With diesel prices surging ahead of petrol, is it time to shun diesel cars? We try to find out.
To everyone’s surprise, the prices of diesel have crossed petrol. The fuel, which was once half the cost of petrol, now leads the price battle. Buyer sentiments also show a decrease in the demand for diesel cars in India, which is likely to dip further due to the rise in diesel prices.
To give you a perspective, the percentage of petrol cars rose to 77 in 2017-18. This year too, diesel numbers are likely to shrink below 20 per cent. Does that mean the extra amount you put in to buy a new diesel car and the additional cost you pay on its service have turned meaningless? Let’s delve into more details.
The BS6 factor
When talking about fuel, you cannot skip the implementation of mandatory BS6 (Bharat Stage 6) emission norms from 1 April 2020. The new norms have transformed the auto industry forever. Renowned carmakers like Maruti Suzuki, Skoda and Volkswagen have decided to opt out of diesel battle by discontinuing diesel variants in their lineup. This omission list includes diesel variants of popular models like Maruti Dzire, Swift, Baleno and others. Renault-Nissan alliance too has signaled on a petrol-only lineup in the future.
Uncertain future of diesel cars
In India, the higher capacity diesel engines have seen a ban in the past. Due to environmental factors, we won’t be surprised if it gets banned again in the name of curbing pollution. It is also true that diesel motors emit more nitrous oxide and particulate matter than petrol and hence, create more pollution.
CNG and petrol-hybrid vehicles have also come up as a strong alternative to diesel cars; the former in smaller cars and latter in premium cars. The CNG variants of cars such as Maruti Wagon R, S-Presso, Hyundai Santro and several others have a decent demand indicating buyers hunt for value for money cars.
Not all is bad for diesel vehicles. The torquey nature of diesel engines makes them a darling of bigger SUVs and load-carrying vehicles. The low-end torque works well on climbs without the need to shift-down gears. Although the prices of petrol and diesel are matched, its fuel efficiency continues to be way better than petrol, giving it an edge.
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Despite the dip in demands for newer diesel vehicles, the used car market seems to be unaffected by this drift in sentiments. The diesel cars continue to hold their better resale value than petrol. In fact, the demand for used diesel cars may rise with limited diesel cars in the new car market.
To sum up, the rise in diesel prices may have put a dent in its sales temporarily. But, it is still worthy of buying a diesel car. However, you can only reap the benefits of a diesel car when you drive over 80km daily. Besides, the extra premium you pay for diesel cars can only recover when you plan to keep the car for a longer tenure.
Additionally, the carmakers are pulling the plug on their diesel models, so soon you might be left with a handful of diesel options to choose. If you feel the diesel engines would ban in some years, do not fret. The diesel cars aren’t going anywhere at least for the next 2-3 years; you can always buy one if you wish to.
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