Petrol VS Diesel – Should I Buy A Diesel Or Petrol Car

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One of the biggest dilemmas faced by a car buyer today is deciding between buying a petrol car or a diesel. Deciding which car to buy is difficult enough and on top of that you have to figure out which of the two fuel options; petrol or diesel will suit your need the best. There are so many factors to take into account and that can make things very complicated. Diesel is cheap and economical, but the diesel version of a car is significantly more expensive than the petrol. And then there is also the average monthly running that you need to take into account and to top it all off there is the ever changing price gap between the two fuel options. we have compiled a list of simple factors you need to consider in order to help you choose better between a diesel or a petrol. And since we know how much you hate math we have done some calculations to help you decide the more economical purchase. Read on for the definite answer to ” Should I Buy A Diesel Or Petrol Car ” –

Suzuki-Swift_2011_800x600_wallpaper_20

1. Price difference between petrol and diesel models

The diesel model of any car is always more expensive than the similarly specced petrol model. For cars under INR 10 lakhs the price difference could range from a lakh to a lakh and a half. For instance, the difference between a Swift ZXi (petrol) and Swift ZDi (diesel) is INR 1.04 lakhs and if you consider on-road price then this difference goes up to INR 1.28 lakhs. Similarly, for the Honda City VX(O) petrol and diesel version is INR 1.64 lakhs (on-road).

2. Determine average 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. 1,200-1,500 km a month would be considered good enough to warrant the purchase of a diesel model. Determining average running is a not that hard. In most cases a major chunk of it would be due to the daily office runs. The there are other trips, weekend outings, etc. A lot depends on the city you reside in too. Average monthly running in bigger cities like Mumbai and Delhi would be much higher owing to greater distances.

3. Fuel cost as per your city of residence

One of the biggest driving factors behind opting for a diesel model is the per litre price difference between the two fuel types. However, ever since the deregularisation of diesel prices by the  Government this gap has come down from Rs. 21/litre in 2013 to around Rs. 12.43/ litre currently. This indicated buying a petrol car might be a more feasible option.

 4. Other Factors

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 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.

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)  INR 6,83,507 INR 8,12,089
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 INR 60.48 per litre INR 46.55 per litre
Fuel Cost (monthly) 49*60.48 = INR 2,963.52 39.7*46.55 = INR 1,848
  • So, money saved using the diesel model = INR 1,115 for one month.
  • Over a period of one year this would translate into a saving of INR 13,386. Now the price difference between the two models is INR 1,28,582. So, in order to recover the extra money spent on purchasing the diesel model it would take you
    INR 1,28,582/INR 13,386 = 9.60 years or roughly 9 years and 7 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 around 2,000 km each month!
  • Similarly, if you opt for a Honda City diesel then it would take you around 9 years to recover the premium paid for it over the petrol model at an average monthly running of 1,000 km/month.
Swift petrol vvt-engine
Petrol Engine
Swift diesel ddis-engine
Diesel Engine

 

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.

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.

Hope we helped answer the “Should I Buy a diesel or a petrol car?” question. Stay tuned to Car Blog India for more such stories.

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107 COMMENTS

  1. Buying Diesel makes sence if you consider the Resale say after 3 or 4 years. There are more demand for Diesel vehicles there.

  2. Very nice article.
    Rohit when you talk about resale value you also need to consider when are you selling off that vehicle. With the abundance of new launches and variant upgrades I am not in agreement with the fact on high return on resale value of a diesel model. Moreover as mentioned in the article if we are going for a diesel model we also need to pay more interest on the car loan we have opted.

  3. You did not consider resale value of a diesel car. The additional money spent upfront is recovered at the time of resale.
    Do your math on real world mileage figures and monthly running.
    These calculations are pro petrol. I am not saying they should be pro diesel, but they should be unbiased.

  4. True, we did not consider higher resale value, but look at it this way-

    Generally, you don’t recover the entire premium you paid over the petrol variant when buying. Secondly, it is not like the additional money you paid you earned you an interest or something. So the higher resale is highly beneficial. Plus, resale is subject to vary from model to model. Hence, resale clause wasn’t included.

  5. Lalit,

    Considering real world mileage for the Maruti Suzuki Swift which is
    14.8 kmpl for the petrol version and 17 kmpl for the diesel;

    Monthly fuel cost for the Petrol comes to around INR 4,000
    For the diesel it is around INR 2,776.5
    The difference is INR 1,223.53 which over a period of 12 months would become INR 14,682

    This means in order to recover the extra INR 1,28,582 spent on the diesel it would take you around 8.75 years or 8 years 9 months.

