Car manufacturers have been focussing on petrol engines in recent times, especially turbocharged ones, and diesel powerplants have now taken the back seat
Is it really not worth buying a diesel car in the BS6 era? Well, with fuel prices aiming for the sky, we decided to do the math and see if buying a petrol vehicle is the better financial choice everyone says it is. For easier understanding, all figures used for our calculations have been rounded off to the nearest whole number, except the final running costs.
Let’s take into consideration midsize SUVs, which are extremely popular in the Indian market these days. A typical petrol-powered midsize SUV (with a turbo-petrol engine) squeezes out an average fuel economy of around 8 kmpl to 12 kmpl in real-world conditions (lower, if you’re stuck in traffic for the most part). Its diesel-powered counterparts, however, can deliver 13 kmpl to 18 kmpl.
Assuming petrol and diesel prices at Rs. 102 and Rs. 93 per litre, respectively, this translates to a running cost of Rs. 12.8/km to Rs. 8.5/km for petrol models, and from Rs. 7/km to Rs. 5.16/km for the diesel models. Calculating for an annual travel of 15,000 km, a petrol midsize SUV would cost you Rs. 1,27,500 to Rs. 1,92,000 to run, while the same for a diesel midsize SUV would be between Rs. 77,500 to Rs. 105,000.
Now, let’s look at full-size SUVs; a typical petrol model would deliver between 5 kmpl to 8 kmpl, while a diesel model would stretch a litre of fuel for around 9 km to 12 km. Assuming the fuel prices and annual travel to be the same, the petrol-powered fullsize SUV would burn through cash at an alarming rate – Rs. 1,91,250 to Rs. 3,06,000 in fuel every year.
A diesel fullsize SUV would, on the other hand, require around Rs. 1,16,250 to Rs. 1,55,000 to run annually, which is potentially half the cost! To put that into perspective, if you plan to keep your vehicle for 10 years in your garage, a fullsize petrol SUV could cost as high as Rs. 30.6 lakh to run, while a diesel one would cost you up to Rs. 15.5 lakh for the same, resulting in a difference of Rs. 15.1 lakh!
Even after considering the higher price tag for diesel cars and the additional cost of maintenance, the savings are significant on fullsize SUVs. As for the midsize SUVs, the running cost for 10 years would be near Rs. 12.75 lakh To Rs. 19 Lakh for the petrol models and Rs. 7.75 Lakh to Rs. 10.5 lakh for the diesel ones, which is a difference of Rs. 5 lakh to Rs. 8.5 Lakh. The difference is pretty decent, and it easily covers all the additional costs you’d pay for the diesel model over the petrol one and more.
However, fuel prices won’t stay constant, especially not for an entire decade, and depending on your daily driving, you could vary your fuel economy figures to be higher or lower than what we’ve assumed. Still, for a typical Indian car owner, this would be it!