strong demand for diesel models over the past four months, which tells us that motorists are looking for the most fuel efficient cars for longer journeys such as motorway commutes.

“We have seen a lot of demand for premium diesels, with the Range Rover Evoque and Mercedes-Benz C-Class being extremely popular with car buyers who want a comfortable and stylish commuter car. Ford’s large and practical Ranger pick-up is also seeing increased demand, which suggests buyers are looking for a car that will accommodate their staycation needs.”

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