Diesel has become the fuel type of choice for Europeans. It’s more economical and the engine power is more accessible over a wider rev range. On the down size, it does need more maintenance. When one buys petrol in NZ, the tax is already on the fuel. Diesel, however, is charged separately as road user charges (RUCs). The problem with that is all vehicles up to three tones have the same tax, which is good for larger vehicles but all but makes buying smaller diesel cars pointless. A smaller petrol powered car is cheaper to run than its diesel equivalent.
So while three of my last four vehicles were diesel motored vehicles, my latest one is petrol. It just didn’t stack up to buy a small oil burner. The government has said it would like to see more small cars with diesel engines on the road and promised that by April of 2008, it would make the RUCs lower for such cars. That didn’t happen and who knows if it will in the future?
The reason for hitting diesel vehicles so hard is apparently to pay for the upgrading of the recently purchased but run down rail system. It wants more freight carried by rail, not truck. Trucks are diesel powered but as to why little diesel cars should also shoulder that cost I don’t get. People won’t buy them in large numbers until the RUCs are fairer to the little guy, I mean car.