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What's The Difference Between Petrol and Diesel Cars?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Last Updated On :
  • 17/08/2023

When you are learning to drive a car, you seldom think about your trainer's car engine, whether it is petrol or diesel. But, when planning to purchase a new car, the most crucial consideration you land upon is choosing between a petrol or a diesel car. The differences between petrol and diesel engines might not be the sole reason to purchase a particular car, but it is equally important to choose the right car for you. A car's performance and pricing depend on the type of engine and fuel it functions on. Your four-wheeler insurance premium also depends mainly on the type of car you purchase.

Therefore, you must understand the differences between petrol and diesel cars and opt for the best based on your requirements and financial affordability. Yet, if you have a dilemma of petrol vs diesel car – which is the best for you?', the article below is just for you. It will also help you to decide the correct variant.

After you decide on the car choice, it is equally vital to purchase comprehensive car insurance to add a layer of protection to maintain your car to the right standards.

Read on to know the difference between diesel and petrol cars.

Factors That Distinguish Petrol And Diesel Cars

Firstly, let us understand what petrol and diesel cars are. A vehicle having a petrol engine (internal combustion with spark ignition) and running on petrol is called a petrol car. On the contrary, a vehicle that uses a compression-ignited injection system instead of spark-ignition and runs on diesel are diesel cars.

Apart from this main factor, a few other factors will help us understand the difference between diesel and petrol cars. Let us have a glance at petrol vs diesel car differentiating factors.

Parameter Diesel Car Petrol Car
Car price Diesel cars are more expensive than petrol variants. They are more affordable than diesel cars.
Service and maintenance cost Diesel car maintenance cost vs petrol is higher. The service or maintenance cost of petrol cars is lower.
Mileage Diesel cars provide increased mileage as they have higher compression. Hence, enabling them to utilise fuel to the maximum level. Petrol cars offer lower mileage.
Power Diesel engines generate increased torque with better pulling power that takes time for an initial pickup but accelerates well while driving in the long run. Petrol engines produce low torque, giving better initial pickup while lags when shifting to lower gears. Therefore, it has an excellent initial acceleration that provides linear power delivery.
Fuel Price Diesel prices are lower than petrol. The current diesel price in Mumbai is ₹94.27 per litre. (as of 12th July 2023) Petrol is more costly than diesel. The petrol price in Mumbai is ₹106.31 per litre. (as of 12th July 2023)
Resale Value The resale price is high. The resale price is low
Refinement Diesel variants produce excessive noises. The noise, vibration, and harshness levels in petrol cars are significantly lower than in diesel cars.
Eco-friendliness Diesel cars produce more pollutant particles, hence causing more harm to the environment Petrol engines produce comparatively lesser pollutant particulate matter making them less harmful to the environment
Car Life Diesel cars last longer, and their value reduces comparatively slower than the petrol variants. Petrol cars have a relatively shorter life. Petrol cars have a maximum life of 15 years.
Motor Insurance Four-wheeler insurance cost and the corresponding premium rate are higher in diesel cars as the cost of diesel cars is high. The insurance for a car with a petrol engine typically comes at a lesser price than diesel cars.

Diesel Engine Vs Petrol Engine

One major distinguishing factor between diesel and petrol cars is the engine. Let us look at some of the differences between petrol and diesel engines.

Differentiating Factors Diesel Engine Petrol Engine
Working These engines work on the Diesel cycle Works on the Otto cycle
Air-fuel mixture The fuel is mixed with air inside the cylinder Air and fuel are mixed in a carburettor
Ignition Ignition is attained with the help of hot, compressed air. Fuel is ignited with an electric spark.
Compression ratio High compression ratio Comparatively low compression ratio
Power production High power production Lower power production
Fuel type These engines work with fuels like diesel that have low volatilities Highly volatile fuels like petrol are used in these internal combustion engines
Fuel consumption and efficiency Relatively low fuel consumption leading to higher efficiency High fuel consumption leads to relatively lower efficiency
Initial acceleration Diesel engines’ initial acceleration is slower than petrol engines. Petrol engines provide better initial acceleration and are more responsive than diesel engines.
Life span Have larger life span Petrol engines have a lesser life span due to the fuel property that quickly destroys and wears out the engine components
Maintenance costs High initial and maintenance costs Comparatively low initial cost and maintenance cost

Example of Petrol Vs Diesel Car

Let us consider an example of Tata Tiago NRG (2018-2020) to understand the differences.

