image title

Diesel or Petrol Car? Which One to Buy

Karen Menezes Karen Menezes 12 July 2016

Wondering whether you should buy a diesel or petrol car? Check out this comparative overview between both the types of cars and which would be suitable for you.

Car Insurance Policy

Rising fuel prices have once again kick-started the petrol vs. diesel debate & if you are reading this article, you probably are interested in the purchase of a new car.

The most vital question for many buyers in India is whether to buy a diesel car or a petrol variant. Along with the initial and recurring costs, there are several other factors that one needs to look into before the purchase of a car.

Here is a comparative overview-

On Road and Mileage Costs

A simple rule of thumb that most people should consider while making their decision is calculating the average number of kilometers they’d drive in a day. On-road prices of petrol cars are less as compared to the diesel ones. But in the long run, diesel cars cost less as the fuel prices are lower. It means your recurring expenses on the fuel are reduced. Also, diesel gives you a higher mileage when compared to the petrol vehicles.

Consider an example of a diesel car costing about Rs. 6,28,262 and a petrol car priced at Rs. 5,22,335.

If you drive about 100 kilometers a day, the total run is 36,500 km annually. Take the average mileage of the car to be at 23.4 kmpl for diesel and 19.1 kmpl for the petrol versions.

As per the above calculation, your total fuel consumption would be 1559.8 liters of diesel and 1910.99 liters of petrol. The approximate cost of petrol is Rs. 64.25 per liter and Rs. 53.35 for diesel. If you do the math, you end up spending about Rs. 83,215.33 on diesel and Rs. 1,22,781.11 on petrol each year.

Hence, your savings on a car running on diesel comes out to be Rs. 39,566 each year.

Comparing Car Performance and Convenience

Usually, petrol cars are less noisy, lighter in weight and also offer you a much better driving experience. But diesel engines are more powerful than the petrol ones and have a higher torque. So your diesel car would give you a much smoother ride.


High-Maintenance is the word that defines diesel cars. This happens due to consumables - including engine oil and expensive spare parts. Also, on an average, the insurance for diesel cars is expensive by 10-15 per cent as repair costs are higher.

Resale Value

Diesel cars do have a higher resale value as compared to the petrol ones. In spite of the fact that petrol engines have a longer life, the 2nd hand diesel cars are in demand in the Indian domestic market. So, depreciation of diesel cars is on the lower side as compared to the petrol ones.

Which One Should You Buy?

It isn’t an easy choice. Go through the following arguments to make up your mind

  • As per the calculations, a diesel car would let you save Rs. 39,566 annually. This means you would compensate for the higher on-road cost in approximately 3 years. But, what about the people who drive only 20-30 km a day? With such short runs, you would not be able to recover your investment in diesel cars. Opt for a petrol car instead. A diesel car is viable only if your daily run is approximately 70-100 km.

  • If you plan on keeping your car for 5+ years, a diesel vehicle will be a better option. If you want to re-sell every 3-4 years, go for a petrol one - the faster you sell, the lower your depreciation costs.

  • Remember, the gap between petrol and diesel prices are converging. The difference in the fuel rates is lesser now than what it was a decade ago. Also, diesel engine technology has improved. The engines are more efficient and lot less noisy. There is little to differentiate between petrol and diesel engines performances these days.

So, before you go out to buy your dream vehicle, evaluate your requirements. There are no clear winners here, and your choice totally depends on the size of your pocket and your driving preferences. But if the running cost is the most important factor for you, then diesel car would be a good choice.

Karen Menezes
Written by Karen Menezes
An optimist at heart, Karen loves to see the world through a pair of rose-tinted glasses. An award-winning blogger, she loves to dream with her eyes open. Writing is not her passion, it’s an OCD! If at all she isn’t writing, you can find her shopping online or experimenting with DIY recipes.