Diesel sales peaked in 1994 at 22.6% of the total market, but as the economy has recovered, diesel's share of sales has slumped to 16.8% in the first six months of this year. Glass's chief car editor Alan Cole is predicting that fuel prices will push pass £3.50 a gallon by the year 2000. He said: 'The diesel engine's renowned economy will come into its own in keeping down escalating fuel costs. With fleet and business users accounting for around 57% of all new car registrations, even a slight swing in favour of diesel cars from this sector would have a marked effect on the recovery of market share.'
But CAP chief economist Mark Cowling said: 'We have seen the diesel market plateau and it will now bubble along at around this level. We are more likely to see people downsizing their vehicles in response to rising fuel prices than switching back to diesel.'