We are up with four different fuel options to run a car. Petrol, diesel, LPG and CNG are the four fuel options we are talking about. Quite naturally, a question pops up in the mind, which of the fuel variants is just about right to fit the running costs into the budget. We will obviously have to go by what the market experts say and do our own math to figure this out. Here is the picture. If one is to get down to the brass tracks, here are the three important factors that influence the overall cost of a vehicle - the actual price of the vehicle, fuel expenses and the maintenance cost of the car. One might find it an insignificant factor, but the time is another issue that plays an important role while toying with the idea of a car purchase.
While everybody has their own way to look at it, here’s why a diesel or a CNG driven car could turn out to be a better option on any given day. But, once again diesel or CNG cars, especially diesel is not a right choice if the person is more like a caterpillar who changes the skin in every few days. Diesel car particularly is a big no-no if the consumer hopes to purchase a new car in every two-three years. Read along to find out why. First of all, the cost of the vehicle is the one that hits the consumer, because that is the amount he needs to pay upfront. Here, the petrol cars take away the prize. Among the lot, petrol cars come cheaper than any other variant followed by LPG cars close on the heels. Then comes the CNG and high up the ladder is the diesel driven car. It’s the diesel technology that increases the price of a diesel car by Rs 80,000 – Rs 1 lakh over a petrol counterpart.
Though, the LPG and the CNG cars come a little expensive than the petrol car, the consumers are usually bright enough to waive this off by heading for an LPG or CNG company fitments that come at reasonably lower price. While the consumer will have to shell out Rs 15,000 for an LPG kit, CNG kit can be fitted into the system for about Rs 30,000. So, that was about the initial investment on a car. Now, obviously the consumer has to constantly put some pressure on the pocket to set the car on wheels. We are talking about is nothing other than the fuel and maintenance costs here. Petrol of late is becoming as precious as gold. After a little give and take, the petrol price today stands near about Rs 65.64 a liter. The closest that comes to the petrol is the diesel which is about Rs 40.91/L, while the CNG and LPG are considerably lower than the two at Rs 32/kg and 38.34/kg.
Coming to the mileage perspective, diesel fares far better than any other fuel in the equation. An average diesel car delivers a mileage of 21 km/l, while coming to a petrol car, the mileage falls to around 14 km/l. The CNG and an LPG driven car offers a reasonable mileage of 16 km/l and 13 km/l respectively. Though by a very slight margin probably less than 2%, CNG scores better over the diesel car. But, in a longrun say considering a figure of 1000 km a month run, then CNG could be a far better option , though limited supply of this fuel is a drawback. Not everwhere is CNG available quite amply. Lucky are those who have the CNG supply in abundance, but what of those who don’t. However, this is also a point one has to bear in mind. All in all, though petrol car seems to tempt many with lower price tag, in a long run the situation is almost reversed.
It could take just around 18-19 months to break even with the initial investment cost on a CNG car when compared to a petrol car, while it takes a period of 3-4 years to recover the additional cost on the diesel car. This is a rough idea of a consumer who covers a distance of 1000 km a month. However, one should not forget the higher maintenance cost that goes into a diesel car, even if we ignore the minimal excess of the same expenses that goes into LPG/CNG cars as opposed to petrol car. However, it is not high as before, when the consumers used to shy away from the diesel cars for the fear of higher maintenance costs. In the recent day, the diesel maintenance boils down to not more than Rs 2,500 excess over a petrol car.
Here we have a list of the top selling diesel cars in India. New Maruti Swift continues to rule the roost, while the Tata Indica V2, Toyota Etios Liva and Chevrolet Beat are also quite popular for the fuel efficiency numbers. Upcoming Tata Nano diesel could be a trendsetter in this segment claiming a mileage of 32-35 km/l . LPG and CNG variants are found more in budget cars like Maruti Alto, Hyunda i10, Hyundai Santro and Chevrolet Spark.