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The Truth about Diesel Cars | Debunking Diesel Car Myths

Diesel cars, as the name suggests, run on diesel engines. It’s cost-effective and possesses more torque. The driving experience of a diesel-powered vehicle has evolved progressively, making it virtually similar to that of a petrol-powered vehicle. 

However, because of the government’s diesel engine taxes and the deserved reputation diesel engines have for being “dirty” and “polluting”, it’s really no mystery that diesel cars are not as widely received in Singapore as they are in Europe. 

diesel car myths in Singapore
Source: Ministry of Transport

In fact, the government announced that “no more new diesel cars and taxis will be allowed to be registered here from 2025”, pushing for a cleaner and greener alternative. 

Although there’s a decline in the popularity of diesel-powered cars, it remains a popular choice for goods vehicles and buses in Singapore.

As such, many people have developed misconceptions about diesel engines that are simply false. These beliefs have circulated for so long that many have come to believe them to be real. Let’s dispel some of the most common misconceptions about today’s diesel cars. 

Debunking Diesel Car Myths

Myth 1: Diesel causes an unhealthy amount of air pollution

Diesel engines have a bad reputation for causing excessive air pollution. Since diesel engines seem to emit a tremendous amount of smoke, they were easily considered as heavy environmental polluters. 

debunking popular diesel car myths

This is only true to a certain extent. 

Surprisingly, studies have shown that diesel engines don’t actually produce as much pollution as some car experts believe. New and old diesel should be differentiated because today’s diesel car engines have improved drastically. 

Myth 2: Diesel cars are expensive to maintain and repair

We are led to believe that a diesel engine is more costly because of strict emission regulations. However, in most cases, maintaining a diesel car isn’t any more costly than maintaining a petrol counterpart. Diesel car owners could even get better fuel economy!

diesel car engine

Although both diesel and petrol cars share similar maintenance schedules, here are 4  tips on how to maintain a diesel car (especially for diesel owners):

1. Keep your engine clean.

Simply put, as your vehicle travels longer distances, dirt and dust will definitely accumulate on the engine. Without frequent cleaning, the accumulation of filth might compromise the efficiency of your engine and potentially lower fuel efficiency. 

2. Check your air filters

Ensure that the air filters remain clean and effective! A clogged filter will cause your engine to “choke”, requiring it to use more fuel to achieve the power and acceleration you need. 

3. Replace your fuel filters

Generally, a main and secondary fuel filter can be found on most newer diesel engines. For optimum cleaning, they should both be replaced at the same time. 

4. Monitor your coolant

The coolant should be checked and flushed regularly because it can become more acidic over time. It can rot out other parts of your vehicle’s cooling system, such as the radiator, if left acidic. 

Myth 3: Diesel cars don’t perform well

Although it’s true that diesel engines are commonly used in trucks, diesel doesn’t necessarily correlate to performance. Interestingly, many diesel drivers claim that their vehicles outperform petrol-powered vehicles. 

Myth 4: Diesel cars aren’t good for long trips

The origin of this myth could be attributed to the lack of diesel engines on the road compared to petrol engines. 

The Truth about Diesel Cars | Debunking Diesel Car Myths

The former, on the other hand, outperforms the latter in a number of situations. On long trips, a diesel engine could be a more fitting and effective choice, particularly if your journey includes high altitudes. 

Myth 5: Diesel is more expensive than petrol

Diesel prices vary depending on where you live. In Singapore, diesel is cheaper than petrol in terms of operating costs. But since diesel is cheaper than petrol, shouldn’t more people opt for diesel?

The Truth about Diesel Cars | Debunking Diesel Car Myths

Here’s the catch: diesel cars have higher road tax. But how much is road tax for diesel cars in Singapore? 

The Special Road Tax Formula calculates road tax for a diesel car based on its emissions standards. The tax is set at 40 cents per cubic centimetre for diesel vehicles that meet the Euro 5 requirement or higher. 

This translates to a S$1,284 annual road tax on a Euro 5, 1600cc diesel passenger vehicle. In comparison, a petrol-powered vehicle would only pay about S$744 in annual road tax. Quite a hefty sum, right? 

When it comes to diesel, there’s more to it than meets the eye. As Singapore aims to have every vehicle on its roads run on cleaner energy and encourage the switch to options like electric vehicles, diesel engines might become a thing of the past.

The Truth about Diesel Cars | Debunking Diesel Car Myths

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