Most of those diesels listed above came with a 2 litre 4 cylinder engine, anr less than 100 horse power. Tax for the year is around £200 (it is zero on my current ride!). 4 of them were estates and 4 were hatchbacks, so though not as versatile load carriers as pick ups, they had the choice of 5-7 occupants, or perhaps a sofa, bed, wardrobe or selection of kids gokarts and electric jeeps!
They would give be over 50mpg, the equivalent petrol versions 30 mpg for the same type of routes.
Petrol is slightly cheaper, but only by about 5%, and road tax the same.
My first diesel car was forced upon me - when i replaced it with the same model, but the 2 litre diesel replaced by a 1.6 petrol, i watched my fuel bill double!
I sold it immediately and have owned only diesels since, that was 2003.
When i see all the hard work, mods and hypermiling techniques people are using to get a 30mpg petrol car up to 40 mpg, i always think how much more benefit there would be if the starting car was already a 50 mpg diesel!
I am starting to understand the anti diesel sentiment in the US, luckily in the UK diesels are excellent, and high demand will continue innovation from manufacturers.
I believe the future is with full electric and my favorite, plug in hybrids. The range on plug in hybrids is going up every year, there cost to run is very cheap, and they have a small gas engine for long trips or when you can't charge them. Supposedly about 1/4 the cost of a gas engine to drive around.
BTW I believe diesels are very inefficient when cold, but take very little fuel at idle when fully warmed up, they may not do so well on mpg when constantly started and stopped as a hybrid.
I agree plug in is the way forward, but doubt they ll be truly affordable and practical for a long while yet. I had one diesel citroen that was stopped and started 50 times a night driving urban pizza delivery and still giving me 55 mpg at the pumps!
Plug ins are only popular in certain regions, urban areas where people can charge them, or people who travel alot on motorways where they can stop at service stations to charge them. If you live rural, like alot of Britains do, then you can't even make it to your nearest charge point. They make sense in London, they can save up to £3000 that's $4500 a year in congestion charge, a daily payment you need to make just to enter London city centre. I do still believe though that induction/wireless charging will make plug ins more appealing in the next few years.
Hybrids are OK as a concept, but I find having an extra motor, batteries and all the hardware that comes with it, a bit counterproductive. That's why I'm interested in the compressed air hybrids coming soon. One gas engine, two fuel tanks, one carries petrol, the other carries compressed air, filled by the momentum of the car when coasting and braking. Air is free and unlimited and is emission free, this concept excites me!