Diesel power surrenders its sales lead to petrol

Time 11:24 am, January 8, 2016

The UK car sales figures for 2015 have painted a fairly rosy picture, but there has been an unusual casualty.

For the first time since 2010, diesel-engined cars have been outsold by petrol models.

Diesel power gained significant ground in UK sales during the dip in the late-Noughties, achieving a 51 per cent market share in 2011 with 981,594 vehicles sold to petrol’s 934,203 and alternative-fuel vehicles at 25,456 sales. Since then, it’s been a tale of diesel dominance, and in 2014 the gap between diesel and petrol was huge at 55,764 units.

However, 2015 has been a bad year for the reputation of diesel, with myriad questions about just how clean and efficient diesel really is following the Volkswagen scandal in September.

This hasn’t harmed diesel sales particularly, as more cars than ever before were bought in 2015 with diesel engines – 1,276,871 in total – but petrol-engined cars have taken a slender lead with a market share of 48.8 per cent to diesel’s 48.5 per cent.

Alternative-fuel vehicles – primarily electric and hybrid-electric – have also seen a significant rise, consisting of 2.76 per cent of all cars sold in the UK last year. More alternative-fuel cars were sold in 2015 than in 2010, 2011 and 2012 put together.

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