We have been receiving a lot of queries on the fuel type to choose while buying a new car. Diesel or Petrol? A question for ages, a problem that stayed for generations and query of an individual as well as of a family. Diesel or Petrol? Is what we ask ourself even before we narrow down to make and model.

This mystery is finally solved by our detailed case study where we took two Honda City cars, both base variant, but one is petrol and other is diesel. We compared the car price, price of fuel, fuel efficiency, mileage and years of ownership and finally came to a conclusion.

So before you decide to go for diesel or petrol, you first need to figure out your monthly or yearly car run, because that’s the most important part of the equation. But if you can’t figure it out, or not sure about your average run, here’s our example where we assumed 10,000kms as yearly run and fuel prices as of March 1st, 2016 in Mumbai.

For the study, we have chosen the Honda City. You can replace it with any other car, fill in the correct numbers and find out the right fuel type. Also, make sure you choose the same variant for both the petrol and diesel versions. The price difference between a petrol and diesel variant will vary for each car. Official prices and ARAI certified efficiency figures are available on every car manufacturer’s website.

You can get the right price of fuel from the website of oil companies or at a nearby fuel station. Your phones have calculators.

Calculate the amount spent on fuel – number of litres consumed (distance travelled/fuel efficiency) multiplied by the cost of fuel.


Honda City Petrol Base Variant

Honda City Diesel Base Variant

Car price (ex-showroom Mumbai)

Rs 8.10 lac

Rs 9.37 lac

Price of fuel (as on March 1, 2016 in Mumbai)



Fuel Efficiency (ARAI certified)




For 10,000km, number of litres consumed is –

Petrol: 10000km/17.8kmpl = 561.79 litres

Diesel: 10000km/26kmpl = 384.61 litres

Money spent on fuel –

Petrol: 561.79 litres x 62.75 = Rs 35,252

Diesel: 384.61 litres x 53.06 = Rs 20,407

You save: Rs 14,845/year driving a diesel if you clock 10,000km per year.

But remember, you have spent Rs 1.27 lac more to purchase a diesel Honda City. It will take you about eight and a half years to recover that amount spent during purchase of the diesel variant over the petrol variant with 10,000km clocked per year.

Read on to find out about different mileage slabs.

  10,000km/yr 15,000km/yr 20,000km/yr 25,000km/yr 30,000km/yr
Money saved/year Rs 14,845 Rs 22,267 Rs 29,690 Rs 37,113 Rs 44,535
Years to recover price premium in 8.55 years 5.70 years 4.27 years 3.42 years 2.85 years

Ideally, cars are replaced every three years so buying a diesel car makes more sense if you clock around 25,000km per year.


Buy a diesel model if

  • Monthly running is around 1,500-2,000 km or 50-70 km a day.
  • The price difference between petrol and diesel model is around Rs 50,000-60,000.
  • You are looking to operate your vehicle as a taxi.

Buy a petrol model if

  • Monthly running is less than 1,500 km or 50 km a day.
  • The price difference is around Rs 1 lac.
  • You live in a small city where distances aren’t great.


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