    We’d still advice you to not go for a diesel vehicle your average monthly running is more than 1,500 km.

  6. Guys,

    Apart from the little difference of petrol & Diesel cars i would also like to suggest on noise, vibration and harshness. Few passionates, personally me dont enjoy noicy cars. I head from few ppl that the current generation diesel cars are not noicy compared to the cars which manufactured 10 yes back. But i still see noice in even a luxury cars like Audi / BMW.

  7. i personnaly dont like to ride noisy car, for smooth riding we should go for petrol version if distance travelled is less than 1500 km.
    If we go for diesel ver than it will take approx 8 years to recover the additional amount of rs 1 lakh with roi of 12%.
    and resale value of both the versions is same than again loss of rs 1 lakh.
    I hope this information helps u to decide whether to go for petrol ver or diesel.

  8. Two factors are very important while deciding whether to purchase diesel or petrol modet one is monthly running and second is noise, vibrations and harshness.Nothing else is important. CVS

  9. Hi,

    Apart from the ROI (Return Of Investment), Maintenance and Smooth Drive, Diesel cars emission is high hence we can expect a lot of Ban policy from the government as well. 15years for Petrol Vehicle and 10 Years for Diesel vehicles. This is already being implemented in New-Delhi (Re-registration of old vehicles), we can expect the same from the other cities as well.

    Better to go for Petrol version..

    Thank you

  10. Nice article man!! This study really helps to make decision. One more factor which increases the running cost is insurance. For a high value car (diesel engine), you have to pay more insurance amount (around 1k more for 1 lac difference), which will ultimately increase the no. of years to recover the fuel costs.

  11. Thanks. ..I go for petrol car…I think in future I drive many car in long period like 10 year. …

  12. Thanks Dhruv for writing a very nice article. You’ve really helped me decide the choice of my purchase perfectly.

  13. All of your views study carefully . it is indicate that petrol version is better one. But all of you calculate only economically not think about our earth. friends diesel car more polluted vechile than petrol . save earth save ozone layer.

  14. PETROL CAR VS DIESEL CAR:-

    1)PETROL CAR OVER DIESEL CAR:-
    ** IF YOUR RUNNING IS LESS THAN OR EQUAL TO 30-40KMS A DAY)
    ** Give you a smooth drive, no noise (i cant hear my cars sound when i drive(a petrol grand i10)) MORE POWER(depends on car by car for example swifts zxi is 87ps and zdi is 71ps)
    **Less maintanance, hassle free, spare parts cheap.
    ** Less POLLUTION (Lets care!)
    ** SAVES YOUR RS 1 LAC (atleast)
    IF YOUR MONTHLY KM’S ARE AROUND 1000 AND COST COMES TO RS2900/- PER MONTH & you drive it for 3 years (36000kms) then cost will come around 1lac and 10 thousands means you can use that 1 lac extra (atleast 1 lac) for your 3 years fuel cost! is’nt it amazing\
    ** insuarance cost lower as its cheap compared to diesel
    **delhi govt has announced 10 years for diesel while 15 years for the petrol cars
    ** a little less mileage from diesel engines (thanks to the new refined engined).
    **For personal and family use PETROL CARS are the ANSWER.

    2)DIESEL CARS OVER PETROL CARS:-
    **IF YOUR ENGINE RUNS 50KMS ATLEAST A DAY ON AVERAGE
    **Commercial USE (No petrol cars here. Thats what diesel engines are made for :D)
    Like if u wanna attach your vehicle to OLA, Or your taxi services etc (running is ATLEAST 50kms a day)
    **MORE MILEAGE ( 5KMPL MORE THAN ITS PETROL VARIANT)
    **IF you are residing in a city where every corner is too much far away.:D
    **a slightly more resale.
    **NOT MUCH
    THANKS FOR READING
    ASHISH GUPTA , 20, Jabalpur 🙂

  15. Petrol cars are always better provided that they give mileage of 16-19 Kmpl.

    If anyone is considering the resale value of Diesel car then think of this ,

    Petrol & Diesel car difference 1,00,000/- Rs normally with taxes this difference goes 1,25,000/- Rs for the same model

    Cost to recover diesel models extra premium paid is 7-7.5 years (considering monthly running of 1200-1700 km)

    Bank FD rate :- 7-9%

    some banks promises to double the investment in 96 months / 8 years

    means in 8 years 1.25 lacs will be 2.5 lacs

    so with petrol car after 8 years you might have already received resale difference even more than that (2.5 lacs)

    petrol is just like two wheeler no maintenance car …

    maintenance cost comparison year on year

    petrol :- 5500-7000
    Diesel :- 7000-10000

    petrol car for 8 year maintenance :- 84,000
    diesel car :- 1,20,000

    from above it also becomes clear petrol car are good from maintenance point of view also..

    now think wisely 2,50,000/- Rs 35,000 /- = 2,86,000/- Rs benefit

  16. dear sir,
    I have no daily use of car. once or twice in month only for about 100 kms. and i want to know that, if a diesel car stay without use for 25 days or a month, what will difficulties for drive it after a month.

