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Press Release: Diesel Bounces Back in 2018 – Prices of Used Diesel Cars Jump 2.4%

  • Alex Buttle
  • 17th May 2018
  • Prices for used diesel cars are up £322 (+2.4%) on average since start of 2018.
  • This comes after diesel prices dropped 5% through 2017
  • Equivalent petrol car prices fell 0.7% since the beginning of the year as the market re-balances
  • Nine out of ten major car brands saw diesel prices drop between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018, compared to half of petrol variants

The average price of a used diesel car has increased by 2.4% since the start of 2018. This puts an end to the downward spiral on diesel prices throughout 2017 when values tumbled on the back of constant negative news. The analysis from car buying comparison website also shows equivalent used petrol cars have fallen 0.7% since the start of this year. analysed valuations for more than 60,000 used diesel and petrol cars aged five years old or less, valued on its website between January 2017 and April 2018.

Monthly figures reveal the average price of a used diesel during April 2018 was £13,637, compared to £13,315 in December 2017 – a rise of 2.4%. The average used petrol car price in April 2018 was £9,477, down 0.7% on the average price in December 2017 of £9,543.

However, after the aggressive price falls last year, average diesel prices are still substantially lower than the same time last year, dropping from £14,339 in Q1 2017 to £13,640 in Q1 2018 – a difference of almost £700 or -4.9%. This compares with the average price of a used petrol car, which has risen from £8,916 to £9,754 (7.8%) during the same period, as diesel fears switched buying habits towards petrol variants.

The following table shows average quarterly prices of used diesel and petrol cars (only vehicles less than five years old) across 2017 and 2018:

Prices of diesel cars bounce in 2018
Prices of diesel cars bounce in 2018


Car makes also analysed diesel and petrol valuation data for individual car makes. The research revealed significant differences in how used cars for different brands have fared over the past 12 months.

Looking at the top 10 most popular makes valued on during 2017 and 2018, nine out of 10 saw a drop in the value of diesel variants between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018, compared to just half of petrol variants.

The average price of a used Vauxhall diesel car slumped by 13.4% over the past year, falling more than £1,000 from £8,098 in Q1 2017 to £7,009 in Q1 2018. The average price of a Volkswagen, still fighting to restore its reputation after the 2015 emissions scandal, was down more than £1,500 from £12,473 to £10,886 over the same period.

The average price of a used Ford diesel fell by 4.1% between Q1 2017 and Q1 2018, compared to the average price of petrol variants which rose by 12.9% over the past 12 months.

The following table shows average used diesel and petrol car values for popular makes of car, comparing Q1 2017 and Q1 2018:

Diesel and petrol prices in 2018
Diesel and petrol prices in 2018

Alex Buttle, director of car buying comparison website comments:

“A 2.4% rise in average values isn’t quite diesel’s ‘phoenix from the flames’ moment, but it is a positive step after a year of significant price falls. Having been demonised by the Government and ripped apart by the press, it seems diesel’s price slump has now reached the bottom and valuations are finally showing signs of resilience.

“Values were never going to fall forever, and buyers are now finding some incredible used diesel car deals at very attractive prices. More diesel buyers are being lured back into the second-hand car market and this is stabilising pricing.

“That said, diesel will remain the pariah fuel type until more is done to educate the public about cleaner Euro-6 diesel engines found in recent diesel models. These cars release vastly less nitrogen oxides than older variants and are actually cleaner than many petrol engines on some CO2 measurements.

“The least the Government can do is to help motorists by vouching for modern diesel engines over older variants and make it clear that not every diesel car on the market is the same. Until then, confusion will reign and diesel prices may suffer the brunt of this befuddlement.”