While buying a car, one of the key decisions one have to make is to decide between a petrol and diesel vehicle. while there is no simple answer for this debate, the following points can help you reach a decision:-

Should I buy a Diesel or Petrol Car – Factors

  1. Price Difference between Petrol and Diesel Cars

    The diesel model of any car is always more expensive than the similarly spaced petrol model. For cars which cost less than INR 10 lakhs, the showroom price between diesel and petrol variants differs from INR 1 to INR 1.5 lakhs. The difference in the on-road price of petrol and diesel car variants will be even more. This cost difference also causes by the high cost of registration for the diesel car in comparison with the petrol car.

  2. Average or Mileage (Determine Daily/Monthly running)

    A basic thumb rule while choosing between a petrol model or a diesel is you buy a diesel only when your average monthly running is on the higher side. The mileage of diesel engine is more than that of a Petrol engine. A diesel engine does not need a spark plug and thus has higher compression. This makes the diesel engine utilise more fuel as compared to a petrol engine. The better mileage of a diesel engine makes it easy to cover the extra cost of the car paid initially, but with increasing cost of cars, the time required to recover this cost has increased.

  3. Cost of Fuel as per your City of Residence

    At present, per liter cost of diesel is about INR 12 less than that of petrol. After Indian government decision in respect of price of diesel and petrol in May, 2017 the price is decide on daily basis directly effected by international crude market price. But, the difference between the price of both is not a lot high, near about 12-13 Indian rupees.

  4. Smooth Drive

    Diesel engines are more powerful than petrol engines. They also have a higher torque and hence they give a smoother drive. On the other hand, the harshness, noise, and vibrations in diesel driven cars are way higher than that of a petrol-driven car.

  5. Maintenance or Service Charges

    In general, servicing costs and costs of spare parts are higher for diesel cars than petrol ones. Right from the cost of oil replacement to the battery and clutch plate, etc. all cost more in the case of diesel cars. Also, the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) levels of petrol cars are lower than that of diesel cars. However, since diesel engines do not make use of spark plugs that cost can be eliminated. But they do get turbochargers which will push up maintenance costs. However, the life of a petrol engine is more than a diesel engine and petrol driven vehicles are also easier on the environment.

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Should I buy a Diesel or Petrol Car – Case Study

Let us say you have decided to buy the top of the line Maruti Suzuki Swift. Now you have to choose between the petrol ZXi or the Diesel ZDi.

  Maruti Swift ZXi (Petrol) Maruti Swift ZDi (Diesel)
On-Road Price (New Delhi) Rs. 7,16,873 Rs. 8,37,631
Fuel Efficiency (Claimed) 20.4 kmpl 25.2 kmpl
Avg Monthly Running 1,000 km 1,000 km
Fuel Consumed (monthly) 1,000/20.4 = 49 litres 1,000/25.2 = 39.7 litres
Fuel Price Rs 65.53 per litre Rs 54.99 per litre
Fuel Cost (monthly) 49*65.53 = Rs. 3210.97 39.7*54.99 = Rs. 2183.10
  • So, money saved using the diesel model =  1,028 for one month.
  • Over a period of one year, this would translate into a saving of  12,336. Now the price difference between the two models is Rs. 1,20,758. So, in order to recover the extra money spent on purchasing the diesel model, l it would take you
    Rs. 1,20,758/Rs. 12,336 = 9.8 yearsor roughly 9 years and 9 months!
  • This is before you factor in the interest rates due to EMIs which would push up the number of years even more. If suppose you want to recover the extra cost of buying a diesel in about 5 years then you would have to drive more than 2,000 km each month!
  • Similarly, if you opt for a Honda City diesel then it would take you around 10 years to recover the premium paid for it over the petrol model at an average monthly running of 1,000 km/month.
  • In the case of the Maruti Ciaz, the difference in ex-showroom price of the petrol and diesel variants is around 20,000 in Delhi. So, buying diesel makes more sense.

Read Also: Best Mileage Diesel Cars in India

Should I buy a Diesel or Petrol Car – Conclusion

Buy a diesel model if

  • Monthly running is around 1,500-2,000 km or 50-70 km a day.
  • The price difference between the petrol and diesel models is around INR 50-60,000.
  • You are looking to operate your vehicle as a taxi.
  • You will be keeping the car for at least 8-10 years.

Buy a petrol model if

  • Monthly running is less than 1,500 km or 50 km a day.
  • The price difference is around INR 1 lakh.
  • You live in a small city where distances aren’t great.

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