Diesel vs Petrol, What makes sense in 2014

Discussion in 'T&AA - Travel and Anything Automotive' started by JD666, Sep 3, 2014.

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  1. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    As the price gap between Diesel and Petrol narrows by the month, this question would definitely be asked by anyone planning to buy a vehicle. Especially now that the festive season will be upon us soon.

    Here's a simple answer -

    If your vehicle commute is below 50 kms a day, and you don't have to lug around a bunch of people everyday, a Petrol vehicle makes sense.

    Here's the complex answer why -

    1 - Purchase Price -

    Let's take two equivalent models (Petrol and Diesel) from two different Manufacturers -

    Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire -


    Though I hate the abomination, it apparently is a favorite with everyone in India. So much so that they decided to extend their love for it by buying it overseas as well (Yep all Dzires that I have seen here, have been driven by an Indian). Anyhow let's not go further into my dislike for the machine. Let's talk efficiency here.

    Cost of Entry level Diesel Model -5,78,583 INR

    Cost of Entry level Petrol Model - 4,85,162 INR

    Ford Figo -

    Ford Figo 2014.jpeg

    A very capable and spacious Hatchback, one of my favorites, though the styling could have been worked on by the company.

    Cost of Entry level Diesel Model - 4,85,058 INR

    Cost of Entry level Petrol Model - 3,89,650 INR

    We can clearly see that there is a straight up difference of nearly 1,00,000 INR between the Petrol and Diesel variants.

    2 - Road tax and Insurance -

    Moving on, next up difference in cost of insurance/registration -

    Taking New Delhi as an example, the cost of registration + Road tax fees for vehicle upto 6 Lakhs is -

    Petrol - 4%
    Diesel - 5%

    (Note - Road tax for vehicles between 6-10 Lakh; Petrol - 7%, Diesel 8.5% and it keeps progressing like that).

    Cost of Maruti Swift Dzire Diesel Insurance = Approximately - 18,500 INR
    Road Tax and Registration - Approximately - 33,000 INR

    Cost of Maruti Swift Dzire Petrol Insurance = Approximately - 15,500 INR
    Road Tax and Registration - Approximately - 23,500 INR

    Cost of Ford Figo Diesel Insurance - Approximately - 15,800 INR
    Road Tax and Registration - Approximately - 28,700 INR

    Cost of Ford Figo Petrol Insurance - Approximately - 13,150 INR
    Road Tax and Registration - Approximately - 18,100 INR

    Total net difference -

    Maruti Swift Dzire -
    1) Insurance - 3,000 INR
    2) Road Tax and Registration - 9,500 INR.

    Ford Figo -
    1) Insurance - 2,650 INR
    2) Road Tax and Registration - 10,600 INR

    1 - The Insurance difference would be a recurring difference that you would be paying higher every year upon renewal, so it might go down every year, but still the difference would be say 2700-2500-2300-2100 every years. Approximately, give or take 9000-10,000 INR over 5 years what you would be paying higher for a Diesel vehicle vs a similar Petrol vehicle.

    2) Road Tax and Registration are one time fees, so this can be considered as a fixed net difference between the price of Petrol vehicle vs Diesel vehicle. - 9,500 INR

    Adding all these price differences to the initial difference and we are sitting with a price gap of about 1.2 Lakh between both machines (a few thousand here or there) and we've not even gotten to the running/efficiency bit.

    3 - Cost of Service/Running -

    A quick search and I dug up this information nugget. The below are the servicing costs for a Ford Figo Diesel vs a Ford Figo Petrol (Note no taxes mentioned, they will vary for each state) -

    Service costing.jpeg

    Total cost of service for Petrol Variant over 1,00,000 kms - 31,609 (again before taxes)

    Total cost of service for Diesel Variant over 1,00,000 kms - 40,018 (before taxes).

    A subtle but noticeable difference of 8,500 INR, that I will round off to 9,000 INR (due to the difference in taxes and hey, it's my math :D )

    Doing the same bit for a Swift Dzire I found a approximate difference of 11,000 INR between the Diesel and the Petrol model over a period of 1,00,000 kms.

    Taking an average, let's add another 10,000 INR to the overall cost difference. Though let me tell you this, you will be paying much higher for any part replacement or major service in the case of a diesel vehicle.

    Net price difference - 1,30,000 INR.

    A number of people have mixed experiences and knowledge to share on the following discussion, but as a generic rule, a vehicle that runs heavier will definitely stress the running machinery more. I would like to factor in the cost of additional items like Tyres and suspension that would wear out quicker on a Diesel than a Petrol vehicle.

    Yes Manufacturers compensate for the additional weight in the front, but still your wear and tear would be 15-30% higher in a Diesel vehicle depending on your driving style and conditions. Not delving too deep in the pricing for tyres and suspension joints etc, I'll keep a difference of one set of tyres for the whole deal. Approximately 13,000 INR.

    Net price difference - 1,43,000 INR.

    4 - Savings on Fuel efficiency -

    The part everyone's been waiting for, and the part that gets sold to every prospective buyer when they enter a car showroom.

    Net price difference between Diesel and Petrol ? I see a price range between 9 - 11 Rupees. Lets take an average of 10 Rs? With Petrol being pricer by that much.

