Petrol vs diesel vs electric cars: Which is more economical to own and run? How to save Rs 86,400 in fuel cost per year?
As newer electric vehicle (EV) models get launched and fossil fuels like petrol and diesel get more expensive, the choice between electric cars, diesel cars, and petrol cars has become more complex. When considering the long-term economic viability of these vehicles several factors like purchase cost, maintenance, government incentives and mileage need to be examined. Here we’ll compare the three options, dissect the pros and cons of owning an electric vehicle in comparison to a petrol or a diesel one, and determine which one offers the most economical advantages.
Petrol, diesel vs electric cars comparison: Initial Cost
Petrol cars have a lower purchase cost compared to diesel cars and EVs. Diesel cars are more expensive than petrol, but electric cars have the highest initial purchase cost in comparison. However, the prices of electric vehicles are gradually decreasing as technology advances.
For example, if we take a car like Tata's Nexon - which has all 3 variants - petrol, diesel and EV, then —
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- Petrol: The petrol base-model is priced at Rs 7.79 lakh ex-showroom and comes at Rs 8.75 lakh on-road in Delhi.
- Diesel: The diesel base model is priced at Rs 9.99 lakh ex-showroom and comes at Rs 11.4 lakh on-road in Delhi.
- EV: And the cheapest EV model - EV Prime - is priced at Rs 14.49 lakh ex-showroom, costing upto Rs 15.25 lakh on-road in Delhi.
|Nexon Petrol (Base model)||Nexon Diesel (Base model)||Tata Nexon
|Ex-Showroom Price||Rs 7.79||Rs 9.99||Rs 14.49|
|On-Road Price (Delhi)||Rs 8.75||Rs 11.40||Rs 15.25|
So, the EV is Rs 6.50 lakh more expensive than the petrol, and costs almost Rs 4 lakh more than the diesel variant.
Petrol, diesel vs electric cars comparison: Maintenance Expenses
Petrol cars are low maintenance vehicles, while diesel cars often have higher maintenance costs, primarily due to the complexity of their engines and emission control systems.
In contrast, electric cars have fewer moving parts and require less maintenance, servicing or oil changes than internal combustion engine vehicles.
Petrol, diesel vs electric cars comparison: Government Incentives
The Government of India doesn’t incentivize petrol or diesel vehicles, but it has implemented various initiatives to promote electric vehicles.
EVs attract lower GST rates, tax benefits, and purchase subsidies.
Petrol, diesel vs electric cars comparison: Mileage and Fuel Costs
Petrol cars are the costliest to run as petrol is an expensive fuel and the cars offer lower mileage in comparison to diesel engines.
Diesel prices are lower than petrol and additionally, diesel cars typically offer better fuel efficiency, resulting in lower fuel costs.
But even diesel cars are no match to the economy that EVs offer.
For example, if one takes the same three variants of Tata’s Nexon to make a fair comparison, then:
|Nexon Petrol (Base model)||Nexon Diesel (Base model)||Nexon EV
|Fuel Cost / litre (Delhi)||Petrol - Rs 97||Diesel - Rs 90||Peak tariff - Rs 8/kWh|
|Claimed mileage||17.33 kmpl||23.22 kmpl||312 kms/charge|
|Annual running||18,000 kms||18,000 kms||18,000 kms|
|Cost per kilometre||Rs 5.6 per km||Rs 3.9 per km||Rs 0.8 per km|
|Annual running cost||Rs 1,08,000||Rs 70,200||Rs 14,400|
As far as the base variants for all three fuel categories are concerned - Tata claims that the 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol engine returns 17.33 km per litre in the manual avatar, and the 1.5 litre diesel manual returns a mileage of 23.22 km per litre; whereas the Nexon EV Prime has a range of 312 kms after full charge.
So, if one's daily commute is 50 kilometres, and a monthly run of 1,500 kilometres and a yearly run of 18,000 kilometres; then —
- Petrol: Then with petrol priced at Rs 97 per litre in Delhi, and a claimed mileage of 17.33 km per litre, the car buyer will spend Rs 5.6 per kilometre to run the petrol car, and Rs 1,00,800 on fuel per year.
- Diesel: And with diesel priced at Rs 90 in Delhi, your expense per kilometer will Rs 3.9 as the diesel car returns a claimed mileage of 23.22 kms per litre. Meaning, it will cost Rs 70,200 in fuel per year.
- EV: And, with a battery capacity of 30.2 kilo-watt-hour, at the peak tariff of Rs 8 per kilo-watt-hour in Delhi, it will cost under Rs 250 to charge it fully and then cost approximately 80 paise per kilometer to run the vehicle. So, the EV will cost a total of Rs 14,400 per annum to charge.
- Result: The EV will save the car owner approximately Rs 86,400 per year on the petrol and Rs 55,800 over the diesel.
Note: However, comparing the cost of purchase upfront, then one will have to drive the EV for over 7.5 years to break even over the petrol, and almost 7 years over the diesel.
What’s also worth mentioning here is that the EV’s battery has a warranty of 8 years, and could be expensive to replace.
So, the economic viability of each option will depend on factors such as the frequency of usage, distance traveled, availability of charging infrastructure, and personal preferences. It is recommended that a carbuyer researches and evaluates their specific requirements before deciding.