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Diesel vs Petrol - Which fuel option?

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Should I buy a diesel or petrol car?

Once we decide to buy a car, buying a diesel or petrol car is one big dilemma.  A lot of factors need to be taken into account before deciding on which one y should opt for.

 Diesel car

 Pros

  1. Cheaper fuel price.
  2. More fuel efficient than the equivalent petrol model. Diesels are almost 30% more fuel efficient. 3. Higher torque.

Cons

  1. Higher initial investment.
  2. Less reliable compared to a petrol engine.
  3. Heavier engine parts.
  4. Higher maintenance cost.
  5. Loud compared to a petrol engine.

 Petrol Car

Pros

  1. Silent compared to a diesel engine.
  2. More reliable.
  3. Lighter engine
  4. Cheaper to maintain.
  5. Less initial cost compared to diesel.
  6. More environment-friendly than diesel.
  7. Better reliability.
  8. High revving, fun to drive.

Cons

  1. Petrol is the costlier fuel.
  2. Lighter engine.
  3. Less mileage than diesel.
  4. Less torque.

Diesel engine technology has improved leaps and bounds in the last decade, with many diesel engines outperforming the petrol counterparts in performance, retaining the upper hand on fuel efficiency. The reliability of diesel engines has also improved considerably. The major factors to be considered are.

  1. The Higher cost of diesel car compared to a petrol car.
  2. Higher fuel cost on a petrol car compared to a diesel car.

 Basically, how fast you can recover the additional investment you make on a diesel is what you should consider before making the decision. The cost of interest you pay for the additional cost of buying a diesel also need to be considered.

Let us consider the case of Hyundai i20 diesel and petrol, both Asta options.

Scenario 1: Average running of 1000 Kms/ Month

HYUNDAI Elite i20 Asta 1.2 Petrol 1.4 Diesel
On-Road Price ( Mumbai) 828000 979000
Average Monthly Running 1000
Mileage ( Kmpl) 16 20
Fuel Consumed ( Liters) 62.5 50
Fuel Cost ( Rs/ Liter) 68.25 53.09
Fuel Cost ( Rs/ Month) 4265.625 2654.5
Fuel cost saving using diesel car/ Month ( Rs/month) 1611
Number of years to recover higher intital cost of diesel car 7 years, 9 months, 3 weeks

Scenario 2: Average running of 2000 Kms/ Month

HYUNDAI Elite i20 Asta 1.2 Petrol 1.4 Diesel
On-Road Price ( Mumbai) 828000 979000
Average Monthly Running 2000
Mileage ( Kmpl) 16 20
Fuel Consumed ( Liters) 125 100
Fuel Cost ( Rs/ Liter) 68.25 53.09
Fuel Cost ( Rs/ Month) 8531.25 5309
Fuel cost saving using diesel car/ Month ( Rs/month) 3222
Number of years to recover higher intital cost of diesel car 3 years, 10 months, 3 weeks

It can be seen from the analysis it takes almost 8 years to recover the difference amount you pay for the diesel car when average running is 1000 Kms/ month. But from the second scenario, we see that recovery is done in 3 years and 10 months when monthly running is 2000 Kilometers. We have not taken into consideration interest amount on the differential amount; this will further increase the recovery time. 

Twist: We observe people who have diesel cars, tend to use the car more extensively than people who have petrol cars. They tend to use cars over trains or other public transport considering the cheaper price of diesel.

Decision time

  • Buy a diesel car only if you have 1800-2000 Kilometers running per month.
  • If you want to enroll the car as a taxi or for commercial use.
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