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Revealed: The top five UK areas where used diesel cars for sale are plummeting

  • Proportion of used diesels for sale in showrooms has fallen by as much as 44 per cent
  • AA Cars data reveals where diesel is falling out of favour the most
  • Only seven places out of 89 towns and cities saw diesels’ share of used car market rise
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Time 10:53 am, August 1, 2023

The proportion of used diesel cars for sale is shrinking, with market share falling by as much as 44 per cent in some areas of the UK.

That’s according to analysis by AA Cars, the AA’s used car website.

The sharpest falls were recorded in Brentford and Croydon in outer London, both of which will fall into the capital’s ultra low emission zone (Ulez) when it expands later this month.


Drivers of older diesels must pay £12.50 per day to drive in the Ulez.

A year ago, nearly two in five (36 per cent) used cars for sale in Brentford were diesel models, but that proportion has now shrunk to just a fifth, with the number on sale declining by 44 per cent.

Meanwhile, the share of used diesels for sale in Croydon has fallen by almost a third (31 per cent).


While the Ulez expansion to include all London boroughs doesn’t come into force until August 29, it is already reshaping demand, says AA Cars.

Similar clear air zone schemes have been introduced in areas across the UK and higher taxation for high-polluting vehicles has also contributed to the decline in diesel sales in recent years.

In June 2023, diesels accounted for just 3.5 per cent of new car sales, with total diesel sales down nearly a quarter (22 per cent) versus June 2022, according to SMMT figures.

SMMT data shows EVs now constitute 16 per cent of new car sales but still account for just 1.4 per cent of used car sales.

However, used EV sales are likely to increase as more examples make their way on to the second-hand market, said AA Cars.

Separate AA Cars data revealed that nearly a fifth of drivers feel ready to buy a used EV now (seven per cent) or in the next two years (11 per cent), according to an online sample of 12,225 UK adults.

In 2022, sales of used EVs rose by 37.5 per cent, said the SMMT, recording their strongest annual performance with a record 71,071 units finding new owners.

AA Cars’ analysis of 89 UK towns and cities found that only Leeds, Derby, Milton Keynes, Plymouth, Romford, Exeter and Cheltenham saw a rise in the proportion of used diesels on sale.

Hinckley in Leicestershire had the highest proportion of diesel cars in its second-hand showrooms, with diesels accounting for 63 per cent of used cars for sale.

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Diesels’ market share in the town fell by just six per cent in the past year.

AA Cars director Mark Oakley said: ‘With the upcoming Ulez expansion in London and the nationwide 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars looming, many drivers are thinking long-term and considering the changing landscape when shopping for their next car.

‘As production and sales of new diesels fall, the number of nearly-new models coming on to the used market will slowly follow suit.

‘It’s early days, but this trend is already apparent on forecourts across the country – most noticeably in Brentford where our research reveals that used diesels’ market share fell by 44 per cent in just a year.

‘The falling number of diesels appearing on forecourts could be because of significant production shortages over recent years, or owners holding on to their cars for longer.

‘Meanwhile, attitudes towards electric vehicles are shifting, as buyers and dealers focus on greener alternatives.

‘EVs still account for only a small proportion of total used car sales, but this is starting to change as more stock comes on stream.’

Top five areas with biggest decline in proportion of used diesel cars on sale

1) Brentford

Proportion of diesel cars a year ago: 36.40%

Proportion of diesel cars now: 20.30%

Percentage fall in diesel cars on sale: 44

2) Croydon

Proportion of diesel cars a year ago: 32.50%

Proportion of diesel cars now: 22.30%

Percentage fall in diesel cars on sale: 31

3) Basingstoke

Proportion of diesel cars a year ago: 37.20%

Proportion of diesel cars now: 26.00%

Percentage fall in diesel cars on sale: 30

4) Poole

Proportion of diesel cars a year ago: 39.30%

Proportion of diesel cars now: 29.50%

Percentage fall in diesel cars on sale: 25

5) Aylesbury

Proportion of diesel cars a year ago: 36.10%

Proportion of diesel cars now: 27.80%

Percentage fall in diesel cars on sale: 23

Source: AA Cars

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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