The math of owning cars – diesel or petrol ?

There are many factors today to decide on what car to own. Compared to a few years ago, these days the fuel price of petrol has skyrocketed from about 55 bucks to a whopping 75 bucks per litre. So is it really high then or is it just a perception that owning petrol cars is now more costly? Lets do a reality check shall we?

A petrol sedan costs on the road in Bangalore, about 8.5 lacs. While a diesel version about 9.8 lacs. For about 50000km of drive irrespective of where you take it and how you finish the distance, and in how much time for calculation – we just consider the distance alone.

We further assume petrol price is 75 bucks, and the fuel economy is around 12kmpl. Similarly diesel is 46 bucks and the fuel economy is around 15kmpl (maybe more though). With this assumption, for a distance of 50000kms we need about 4167 litres of petrol and 3333 litres of diesel. The cost of this fuel is respectively Rs.312525 and Rs.153333 for 50000km of usage. Add these values to the base prices of the vehicle mentioned above and we get a cost of Rs.1112525, and Rs.1133333.

Let us take service costs for petrol to be Rs.1000 for first service, 3000 for second, 5000 for third and 7000 for fourth and 10000 for fifth. So the total here is 26000 bucks. Consider the same for diesel to be Rs.1500, 5000, 10000, 12000 and 15000 and we have a figure of 42000 bucks.

Add this again to previously computed values and we have Rs.1138525 Rs.1175333 for a petrol and diesel vehicle over about 50000km of driving.

If you were to drive about 15000km every year, you will need 3 years to manage this distance. However if you are even more conservative then perhaps 5 years to complete the same distance.

So for the first 50000km the diesel vehicle is atmost about 40000 rupees more expensive to own! Now what then differentiates the diesel from the petrol vehicle is not fuel price, service cost or features – but just the engine characteristics – not even mileage as the arithmetic is more or less close.

So tell me which one would you now consider? 🙂

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