  17. I was planning to buy a CIAZ SHVS (diesel variant). They call it the mild hybrid. It still runs on diesel engine though. I am confused about the taking of diesel engines by the policy makers say in the next 10 years. With ban on diesel cars above 2000 cc vehicles, I am assuming it sure is coming down to the sub 1500 cc vehicles as well. I would like to hear some professional and honest opinion on this matter.

    And does a torque difference of (130Nm and 200Nm) of 70 Nm makes a difference while driving in hilly regions with passenger and AC Load.

  18. since l have both diesel and petrol cars ,l feel the service and maintenance cost of diesel is very high as compared to petrol .l sincerely recommend petrol car if the monthly running is around 1200 kms .

  19. Hi, I have to purchase 6 seater so I need your suggestion regarding vehicle brand as well as varient? Vehicle monthly run is estimated around 1600 KM
    I am thinking about Ertiga ZXI but not able to finalise if some better option exists

  20. Very nice article. I have monthly runnig of about 2500 km. Still should I go for petrol version of new car or not? How maths work here. I mean to say a person having 2000 to 3000 km running per month can buy petrol car or not?

  21. Sir, this is a very nice article. You’ve really helped me decide the choice of my purchase perfectly. thank you.

  22. Thanks Dhruv for great article… This article cleared my doubts… Because recently I booked a petrol car and except its on road price difference compared to diesel car, I didn’t find much benefits.. But now I am happy that I chose right variant… Thanks for great case study and maths 🙂

  23. I have bought i20 elite petrol.Present time it is giving only 10 km/ltr avrg..but company says that after one year it will give 14-15 km/ltr avrg.Is it true or not.I am so confuse . My avg running is 1000km/month.

  24. Hi Sharad, After first service YES, your mileage should increase. Engines need time to settle. Thats one reason why you would service around 2500-3000 kms. It is good to have high fuel consumption for the long life of the engine. I usually also recommend to install CNG after first service, or use it least before first service if you have a pre-installed one.
    I also suggest driving on an eco mode yourself – Keep the RPM lowest possible on the highest possible gear without rattling the gearbox. Acceleration should be feather touch almost as if not pressed. Roll the car before speed breakers and before arriving at red light signals. You may get a highway mileage and at times even more than the company’s commitment. It also gives a comfortable ride and friendly to your car.

  25. I am planing to buy polo gt…..but I am confused either buy GT TSI or GT TDI…both have same price…..my monthly usage will be 1000 km…expecting valuble suggestions….

  26. Hi !

    What would you advise while opting a SUV for a person who’s average yearly running would be around 12 – 14 K KMS.

  27. I want to purchase Baleno…petrol or diesel m confused..my monthly driving km is 1000…and wat will be exact milage of petrol version…company says 21km/l in petrol…

  28. I want to purchase baleno…petrol or diesel m confused…my monthly driving is 1000km per month…company says petrol milage is 21. Pls tell wat will be the exact milage of petrol…version of baleno…

  29. Hello can you please suggest difference in resale between petrol and diesel car after 5 years? For example if I spend 1.25 lacs more currently what amount more I get when I resale the same? What is the difference in maintenance of diesel and petrol car? I have running of 2000+ km per month?

  30. Planning to buy elite i20.
    My running will be around 1200km per month on an average and difference between diesel and peteol variant is 130000.
    I am not sure about the mileage and its maintenance cost,so if any one has any idea pls reply asap.
    Thanks in advnce.

  31. my average running distance per month is 1500-1700 kms
    want to buy honda city
    which car should i buy petrol or diesel?
    hesitant regarding engine sound in diesel variant
    Any one can share experience

  32. Useful article ,that I have booked Tata Zest revotron petrol ……what’s the highest mileage claimed by any revotrons ???? any one…….

  33. Easily expect at least 15 kpl under normal driving conditions. Out on the highways, you can extract even more than 20 kpl. All this with a considerably light foot though.

