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Diesel takes lowest ever share of sales in the online used car market

Car buyers are continuing to turn their backs on diesel in favour of hybrid and electric vehicles, according to a new analysis of online used car sales.

In the latest figures from specialist online car supermarket, diesel took its lowest ever share of sales in August, at just 30 percent.

While petrol continues to dominate the fuel type choices of BuyaCar customers, the biggest growth in market share came from hybrid and battery electric cars in the total sales figures for August.

Compared with August 2020, hybrid sales grew by 68 percent and electric vehicles by 47 percent.

However, even as interest in diesel cars wanes, a significant number of drivers are still being won over by the running cost benefits of diesel over time.

This means that more people buy a diesel on than originally intended to – despite diesels costing typically more, on average, than a petrol car.

It is among older cars that diesel maintains its strongest market share, but even here the reduction is stark over the past 12 months.

In August 2020 diesel took up to 48 percent of all sales among cars aged four to six years old. But for cars between one and three years old the figure ranged between 25 percent and 28 percent.

In contrast, August this year saw diesel fall as low as 16 percent of sales for three-year-old cars while only among five- and six-year-old cars did diesel account for more than 40 percent of sales.

“One of the surprises in our figures is that more people end up buying a diesel than initially planned to,” said Christofer Lloyd, editor of

“For example, in August the proportion of searches for a diesel car was just under 22 percent and yet diesels formed 30 percent of our sales.

“What is particularly interesting about this is that where consumers are able to make purchase decisions in their own time, outside of any kind of high pressure dealer sales environment, they often decide that diesel is still the best option for them.

“Of course, they are right to be open minded. Despite the publicity around the eventual phasing out of new diesel cars, modern diesels do offer impressive fuel economy, meaning they can substantially cut high-mileage drivers’ fuel bills.

“So it’s no surprise that many drivers are won over by diesels when they do their research, even in cases where their initial intention was to look for a different fuel type.”