Electric, Petrol, CNG Or Diesel? Which Kind of Fuel Type Should You Buy in 2022?

Electric, Petrol, CNG Or Diesel? Which Kind of Fuel Type Should You Buy in 2022

When you plan on buying a car, there are a lot of options to consider before choosing, starting from the brand and model right down to the features on offer. The most important one among them is the type of fuel. Choosing the right car for yourself largely depends on how you intend to use it, what sort of needs you have in respect to transportation and your budget.

Electric, Petrol, CNG and Diesel are the fuels on tap and before choosing one of these four, you need to answer some questions that will give some clarity on your priorities.

  1. Performance, Boot Space or Mileage – What is your priority?
  2. City or Highway or Maximum Local Usage – Which is your regular route for driving?
  3. Performance or Lower Running costs – Which is your preference?

Now with these answers in mind, let’s look at the pros and cons of these fuel-powered cars.

Petrol Cars Diesel Cars CNG Cars
Pros Priced Lowest Comparatively Low Running Costs Lowest Running Costs
Engine Performance does not go down. Lowest NVH Better for long term use compared to CNG-fitted cars Clean Natural Alternate Fuel
No modification is required. Lowest Maintenance. Pep, Power Delivery in Diesel Car is much better as fuel combustion is pretty fast. Hence it has enhanced pickup. Retro Fitted CNG Kits where cars can run on both modes of Petrol or CNG.
Cons Highest Running Costs. High Upfront Payment. Expensive to tune. CNG Cylinder Capacity is small with a maximum of up to 12 Kg with 85% Utilisation. You can Expect around 200 Kms run with CNG Full.
Has relatively lower Torque in Engine Performance Spare Parts and Periodic Maintenance is higher on longer-term CNG Leads to loss of Power giving lesser pickup. A general trend is a 15% – 20% drop in power based on Car and CNG Kit
Higher NVH Eats up Boot Space due to Size of CNG Kit
Will soon go out of commission due to environmental concerns. Few Fuel Stations of CNG. Also, the time is taken to refill CNG due to Paucity and Commercial Vehicles Queue.
The long term reliability in terms of Hassle-Free Ownership is yet a question if CNG Fitment is not Factory Fitted

More Cons for CNG

  1. If Boot Space for Luggage is a priority, then you should know that the CNG Cylinder almost fills 80% of the Boot Space in a Hatchback and almost 60% in a Sedan Car.
  2. CNG cars have almost 15% less power when compared to the other fuels. This means reduced performance.
  3. Frequent long-distance drives are not feasible with CNG power cars. They have limited range and you will be stuck if you run out of gas in the middle of nowhere unable to fill.
  4. CNG Refilling Centres are heavily jammed even in big cities due to relatively limited stations.

Fuel Price in India

Petrol: Rs 95/Litre

Diesel: Rs 85/Litre

CNG: Rs 60/Kg

Running Costs

Petrol: Rs 7.4/Km

Diesel: Rs 5.3/Km

CNG: Rs 3/Km

The table below shows the annual running cost for your car based on an average estimate of kilometres of run every year.

Annual Running Cost of Car (Amount in Rs)
Kms Usage Petrol Car   Diesel Car CNG Car
5000 Kms 37000 26500 15000
7500 Kms 55500 39750 22500
10000 Kms 74000 53000 30000
15000 Kms 111000 79500 45000
18000 Kms 133200 95400 54000

Cost Details of Diesel and Factory Fitted CNG Kits

Diesel Factory Fitted CNG or Manufacturer Recommended CNG
Additional Upfront Costing Over Petrol Car Rs. 1.25 Lakh approx Rs. 75,000 (CNG Kit)
Additional Finance Interest Cost at end of 5 year Rs. 35,000 approx Rs. 13,000
Higher Maintenance over a period of 5 Years including one-time clutch Plate & Battery change price difference Rs. 25,000 approx Rs. 7700
Additional Insurance Premium in 5  Years Rs. 15,000 Rs. 8000

Our Verdict:

Less Driven Cars: Less than 500 Kms per month (5000 to 7000 Kms in a Year) – Petrol would be the best choice here.

For Average Driving: 800 to 1000 Kms per month (10,000 to 12,000 Kms a Year) – CNG will be the most economical option in the long run.

For Moderate Driving: 1200 to 1400 Kms per month (15,000 to 16,000 Kms a Year) -CNG again would be the logical choice.

For High Running: Diesel should be the choice if you drive 2000 Kms or more in a month (i.e 20000 Kms or more in a year). Ideally, it should save you a lot in terms of fuel and maintenance. But the current situation with the emission control norms and government policies with regards to environmental sustainable fuels, diesel might not be in the choice list for long.

Electric Vehicles

Now for the EVs, it is a completely different scenario in India right now. The first thing to keep in mind is that EVs are just entering the domestic market. We have very few budget models like Tata Tigor Ev and Tata Nexon EV. The rest EVs on offer are from big, luxury brands like the Audi and Porsche. Buying an EV in 2022 will prove to be difficult in the first step itself with their high upfront cost.

Next on the list of cons is the lack of logistics in terms of battery stations, availability maintenance and repair facilities. Even the major cities like Delhi and Mumbai have few electric battery charging stations and they are only in selected locations. Say you have an urge to go for a long drive for the weekend, chances are high you’ll be stranded on the outskirts with a dead battery with no station nearby to charge your car. You will require towing services to reach the closest charging station.

Any untoward accident or repair services will cost high at present as they need technical expertise specifically trained in electric vehicles. Moreover, we do not have many choices to choose from the models available as well. In the near future, we can expect these to change for sure with the government promoting the electric vehicle sector.

The sophistication you attain with an electric car itself will be a major popularity factor amongst the crowds. Waiting a few years to buy an electric car would be the sensible choice for a prospective buyer with a budget.

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