Diesel vs petrol cars: pros and cons

Buying a car

Petrol cars are in general, more common on the roads in Malaysia. Diesel vehicles are often the larger vehicles on the road such as trucks while most privately owned cars are petrol cars. Before you start selling your car to buy a new one, it is good to know their differences. So, diesel vs petrol cars, and which is better?

Fuel Economy

Fuel Economy. Diesel vs petrol

When looking at types of fuel, price is often the top consideration. On the surface, petrol might be better than diesel as the latter is a bit more expensive than Ron 95. When compared to the more efficient petrol Ron 97 however, diesel is much cheaper. Diesel is also less prone to price fluctuations meaning that you can reliably calculate future expenditure without worrying about a price hike caused by fuel shortage. If you plan on only using Ron 95 however, opting for a petrol car might be on the cards. I

Read more: Ron 95 or Ron 97 – which is better for your car?


Power. Diesel vs Petrol. Speedometer

Diesel is hands down more powerful than petrol as it produces more torque. This is because modern diesel engines are turbocharged and have higher compression engines, therefore producing more power despite the smaller size. In addition, diesel engines produce more power at lower rpms, and therefore can accelerate faster. That is not taking into consideration that diesel engines are built to be more rugged. As such, diesel engines tend to last longer than their petrol counterparts.

Road tax

Road Tax Diesel Petrol

If you look at the chart above, it covers the road tax for saloon cars in Peninsular Malaysia regardless of engine type. Saloon cars, i.e. sedans, hatchbacks convertibles, wagons, or coupes are all treated the same here. So as long as your car’s capacity is under 1,600 cc, prices are fairly low.

For company owned cars however, prices are a little different.

Company Owned Car Road Tax

Cars registered under companies tend to have a slightly higher base tax and the progression after 1,600 cc is also much higher.

As such, there isn’t any difference between diesel engines and petrol engines in terms of road tax. It all depends on the registration and the capacity of the engine.


Exhaust Pipe, Environment, Emissions

Since 1st April 2021, the Malaysian government has announced that Euro 2M grade diesel be replaced by the Euro 5 grade diesel. The newer Euro 5 diesel is better than the Euro 2M for one reason: lower Sulphur content. The Euro 2M diesel has a Sulphur content of 500 ppm while the Euro 5 has a Sulphur content of 10 ppm. As a comparison, Euro 4M Ron 95 has a sulphur content of 50 ppm, five times higher Euro 5 diesel.

This lower Sulphur content results in lower levels of sulfuric acid which has two benefits. Firstly, the lower levels of acids means your engine and associated filters do not get damaged as quickly. This saves money in the long run. Secondly, the lower levels of sulfuric acid directly results in less sulfur oxides being produced. This lowers the volume of harmful pollutants expelled by diesel engines, making our air cleaner and safer to breathe.


Car Service

When thinking about diesel engines, a Malaysian would most probably think of trucks, busses, and other large vehicles. As such, diesel vehicles are not something Malaysians would consider, or even think about when buying a car. This extends to handling and driving the vehicle, but that can be overcome with patience and willingness to try something new.

All in all, diesel cars are much cheaper and more powerful than electric cars and hybrid cars. Not only that, they also can also have better fuel economy than petrol cars. Diesel cars might be something to seriously consider when buying a car, though unfamiliarity might be something holding people back. In the end, the decision between diesel vs petrol cars will have to be made. Not sure where to start looking? Try checking our inventory of pre-owned cars here! MyTukar is also an online destination to easily sell your car or send your car for servicing!

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  1. Why should I have to breath every body else’s dirty fumes in, when I don’t chose to run a filthy diesel engine that is bad for the environment all round!!!!!

    1. Hi Sue, did you know that Euro 5 Diesel, based on the European Union’s fuel standards, is both more powerful and has less sulphur than Ron 95? Per Shell, Euro 5 Diesel has a sulphur content of 10 PPM, while Ron 95 has a sulphur content of 50 PPM. This means that diesel, provided you use Euro 5, is cleaner than regular petrol and more powerful to boot!

  2. Modern Diesel engines are cleaner than gasoline engines. Fitted with diesel particular filters and selective catalyst reduction. They smell as clean as it clothes dryer.

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