Buying a Car?

Petrol, diesel, LPG: which one will serve you best?

Added 4 March 2016 by

Choice of engine type is one of the most important decisions to make when changing a car. Each of the three fuel options available (diesel, petrol and LPG) has its benefits and drawbacks; this article will help you learn which will work best for you.

Compression-ignition engines


  • substantially smaller consumption compared to petrol engines; this means you can drive further and save more;

  • durability (in older constructions) – the older diesel engines hardly ever break down. Still, when they eventually do, repairs will cost you far more than if you had a petrol engine. This is especially true in the case of modern diesels where injectors, turbocharger, particle filter and dual mass flywheel tend to break down quite easily;

  • flexibility – diesel powered cars are more forgiving for drivers who are yet to learn to change gears in an economical way.


  • less durable than petrol engines – true, compression-ignition engines did use to be extremely durable when they were naturally aspirated. Back then they could really last a million kilometres. The modern compression-injection engines have little to do with those classics, though. Equipped with turbochargers, injectors, particle filters and dual mass flywheels that often need repairs, they are bound to break down faster;

  • more expensive to buy – fuel savings and the tradition of faultlessness together make diesel cars more expensive in general. It doesn’t even matter if you’re buying brand new or second-hand.

Diesel cars are most often chosen by those who regularly drive long distances. Only then do you really make substantial savings on fuel and are thus able to compensate for the cost of purchase and repairs. We do not recommend diesel engines if you drive little and mostly in the city.

Petrol engines

The benefits and drawbacks of petrol engines are to a great extent the opposite of what diesel engines have to offer.


  • cheaper purchase cost – the same car equipped with a diesel enigne will cost more;

  • cheaper repairs – a petrol engine is cheaper to repair than a diesel engine;

  • prestige – some drivers consider petrol cars more prestigious than their economical diesel alternatives,

  • fuel savings if you install LPG – most of petrol cars enable you to have LPG installed


  • fuel cost – not only is petrol more expensive than diesel oil but petrol engines also consume more of it.

Petrol cars are usually chosen by those who drive too little for LPG or a diesel engine to bring about any savings. They are commonly bought as the second car for the household, the one that you only use to get to work and back.

LPG-converted cars

LPG conversion is popularly treated as a chance to make the same kind of savings that diesel car owners are boasting about. After all, LPG is usually twice as cheap as petrol. Still, there are certain drawbacks you need to be aware of before converting your own car.


  • substantial modification of the car construction (unless the vehicle is manufactured with LPG);

  • reduction of luggage capacity – gas tank is not that small. You may save some luggage space by putting the tank where the spare tyre should be but then, obviously, you have no spare tyre in there;

  • longer and more frequent refuelling – LPG takes longer to refuel and at some stations you cannot actually do it yourself due to safety regulations. The gas tank size is limited so your car will consume all the LPG faster than it would consume a full tank of petrol;

  • power loss – an LPG-fuelled petrol engine will lose a couple per cent of its power;

  • limited access to certain facilities – if your car is converted to LPG, you will not be let in e.g. underground car parks;

  • limited fuel availability abroad – LPG is only that popular in Poland, so when you go abroad you may find it difficult to refuel your car. If you enjoy driving abroad, stick to petrol or diesel.

Before you have your car converted to LPG you need to make some calculations to learn if the conversion will bring about any savings and if so, how much exactly you will save. The conversion usually costs well over 2,000 PLN so it will take plenty of time before you can compensate for it. You will also have to do more ckeckups and repairs; consider their cost as well.

Who can think of converting their car to LPG, then? Those who drive a lot,do not need that much luggage space, and are not bothered by frequent refuelling. If you often drive short distances, the conversion may be worth the money.

Overall, in order to decide which type of engine will bring about the greatest savings, you need to consider two factors: the number of kilometers you make annually, and the distances you make in one go. The less you drive, the more you will save if you go for a petrol engine. When you drive a lot but distances are short, you can convert the car to LPG. If you often drive very long distances, a diesel engine will be the most economical choice.

The type of fuel is not the only factor that you need to consider before you bu a car, so remember to check the performance of a diesel and petrol engine in the model you have chosen. It often turns out that in the same model, two different engines have totally different reviews. If you would love a diesel version but statistics show it breaks down much faster than its petrol alternative, in the end the savings made on fuel will be spent on repairs, which means the same expenses but more trouble. If it’s LPG you are after, remember that not every petrol engine can be converted at all, and even those that can may be more prone to breakdowns. Make sure you know the differences between all the three options in a particular model before you decide what engine to go for.

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  1. Deb Pearl

    My husband has been debating on getting whether or not to get a diesel car or not. I wanted to try and look up information to help him decide. I didn’t know that you can get more mileage with a diesel engine, since it has smaller consumption. That would be a really cool benefit! Thank you for all the information!

  2. Wadym Piątnicki

    “If you enjoy driving abroad, stick to petrol or diesel” – wrong!!! LPG conversion isn’t alternative to petrol, it’s complementary. You can easily use any of the two fuels in the LPG converted car.