Petrol, diesel, CNG, LPG? Which one should you go for…

The steepest ever hike in prices of petrol on Wednesday led to the customary howls of protest across all quarters of the society and the usual defense of how rising crude prices had made this almost compulsory.

And equally it will lead to the question being asked whether it makes any sense at all to buy a petrol vehicle any more.

I did write about this last year and tried to make it simple for prospective buyers on the choice they ought to be making. It did get many eyeballs but at the same time a lot of pertinent questions were raised. This time around, I would try and answer in as lucid a manner as possible.

The difference between the price of diesel and petrol is now at an all time high, by far. At Rs 32 per litre, diesel finds itself in a favourable position like never before. At the same time though, the prices of diesel cars have also risen substantially over the last 1 year.

For example, in January one may get a new diesel car for only Rs 80,000 more as compared to its petrol counterpart. That difference today easily stands at over Rs 130,000. This excludes the huge discounts that petrol cars carry these days which makes the situation a little more complicated.

The grey area with diesel’s popularity, as pointed out by some readers, is that it demands more maintenance over sustained usage. That is true for age old diesel cars but so far there is little proof of it in new age diesel engines. What does it mean by new age engines?

The real diesel car demand began in earnest with the launch of Maruti Swift, which is now almost 5 years old (diesel version). I believe that is a good enough time period to review a car’s performance as far as durability is concerned. So far, there is little to suggest that a 5 year old Swift diesel has asked for any extra maintenance as compared to its petrol counterpart.

Ofcourse in some parts of the country the quality of diesel is a big question mark and that leads to unsavory experiences. For now we have to take it with a pinch of salt and grin and bear it. Such cases can only be exceptions. A diesel engine may still demand a little more money on maintenance by dint of its being heavy, and more complicated high compression machine but it cannot be such a big factor to alter the overall economics of owning a diesel car in a big way. The jury however, is still out on this and I shall stand corrected incase it happens to be the other way.

The scenario with CNG and LPG has not changed much. They remain cheap but at the same time their availability pan India is a big hindrance. In places where CNG is available like in Delhi NCR, Ahmedabad, Pune, Mumbai and some other cities like Lucknow, Agra and Kanpur, the demand for these vehicles is high. Sometimes as much as 30% of all cars sold in these cities is CNG. There are some safety parameters and the loss of boot space that linger in the minds of consumers. Some of it may have merit but overall and considering that manufacturers are now offering warranty on CNG fitment, safety is no longer that big an issue.

Coming down to the overall cost dynamics in the changed situation, petrol has clearly become a rich man’s fuel. With a per kilometer running cost of Rs 4.13, this is more than double that of diesel. CNG remains the cheapest fuel to run your car on, at just under Rs 1.42 per kilometer followed by diesel at 1.94. Considering that you drive on a average 30 kilometers every day, it would now take you barely 30 months to cover up the additional cost that you may be paying for a diesel car compared to a petrol car. In the case of CNG that is even lower at just under 2 years while for LPG it is also 30 months.

To extrapolate it further, in 5 years time, you would end up saving over Rs 60,000 on a diesel car and over Rs 93,000 on a CNG vehicle, give and take a few hundred rupees here and there. These calculations are based on some standard assumptions like the fuel economy of a petrol, diesel and CNG vehicle under test conditions as specified by government’s own agency Pune based ARAI. Indeed the fuel economy figures taken here are those supplied by ARAI. This may vary on actual road conditions but it is a common benchmark and it will not change the broad conclusions substantially.

For now, so long as diesel prices remain at the level they are, it is indeed a lot more attractive bet. But considering that it is also liable to change in future, CNG appears to be the cheapest if not the safest option.

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  • Mycarhelpline

    But with CNG been not available across all parts – many people tend to go in for Diesel. Else, keeping environment friendliness – State Government should give some incentive for CNG similar on lines of Maharastra Government. Moreover, with the comparison between Diesel and CNG – CNG leads to higher savings than diesel cars


  • ilovecng

    The saving on diesel car is valid if you buy in all cash. Else, you will pay Rs 45,000 extra as interest cost for a loan of 5 years @ 11.5%. Hence, overall saving will be just about Rs 15,000. Petrol cars have better resale value than diesel cars, so overall savings will shrink further.