    Average tested fuel economy of Maruti Swift Dzire Diesel - 17.64 Km/L
    Average tested fuel economy of Maruti Swift Dzire Petrol - 15.4 Km/L

    Average tested fuel economy of Ford Figo Diesel - 17.2 Km/L
    Average tested fuel economy of Ford Figo Petrol - 14.2 Km/L

    Note - All of the above data has been sourced as tested by overdrive.in

    Let's give it some more lee way and widen the gap from 3 km/l to about 4 kmpl (though the gaps are at 2 Km/L for Swift Dzire and 3 Km/L for Figo).

    Diesel is surely capable of returning much higher mileage on the highway, but then how many highway jaunts do you do in a year?

    Calculating fuel price difference considering that the price difference between Petrol and Diesel stays the same (which it won't).

    Money spent on fuel for Maruti Swift Dzire for 1,00,000 kms -

    1) Petrol - 4,48,051 INR (Considering mileage 15.4 Km/L and Petrol price 69 INR)
    2) Diesel - 3,34,467 INR (Considering mileage 17.64 Km/L and Diesel price 59 INR)

    Net Savings - 1,13,584 INR

    Money spent on fuel for Ford Figo for 1,00,000 kms -

    1) Petrol - 4,85,915 (Considering mileage 14.2 Km/L and Petrol price 69 INR)
    2) Diesel - 3,43,023 (Considering mileage 17.2 Km/L and Diesel price 59 INR)

    Net Saving - 1,42,892 INR

    But the price difference was 1,43,000 INR approximately over the period of 100,000 kms. So a Diesel makes as much sense as a petrol vehicle, including the price difference. Right?

    Nope. Well in the case of the Swift Dzire over a period of 100,000 kms it does not, since you end up spending about 30,000 more on the Diesel vs the Petrol variant.

    It does make mathematical sense for the Ford Figo Diesel vs the Petrol since the Fuel cost saving is the same as the price difference.

    5 - What we do not account for -

    This works for people who buy a vehicle outright, i.e. cash down full payment, and yet they'll be stuck with the same vehicle for 1,00,000 kms :D (More on that in a bit).

    Generally one goes for vehicle financing and tries to get maximum loan possible (80-85%). I'll not go so deep in the finer calculations but simply do the following -

    Downpayment of 1L for each model and the rest financed for a period of 5 years (standard process)
    Rate of interest - 12%

    EMI and net amount paid -

    1) Swift Dzire Diesel - 10,540 INR per month (Net total - Interest - 1,53,842, Total (Sum+Interest - 6,32,425)

    2) Swift Dzire Petrol - 8483 INR per month (Net total - Interest - 1,23,811, Total (Sum + Interest - 5,08,973)

    3) Ford Figo Diesel - 8481 INR per month (Net total - Interest - 1,23,778, Total (Sum + Interest - 5,08,836)

    4) Ford Figo Petrol - 6379 INR per month (Net total - Interest - 93,109, Total (Sum + Interest - 3,82,759).

    And that 30,000 INR marks the difference as well :D

    6 - To sum up -

    I have the following to say. A diesel Maruti Swift Dzire would cost you approximately 60,000 INR more expensive to run than a Petrol Swift Dzire. The savings are perceived and not actual.

    Similarly a Ford Figo Diesel would cost you about 35,000 INR more than the equivalent Petrol model.

    What we need to understand is that this is for a vehicle running 1,00,000 kms.

    How many of us actually do that?
    I have seen vehicles that have done 1,00,000 kms first hand, two of our own (one took 7 years and the other took 9). A friend's diesel that took 8 years to run the distance.

    Secondly, How many of us own a vehicle for 7-9 years to recover that cost/saving.

    Most vehicles are sold between 3-5 years of age and 50-80,000 kms on the clock. If you are not driving it as calculated, you are not saving any money on it.

    Let's do one final calculation -

    For the above math to be valid and save you some money you should ideally be doing 1,00,000 kms in 5 years or an average of 83 kms per day (in a 20 day working month or 240 days working of the year).

    For someone who has a daily commute of say 20 kms that's 25,000 kms only in 5 years. Add a few road trips and weekend jaunts and you'll hit 45,000 kms tops in 5 years. And then your vehicle would be 5 years old, crucially requiring a change or additional maintenance to keep it going.

    Other factors -

    Age/model of vehicle
    - Cost difference between Diesel and Petrol is growing smaller day by day
    - Size of vehicle (Family carrier or individual)
    - Driving style and requirement.

    So when trying to decide what variant to buy, calculate your running on a realistic basis (Keeping your past vehicle running and history in mind) and then see what fuel suits you.

    idutt, Vinny and SumitB like this.
  2. MOZ

    MOZ RAID Leader Staff Member

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    I remember us doing similar calculations when we bought our Indica Vista, and since our car was running about 60 Km/day, we decided on diesel.
  3. JD666

    JD666 RAID Leader Staff Member

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    How many kms did you sell it at?
  4. Vinny

    Vinny RAID Rookie

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    In my case a petrol car. It's good for the enviornment too
  5. idutt

    idutt RAID Rookie

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    for the past two months i have been driving 80 kms per day up & down.paid more than 6k in petrol bills.if the cost difference between petrol & diesel remains 10-12 bucks then i would go for diesel whenever that is.however i will check the fuel cost first.
    JD666 likes this.

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