Petrol Vs Diesel. The Battle Continues

Petrol spike saw dieselisation of Indian car market. However, every rupee increase in diesel prices will make car buyers move towards petrol cars. After all India has been a petrol driven market for far too long. 2013 could see the re-emergence of petrol cars. This move could also impact car manufacturers well set plan.


Petrol Or Diesel?? A question which is as difficult as; Does the life exists outside the planet earth? What was there before life came into existence?. Basis such questions we at www.ecardlr.com decided to present to you'll a mathematical answer to this question

At a simplistic level (back of the envelop calculation basis) the answer 10 out of 10 times would be diesel, after all petrol is dearer by almost Rs.22/litre vs Diesel and to top it, Diesel plants are less thirstier (gives higher mileage). Having said all this, we at ecardlr.com suggest a small pause. 

It’s time for a holistic view, beyond just mileage and per litre cost. A car in most cases is bought on finance – means one shells out extra EMI for buying a Diesel powered car thanks to its higher cost, which should get added to the financial calculations. Next in line is the service cost – which in case of a diesel car is more expensive than a petrol car, plus many other factors like depreciation cost, resale value etc.  

Let’s study this case with a live example; Indica Vista Petrol Aqua Vs Indica Vista Qudrajet Diesel Aqua - Same model, similar variant but different power plants.


The ex-showroom Delhi price of Indica Vista Aqua Petrol is Rs.4.14 Lakhs whereas Indica Vista Qudrajet Diesel Aqua costs Rs.5.06 Lakhs, resulting in a entry cost difference of Rs.92,000.

Assumption 1:

Daily Commute - 80 Km

Petrol Cost – Rs.63.70/Litre

Diesel Cost – Rs.41.29/Litre 

Indica Vista Aqua Petrol – 16.74 KMPL ARAI mileage

Petrol Consumed / Day = 4.79 Litres

Fuel Cost / Day = Rs.305

Indica Vista Aqua Qudrajet Diesel – 22.29 KMPL ARAI mileage

Petrol Consumed / Day = 3.59 Litres

Fuel Cost / Day = Rs.148 

Per day savings Rs.157 with a diesel car. The price difference of Rs.92000 (Diesel Vs Petrol) will be recovered in approx 18 months.

 Assumption 2:

Daily Commute - 30 Kms

Petrol Cost – Rs.63.70/Litre

Diesel Cost – Rs.41.29/Litre

Indica Vista Aqua Petrol – 16.74 KMPL ARAI mileage

Petrol Consumed / Day = 1.79 Litres

Fuel Cost / Day = Rs.114 

Indica Vista Aqua Qudrajet Diesel – 22.29 KMPL ARAI mileage

Petrol Consumed / Day = 1.35 Litres

Fuel Cost / Day = Rs.56 

Per day savings Rs.58 with a diesel car. The price difference of Rs.92000 (Diesel Vs Petrol) will be recovered in approx 52 months.


 For all financed cars the equation will change further, diesel power plant now not only has to recover the entry cost difference but also the difference in monthly EMI one has to pay for the additional entry cost. 

At 14% per annum interest rate the additional EMI required to fund the higher entry cost for Diesel car works out to Rs.1817/month (assumptions being – 5 year tenure, loan amount 85% of ex-showroom).


Service costs are normally higher for a diesel power plant. For example in case of Maruti Swift – the cost of some of the frequently consumed parts like; Air, Oil and Fuel Filter is approximately Rs.200-500 more costly for a Maruti Swift Diesel vs Maruti Swift Petrol Version. Radiator alone for Maruti Swift Diesel Version is Rs.3000 more expensive than Maruti Swift Petrol Version. Add to this the higher frequency of Regular Maintenance Schedule for Maruti Swift Diesel vs Maruti Swift Petrol. 


It’s subjective and  to say the least and a conclusive decision therefore is difficult to arrive. All we can suggest are few indicative approaches before one decides on the power plant version for him/herself 

1)      If your daily commute is anywhere upwards of 60 kms and you plan to change it under 3 years then Diesel should be your preferred mode of Power plant

2)      For those planning to retain the car for a longer period and drive infrequently for them petrol head is the way to go forward

3)      For the enthusiast who love flooring the gas pedal – its obviously the petrol head

4)      For heavy commuting cash buyers diesels make eminent sense 

Some other qualitative factors that can influence the Petrol Vs Diesel Debate

Petrol power plant for those seeking - Power, Refinement, Outright performance or Driving fun

Diesel Head for those seekinh - Economical Drive, Higher Daily Commute, Greater Fuel Efficiency Or Higher Torque.

As always it’s a battle similar to ‘who came first chicken or the egg’ and the answer till date has been eluding one and all. The story is no different in case of the Petrol Vs Diesel battle.

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