Interest in diesel declining, but still leading EVs and LPG

Diesel popularity is falling amid a storm of negative publicity, but there are still more than 2.2 million diesel passenger cars on Australian roads.

According to data firm Roy Morgan, 45 per cent of Australians would still seriously consider buying a diesel – down from 50 per cent in 2016, but comfortably more than those considering an electric car (37 per cent) or an LPG vehicle (21 per cent).

Of the 2.23 million people driving diesels, 1.13 million live in capital cities, with the remaining 1.1 million located in regional areas. Accounting for population, that makes country buyers 36 per cent more likely to drive a diesel than city slickers.

New South Wales is the largest market for diesels (26.3 per cent of sales), while Queensland accounts for a whopping 24.9 per cent of all diesels, followed closely by Victoria (23.1 per cent). With 14.6 per cent of diesel vehicles, Western Australia punches well above its weight as well.

Interestingly, men account for 66.7 per cent of diesel drivers, with a (very slim) majority (31.5 per cent) aged between 35 and 49. Perhaps unsurprisingly, city dwellers are likely to favour SUVs, while those living in the country favour dual-cab utes.

Don't expect the stats to remain the way they are for long, though.

"With the speed of change taking place in this industry currently, particularly in areas such as electric cars, it is important to track consumers’ likely interest in these potential fuel changes," said Norman Morris, industry communications director for Roy Morgan.

"Currently, 37% of the population say that they would seriously consider purchasing an electric vehicle, up from 29% just one year ago. This is now not far below the level of interest in diesel with 45% and well ahead of LPG on 21%, both of which are showing downward trends.

"The changes in technology such as driverless cars and fuel preferences have the potential to impact rapidly on vehicle purchasing intentions as they can be regarded as major disruptors.”