    CNG is the cheapest for sure, but wont save you Rs 1L. The resale value will drop by atleast 50%. There are other issues as well, you dont have much choice in CNG. It you are not going for factory/ dealer fitted CNG, warranty on your car will lapse. Also, it is a pain to queue up at CNG pump every third day for 30 minutes. You will have to switch to petrol for highway driving!!

    CNG makes more sense if you plan to retain car for 6-7 years and run it for more than 1.5L kms (avg 2,000 kms per month)


    Anonymous Reply:

    Petrol cars have better resale value? I have put my excellent top of the line 4 year old petrol car in the market and I am getting 17% of its original cost whereas a 9 year old diesel car flew the day after the advert – for a fantastic price I may add. Right now used petrol cars have zero market.


  • Anonymous

    Petrol mileage of 17+ Kmpl? what car are you talking about? There is another thing: whereas the reality is closer to the mileage claims of diesel car manufacturers, among petrol cars the gap between the claim and reality is unacceptably wide.


  • zoya

    I think its great that the number of species is been increase that mean Nepal is been taking good care of the animals.


  • RK Sharma

    When politicians are themselves rapists , why will they make any law, nothing will happen in India, tomorrow if something happens to me i will die in case i am not well connected with money along with physical power, Imagine if the boy who was trying to save this girl would have hit Ram Singh on head with full force using iron rod and Ram Singh was dead, other 6 would have scared, Indians are violent and indifferent, i repeat nothing will work in India, a country which was founded on false ego and wrong policies of Gandhi and Nehru is not a fit country to live, Real patriots like Netaji Bose and Bhagat Singh were sidelined, Netaji Bose was thrown out of Congress but Gandhi and he was killed in Russian prison by Stalin under pressure from Nehru, When base is wrong what is the end Result, same Gandhi has Rajghat where politicians do dramas every now and than, Have you ever heard a powerful politician daughter getting raped or Police commissioner home getting on fire; only common person will get beating and only their daughters are unsafe, Each man and woman on his own, what will these Candle light vigils do where our old politicians are shameless and emotionless. Also too many intellectual spoil show look at Janlokpal, what happened Aruna Roy was thrown as pawn to defeat Anna Hazare, with only debates end result, nothing happened. But this 23 year old Gang rape shakes me also, they way they tortured her runs a fear in my body also, i hope at-least some fear of law remains and country doesn’t go to dogs.


    Hima Bindu Reply:

    When all these will stop.. Indian is still dependent..We din’t got Independence..God will our Indian girls will be safe. Is only mother womb is the safest place for us? are we not suppose to go anywhere without fear?


  • P Agrawal

    What can be expected from politicians when almost one-third of themselves have criminal record. One just have to read the statements given by various politicians of broad spectrum to see through their chauvinistic mind-set. Politicians and police who do not help or register cases against molestations and rape should also be tried for the same crime as the accused. All politicians with criminal record should be asked to resign and those with cases against them should be suspended until the cases are heard and settled. Police personnel should be tried for lapses and charged as criminals.


    Sonali Reply:

    I dont understand why the India Goverment waited such a long time to take an action against such crimes. Police are also to be blamed for their ignorances when thousands of reports made against various cases, they are suppose to safe guard the public especialy women but they did not take any actions to all the reported cases and this incident will be a good lesson to all the Police Dept & Politicians in India. If only the actions was taken earlier, this poor girl will not been a victim today……..By hanging the 6 evils is not a great punishment, they should be tortured before the final punishment……India Govenrment & Police Depts,forget about earing assets than concentrating in human life. You should be embarrased of all the violences happening in your own country and yet you people can’t find a solutions to all the crimes…….May the God Save India…


  • Facebook

    Indians still continuing the animal culture. Delhi gangrape is the best example of that. Tom USA


  • Hima Bindu

    hatsoff girl for ur courage battle..may ur soul rest in peace..

    but we know until those country brutes (who tortured u and killed) hanged
    till the death u will not have peace. Un jaanvaro ko utna hi torture karna jitna
    unhone is ladki ko diye the..they should know the pain, they should pay for what
    they did to the girl..Not only those ******** but for all whoever rape a lady or
    a girl should be sentenced to death.This is the ONLY solution. Until this law
    introduces in our Indian Judiciary there will be no end for the rapes. And I
    urge u Police of all the parts of our country please accept the complaints of
    girls no matter they are of eve-teasing, raging or rapes please responed and
    show quick action on that.But we all Indians demand u to kill those six ********
    in public torture them by any means but should know the pain in the same way
    what they gave to her, No matter there is a minor in the group,even if he is the
    minor y that sick fellow did this,he is no more a minor he is very matured so he
    have friends like that street dogs, i mean the remaining fellows, they are more
    than the wild animals by just covering themselves with human face. HANG THOSE


