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

Should I buy a Diesel or Petrol Car? This is one question that bugs many new car buyers across the country. Our detailed analysis here shows the pros and cons of the ownership. It also gives a final verdict on the petrol car vs diesel car comparison.

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 needs the best. There are so many factors to take into account and that can make things very complicated. 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 ” –

Should I buy a Diesel or Petrol Car | Petrol Car vs Diesel Car Suzuki-Swift_2011_800x600_wallpaper_20

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Should I buy a Diesel or Petrol Car – Factors

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 Rs. 10 lakh, 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 Rs. 1.07 lakh and if you consider on-road price then this difference goes up to around Rs. 1.28 lakhs. Similarly, for the Honda City VX petrol and diesel version the difference in price around Rs 1.24 lakh (ex-showroom).

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. 1,500-1,700 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. 10.54/ litre as of May 16, 2017. This indicates 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 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. Also, petrol driven vehicles are easier on the environment.

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. 7,16,873Rs. 8,37,631
Fuel Efficiency (Claimed)20.4 kmpl25.2 kmpl
Avg Monthly Running1,000 km1,000 km
Fuel Consumed (monthly)1,000/20.4 = 49 litres1,000/25.2 = 39.7 litres
Fuel PriceRs 65.53 per litreRs 54.99 per litre
Fuel Cost (monthly)49*65.53 = Rs. 3210.9739.7*54.99 = Rs. 2183.10
  • So, money saved using the diesel model = Rs. 1,028 for one month.
  • Over a period of one year, this would translate into a saving of Rs. 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 years or 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.

Swift petrol vvt-engine
Petrol Engine

Swift diesel ddis-engine
Diesel Engine


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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Hope we helped answer the “Should I Buy a diesel or a petrol car?” question. Also, we hope that our report here gives a clear verdict on the petrol car vs diesel car comparison. Stay tuned to Car Blog India for more such stories.

Author- Dhruv Saxena.