  34. A Great Article Yatharth Sir,

    I planning to go for Ford Figo/Aspire, My avg monthly running would be 1200. However I d see difference in mileage in Petrol and Diesel. Can I please advise what mileage we can expect from Figo petrol in city/Highway. Also How Ford cars will be?

    Appreciate your response.

    …Mona

  35. Simple is like a diesel engine can never competate a petrol one …
    It never had that smoothness that pickup and ease of drive…anyone opting for any car drive both the models of that particular car whether drive normally or in downgear u answer will be automatically given..

  36. SIR
    SUPER SIR, THIS ARTICLE CLEAR ALL DOUBTS
    PETROL= RUNNING 1000KM PER MONTH, 1.25L KEPT IN YOUR CHILD NAME AS DEPOSIT, MAINTENANCE COST LESS THAN 5-10K LOW NOSILY ENGINE, LOW WEAR AND TEAR IN TYRE, BATTERY, CAR BODY Drivers HEAT(DIESEL) AFTER 40DAYS PETROL EASY TO START IF YOU KEPT THE CAR MORE THAN 5 YEAR BEST PETROL

  37. sir I bought tata zest yesterday but it is showing 8kmpl as instant fuel consumption.but showroom guy said it will increase after 2000 km or 1to 2 month ,I worried pls anybody suggestion is it true ………….

  38. Hi,

    I am planning to buy i20 elite but m confused about petrol and diesel version My monthly running is less than 1500 so please suggest me which car I perfect for me.?

  39. hi i am planning to buy a tata tiago petrol version,, bt i am bit confused about the varients,, please suggest me weather i will go for top model or second top,,

  40. Tat Tiago XT on road is 4.60 lacs and XZ on road is 5.2 Lacs. The 60K difference in top model worth for features like 8 Speaker, Alloy Wheet, ABC, EBD & CSC, Defogger and rear wiper and some small additional. I prefer top model.

  41. Good article …
    you really changed my decision to buy a diesel car 🙂 . My average monthly run is below 1000 kms, hence I should go for Petrol one …

  42. Hi,

    Above Milan has given good explanation. Over to that i would like to add the benefit for the insurance for every year. Save one lakh Rs , now if the cost of car is low insurance amount is also low , Approx current insurance rate per lakh 3000 rs insurance cost. with reducing of 10 % depreciation cost you can save the approx 23000 inr.

    no years saved amount per car Amount
    1 100000 3500
    2 90000 3150
    3 81000 2835
    4 72900 2551.5
    5 65610 2296.35
    6 59049 2066.715
    7 53144.1 1860.0435
    8 47829.69 1674.03915
    9 43046.721 1506.635235
    10 38742.0489 1355.971712
    additional saving over 10 years 22796.22 inr

    Avinash

  43. Mileage, Fuel Cost is not everything. Also consider environment and use cleaner fuel, even if we need to spend little extra.

  44. very few people have any knowledge about diesel or petrol engines. diesel engines has surpassed the petrol technology in every way its more economical, fuel efficient, runs smoother if you maintain the engine properly, the torque figures are immense. yes its a bit expensive but what you pay is what you get back. In the long run diesel outruns petrol engine by a mile. go for a diesel car over a petrol anyday. put in that little extra money and you will never regret it. anyone who likes to argue that petrol is still superior i think you need to get your facts right. we live in the 21st century 2016 and not in the 1990’s. please catch up.

  45. Very use full information . Is Baleno petrol is good to go ? i came to know it’s spare parts are expensive ?

  46. If any one is travelling less than 50km per day. them better go for electric vehicles. It will save our foreign investment and our environment also.

  47. Thanks for such lovely and simple clear comparison which can be easily understood.
    Great article.
    Cleared my confusion.

  48. here people are more talking about economics… BUT nobody talked about drive-ability and fun of driving. Nowadays if you see the same models with petrol and diesel engine cars, you can notice that the petrol engines are inferior that diesel engines… (ex: ford figo, hyundai i20, VW polo etc). most of the vehicles diesel engines are far superior than petrol models in terms of power, torque and engine capacity. These are comes into picture if you are a car enthusiast, you will enjoy the pleasure of driving when you go for a long trips with diesel cars, you can’t expect this from a petrol car.

    People always talks about driving petrol car is smoother than diesel cars… but this is not the case of modern turbo diesel engines. that statement was true almost 10 years back!

  49. You have not considered that Diesel vehicles of the same model are heavier than their counterparts petrol, which leads to more tyre wear .