  • Dr.Yogesh Sharma

    The cases in which the victim dies or
    get serious injury, in such cases the rapist/rapists should be given Capital
    Punishment. The victim must be given a suitable government job and Rs. 20 lakhs
    as compensation.

    The cases where the rape is committed
    in a forced, ruthless and violent manner but the victim does not die nor gets
    serious injuries, the rapist/rapists should be given life imprisonment and
    chemically the rapist should be castrated. He must be fined according to his
    financial status but not less than Rs.10 lakhs. The victim must be given
    government job and Rs. 10 lakhs as compensation.

    In other rape cases where blackmailing,
    threat, allurement, false promises etc., methodology has been used the rapist
    should be awarded at least 10 years imprisonment. The victim should be given
    government job and 5 lakhs as compensation.

    Charge sheet must be filed within 7
    days. If the concern officer fails to adhere to the time limit, he should be
    dismissed from the job. Zero tolerance must be there.

    Only women police officers should
    investigate rape cases.

    Hearing of the rape, molestation, acid
    throwing cases must be held on the day to day basis.

    District and Session level judge must
    decide the case within 3 months. If the judge fails to decide the case within
    the given period, he must be dismissed from the job.

    High Courts and Supreme Courts Judges
    also must be given only 3 moths jointly to deliver the judgment. If they fail
    to deliver the judgment within the stipulated time they should also do not be
    given any promotion, increments or any other consequential benefits.

    If at any level any lawyer/legal expert
    is found guilty of using delaying/prolonging tactics, his license/registration
    should immediately be terminated and a fine of Rs.5 lakhs must be imposed.

    If police gets concrete/solid evidence
    like CCTV footage, witnessed by responsible citizen such as Class I & II
    Officer, Gazetted Officer, Army/Air Force/Navy Officers, Doctor, Professor, Scientists,
    Professionals of some reputed groups such as Tata, Birla, Ambani, Hinduja,
    Caterpillar, Facebook, Twitter, etc., of eve teasing, molestation or harassment
    the criminal must be publicly flogged and be paraded with face blackened. In
    such cases the criminal must be given 3 years imprisonment and at least 1 lakh
    fine after summary trial.

    If any person throws acid or harm
    physically on any girl it should also be treated at par with rape and in the
    same manner the criminal must be punished and the victim must be given a
    government job with 10 lakh compensation.

    If any crime is committed against women
    such as rape, eve teasing, molestation, acid throwing and the concern police
    officer fail to identify and arrest the culprit, the police officer must be
    dismissed from the job.

    Police and judicial reforms should be
    done as early as possible.

    14. Justice department must have
    an all abiding calendar on the pattern of academic/university calendar.

    15. As teachers/universities finish all the work within the
    date of academic/university calendar, similarly judiciary must stick to judicial

    16. Meritorious students should be appointed as judicial
    magistrates from the reputed law colleges through campus selection for speedy

    17. As there is rampant absenteeism, corruption problem
    among judges and court staff, so to check absenteeism of judges and court staff,
    Bio-Metric machines should be installed to check their attendance/presence.

    18. CCTV Cameras should be installed to monitor the
    workings of judges, lawyers, and court staff and to check corruption.

    19. AS most of the judges and lawyers are academically very
    poor so in promotions their performance, merit, academic excellence, research
    work and published work should be checked to promote excellence as it is done
    in the promotion of University and College teachers.

    20. Academically poor judges, corrupt judges should be
    dismissed from the job after summary trial as the practice is in the Army.


  • nida

    Why doesn’t d nation boycott d Republic Day
    celebrations in totality? Ensure a “NO SHOW”. Thy don’t wnt d citizens
    gathering evn for a peaceful protest, so why shud crowds gather to hear
    thm at their convenience?
    Let us be absent wen it matters most. Let d world get a taste of our disgust. Let us shame thm by playing their game.
    if u agree then pls share and spread the word…