Press release

Retail Price Index | February 2019

Petrol reaches record popularity on Auto Trader as diesel searches drop to all time low  

  • Petrol now accounts for half of all fuel type searches on Auto Trader whilst diesel accounts for 42%
  • As ULEZ approaches searches for diesels in London fall to just 26%
  • Average price of a used car in February was £12,885; a like-for-like increase of 2.7% YoY

The latest findings from Auto Trader revealed that petrol now accounts for half (50%) of all fuel related searches that take place on its marketplace, whilst diesel accounts for just 42%. It marks a precipitous decline for the much-maligned fuel type, which in February 2017 accounted for 64% of fuel related searches, whilst petrol just 33%.

In London, where the new Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) comes into effect on 8th April, the decline has been felt even more keenly, with searches for diesel falling 37% in two years; from 63% in February 2017, to just 26% last month.

In contrast, fuel related searches for petrol in the Capital have spiked from 32% to 61% during the same period. Low emission alternatively fuelled vehicles (AFVs), which will be completely exempt from the new ULEZ charges, have seen a growth in searches from 4% to 12%; significantly higher than the current total market (7%).

Diesels holding their value

Whist searches for diesels may be declining, used variants continue to hold their value. According to the Auto Trader Retail Price Index[1], which combines and analyses data from c. 500,000 trade used car listings every day, as well as additional dealer forecourt and website data, the average price of a second-hand diesel in the UK in February was £14,309; a 2.4% increase year-on-year (YoY).

It’s a solid performance but does represent a slower rate of growth for its petrol and low emission counterparts. The average price of a used petrol last month was £11,249, marking a 2.8% increase on February 2018. However, with an average sticker price of £21,809, AFVs recorded the strongest rate of price growth at 4.4%.  

In terms of the whole market, the average price of a used car in February was £12,885, which on a like-for-like basis equates to a 2.7% increase on the same period last year.

Commenting on the findings, Karolina Edwards-Smajda, Auto Trader’s Commercial Product Director, said: “The latest used market results along with our own price data highlights the stoicism of second-hand diesels. However, whilst fuel only represents one in five of the 55 searches that take place on our marketplace every second, the ongoing decline in diesel searches clearly highlights the impact a combination of sustained ‘demonisation’ and new legislation is having on consumer perception.

“Whilst the adoption of alternatively fuelled vehicles has been relatively slow, they are becoming more financially accessible and more technologically advanced with dramatically improved range capabilities. With our latest Market Report revealing that 71% of car buyers are now considering an electric vehicle as their next car, the trends we’re seeing today are only set to accelerate.”

[1] Data segmentation updated March 2019

Missed this week's webinar with special guest @vertumotors? Well fear not - the whole webinar is now available on demand at https://t.co/A8vB2i49FU https://t.co/fpMbEkaRgB
Driving long distances? Well the best car for the job is the @UKVolkswagen Golf which scooped the Best Car for Long Distances award at the Auto Trader New Car Awards 2020. Find out what owners said at https://t.co/TAtdeRojpZ https://t.co/4Sj9ANaFK6
For those looking for a 7 seater you can do no better than the @VolvoCarUK #XC90. That's according to the 181,000 car owners who voted it the best 7 seater in this year's Auto Trader New Car Awards! https://t.co/M7t1X3Ic9S https://t.co/csJOtcU63N
Exactly one week ago @MrRoryReid & @ErinBakerMotors announced the winners of the Auto Trader New Car Awards – revealing the best #newcars in the UK according to over 181,000 car owners! You can check out the #award winners at https://t.co/FMgf5HByCM #ThrowbackThursday https://t.co/CLdSORmOV0
Exactly one week ago when @MrRoryReid & @ErinBakerMotors announced the winners of the Auto Trader New Car Awards – revealing the best #newcars in the UK according to over 181,000 car owners! You can check out the #award winners at https://t.co/FMgf5HByCM #ThrowbackThursday https://t.co/SAFHIczDhl
#Dacia have done it once again! The @daciauk Duster once again won the Best Value New Car at the Auto Trader New Car Awards 2020 - an award they also took home in 2019! https://t.co/vf00Z0g60W https://t.co/rn5qZX59Gh
We've seen a record number of #newcar and van #leads with new car retailers enjoying a massive 91% monthly increase in leads! Discover the latest new car data and how to drive even more leads as we see demand continue to spike now > https://t.co/8l2Mkx0ldn
Big thanks to everyone who joined today's webinar and of course to our guest speaker @vertumotors!
Reminder that next week we'll be launching #ATHighlyRated! Retailers who met the criteria will be receiving a pack next week to promote their achievements to consumers. https://t.co/UJgS71ytoP
Over to @stuart_trader who reveals the result of our earlier poll - a majority discounting prices much less or maintaining pre-#covid19 approach https://t.co/t8PfkUzrtU

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