  50. Great suggestions.. thank you sir/ madam for sharing your ideas. It made really easy for the confused like me..

  51. Dear sir, i m plaining to buy a hyundai creta in petrol but i m confused in petrol and diesel ? (My monthly running is 600-700 once in a week ) so which is a better for me diesel or petrol

  52. I’m planning for buy a car, my maximum usage in a month will be less than 1000, which one to buy petrol or diesel.

  53. Sir whether dezire petrol is giving average of 15 kmp though co. Claimed 20 km, and whether average increases after first service and second…..what would I opt for desire pet or dsl my usage is 1000 km per month

  54. Claimed figures are under ‘test’ conditions and fuel consumption may vary as per usage. Given a monthly running of 1000 kms, a Petrol model makes more sense. Yes, fuel efficiency increases after first and second service.

    Regards

  55. I am more confused now after reading all the comments…please suggest which car I should opt for If i want to attach my car with uber…Petrol or Diesel..i am also confused between Amaze, Dezire, Indigo, Aspire…please give your kind suggestions

  56. I am more confused now after reading all the comments…please suggest which car I should opt for If i want to attach my car with uber…Petrol or Diesel..i am also confused between Amaze, Dezire, Indigo, Aspire…please give your kind suggestions

  57. very good article, its helps a lot to a new buyer who is in dilemma whether to go for petrol or diesel..

  58. Good one ..Very nicely explained ..

    With current price hike its time to re visit the calculation in this article .

    Difference between diesel and petrol price is narrowed . Petrol is higher only by 6.20.

    One more point to note here … petrol is maintenance free vehicle when compared to diesel . In diesel car wear and tear is higher. Spare parts were 20 to 30 % higher .

    Take a fare decision basis your need .

    My suggestion would be petrol if your drive is less than 1500 km in a month .

  59. These are not the only considerations. Look at the power, for instance take AMEO and ASPIRE. The former has a BHP of 73 for petrol and projected BHP of 108 for the diesel( did not come in the market yet) and the latter gives figures of 87 BHP and 100 BHP for for the petrol and diesel respectively. With such low BHP of < 90 it is inconvenient to drive in city traffic with AC on. While I always preferred petrol cars for their smoothness and better pick up the powers of petrol engines which have been designed for better mileage are killing. The manufacturers know better about their economics and i may be in extreme minority asking for a more powerful petrol engine even if it means lower mileage

  60. Dear Sir,

    I would like to attach car in OLA (Taxi Services ) ….Should I buy a Petrol or a Diesel Car?

    Awaiting for your reply

  61. My daily commuting is only 30kms to nd fro to office nd back home,so multiplying my daily drive for a month is merely 660kms in a month (22 working days) so what do I do weekends? Adding 350 kms in a weekend .that multiplied (350avg*4=1400kms)(I.e)my daily drive for a month+weekend fun drive=1400+660=2060kms.So this was enough for me to prefer diesel swift zdi over swift zxi for their power nd turbo.5people with boot fulll luggage nd full blast ac on…no problem…it will easily outrun petrol car.addicting turbowe live only once.

  62. I believe the performance is somewhere getting lost in the economics ! Even if you run lesser than 1000 kms, you must choose a Diesel variant if you like to

    1.Enjoy Peppier Drive: Practical power delivery is lot better in a diesel variant than a Petrol variant, you will enjoy driving the vehicle much more than a Petrol one.

    2. Experience Performance on full Load: Diesel vehicles perform much better under full load. So if more than 50% of your usage is travel with full 5 passengers, then look at diesel variant

    3. Retain the vehicle for a longer period: Diesel engines age slower than their petrol siblings.Diesel engines can run atleast 25k to 30k more than their petrol siblings under similar conditions before one sees a downward shift in performance

    Finally coming to the economics, you actually are saving too by choosing a diesel variant as otherwise you might have to go for a larger petrol variant to match the performance. Eg to get the performance of 1250 cc Diesel variant you have to choose a 1500 cc petrol variant!.

  63. Hi guys

    I read all the valueable suggestions but still confused as I have to drive around 120 km Per day from my home , which car I have to buy between petrol or diesel.
    I want to buy maruti suzuki balano , is this rght choice. Guide me pls.
    Thanks in advace

  64. Hi guys
    This blog was very informative and I am planning to buy Elite i20 sportz, and my average usage will be around 1000 km per month i am confused about whether to choose petrol r Diesel? my usage will be mostly in highways. What is the average mileage of petrol and diesel i20. Any Elite i20 users please suggest

  65. Going by your running, a Petrol model makes more sense economically. However, the Diesel has a slightly better performance on the Highway. Hence, choose as per your priority. The Petrol model can return up to 18 KMPL on the highway, while the Diesel could offer up to 21 KMPL.

    Regards

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