Opinion – Should I Buy a Petrol or a Diesel Car?

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An employee stands next to a fuel pump at a fuel station in New Delhi, India, March 7, 2016. (Photo: Reuters)

Being from the auto industry and working in the journalism field, we are often called ‘Auto Experts’ and people tend to ask our opinion on anything and everything related to automobiles. The majority of queries relates to the new car buying decision and one question pops up quite regularly – ‘Should I buy a Petrol Car or a Diesel Car?’

Let me break the news to you – we ‘Auto Experts’ just do simple mathematics and tell you our opinion, a set of calculations, I will jot down here, so that the next time somebody ask you which car to buy, you can become an ‘Expert’ too!

The debate on Petrol vs Diesel car is an age old issue now and the majority of factors contributing to the analysis have somewhat taken a backseat. Simply put, here are the factors one used to consider while choosing between a diesel and a petrol car–

1. High-maintenance of diesel cars

2. High efficiency of diesel cars

3. Low cost of diesel fuel

4. High cost of diesel cars

All-you need to know about the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire!

Out of the mentioned four points, the high-maintenance cost of diesel-fuel cars is no more true. Just so you know, the quality of diesel fuel in India has been sub-standard when compared to petrol. This led to clogging of diesel filter quite often, leading to higher cost of maintenance of diesel cars. This is no more the case as the diesel fuel has been refined exponentially to match international standards, eliminating the quality factor.

Next up is the efficiency of the diesel run cars, which is definitely the truth. Take any diesel car and compare it with its petrol alternative and you will find a difference of at least 4-7 kmpl. For our analysis purpose, we will consider the new Maruti Suzuki Dzire as the base car. Here’s a look at the mileage of Dzire petrol and diesel-

2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire Petrol Mileage – 22.0 kmpl (MT & AGS)

2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire Diesel Mileage – 28.4 kmpl (MT & AGS)

That’s a whopping 6.4 km difference per litre of fuel burned.

Talking about the difference in the pricing of fuel itself, diesel in India is priced relatively less than petrol. The difference between the prices of the diesel and petrol is close to Rs 10, with the former being the cheaper of the two. The price of fuel alone tempts buyers to go for a diesel car. Here’s the current fuel prices and we will take prices of New Delhi for reference-

Petrol price in New Delhi – Rs 65.53/ litre (as of 16th May, 2017)

Diesel price in New Delhi – Rs 54.99/ litre (as of 16th May, 2017)

Last is the difference between the ex-showroom prices of the petrol and diesel car, which is roughly a lakh rupees before taxes in most of the cases. For our study purpose, we have considered the 2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire prices-

2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire ZXI – Rs 7.07 Lakh (Ex-Showroom Price, New Delhi)

2017 Maruti Suzuki Dzire ZDI – Rs 8.07 Lakh (Ex-Showroom Price, New Delhi)


Most of the people use their cars for home-office-home commuting. If you live in Delhi-NCR, your daily average run would be around 50 km for a 20 working day month-

50*20*12 = 12000 km annually.

Add to it 3000 km for weekend run, your annual running would come out to be 15000 km.

Let’s calculate the running cost now-

Formula = Annual Running/ Average * Fuel Cost

Diesel Car-

15000/ 28.4 * 54.99 = Rs 29044

Petrol Car-

15000/ 22.0 * 65.53 = Rs 44680

Petrol – Diesel Difference = Rs 15636

Considering that you pay a lakh bucks extra for procuring diesel car, it would take you at least 6 years just to recover the basic ex-showroom price difference. And that too when we neglect the interest on the loan amount, if any.

Our suggestion, if you are planning to buy a car and have an annual running less than 15000 km, opt for a petrol variant. The extra lakh bucks you save can be used to buy a high-end safety equipment rich variant. Furthermore, invest the amount you saved in an RD or FD. The interest earned at the end of 5 year tenure will be a delightful one.

We wish you a Happy Buying!