Tata Tiago NRG diesel car vs petrol car price

Tata Tiago NRG (Diesel) Tata Tiago NRG (Petrol)
Car price (avg. ex-showroom price) ₹6.92 Lakh ₹5.98 Lakh

The price difference of approximately ₹1 lakh between the petrol and diesel variants of the Tata Tiago NRG shows the diesel variant requires a higher initial cost. However, one must note the price.

**Tata Tiago NRG diesel car vs petrol car mileage **

Tata Tiago NRG (Diesel) Tata Tiago NRG (Petrol)
Claimed mileage (kmpl) 27.28 kmpl 23.84 kmpl

Mileage is one of the most prominent factors that help you decide between a petrol vs diesel car based on your requirements and usage conditions. Diesel cars return more kilometres per litre than petrol cars based on specific engine making and technology.

Tata Tiago NRG diesel car vs petrol car power

Tata Tiago NRG (Diesel) Tata Tiago NRG (Petrol)
Peak Power (bhp@rpm) 69 bhp @ 4000 rpm 84 bhp @ 6000 rpm

The petrol variant of Tata Tiago NRG produces more power than the diesel counterpart thus delivering better performance.

Tata Tiago NRG diesel car vs petrol car life

As mentioned earlier, diesel cars have a relatively longer life span. However, as per regulations by NGT in 2015, no diesel engine cars above the age of 10 years will be allowed to run on Delhi NCR roads. Thus, putting a life cap of 10 years on diesel fuel cars vis a vis petrol cars can be used for up to 15 years.

Importance of Buying Motor Insurance for Petrol and Diesel Cars

While most of us spend considerable time selecting the right vehicle, only a little effort is put into purchasing a four-wheeler insurance policy. Valid and adequate car insurance has several benefits, from abiding by the law and rules to safeguarding yourself.

Regardless of the differences between diesel and petrol cars, the importance of motor insurance cannot be ignored. Here's a look at some reasons you should buy it.

  • It is a mandatory requirement.

  • It safeguards you from legal penalties.

  • It offers comprehensive protection.

  • It helps you gain a cashless claim facility.

  • With the online feature available, most insurance providers offer online services, thus enabling you to purchase the right car policy online in the comfort of being at your workplace or home. Consider buying four-wheeler insurance from a reputed brand like Tata AIG.

At Tata AIG, we provide a seamless four-wheeler insurance experience by providing the best customer service with the help of claim experts across India. In addition, we offer a vast network of garages throughout the country to ensure cashless claims for quick repair processes. You can also use the quick reimbursement procedure to claim if you want to get the repairs done in a preferred garage of your choice.

Moreover, with our advanced online systems, you can compare insurance plans, calculate car insurance premiums or initiate car insurance renewal online quickly and seamlessly.


Petrol cars and diesel cars have their pros and cons. While diesel cars are expensive based on their increased power output and efficient mileage, petrol cars give a smooth driving experience. On the other hand, diesel cars' prices, insurance premiums, maintenance, and service cost are slightly higher than petrol cars. Petrol is more expensive than diesel making it difficult for ordinary people to use their petrol cars regularly.

Either way, purchasing insurance for your car should be of utmost importance, considering the increasing number of accidents in the country.


Which car is better: petrol or diesel?

  • The decision on the type of car to purchase should be based on your average travel and frequency. If you are a frequent long-distance traveller, diesel cars are ideal; else, you can opt for petrol cars.

What is the disadvantage of diesel cars?

  • Although diesel cars have many advantages, there are a few disadvantages as well that you must consider before purchasing.

They are more expensive than petrol cars.

They may only be available for a few car models, especially smaller cars.

Maintenance cost is higher.

They produce less power and are slightly more sluggish.

Diesel cars produce more pollutant particles, causing more harm to the environment.

Which is stronger, petrol or diesel?

  • In technical terms, diesel fuel has more energy by volume than petrol but is not easily ignited. Thus, it makes petrol cars better in initial acceleration and more powerful than diesel cars due to the higher RPM.

Which car provides more fuel efficiency?

  • When you compare petrol cars and diesel cars in terms of fuel efficiency, diesel cars typically deliver better than petrol cars.

Why have diesel cars gained popularity recently?

  • Diesel has, over the years, gained more popularity even though they are more expensive than petrol cars. The main reason is, they are more fuel-efficient, meaning, you get more miles covered in a gallon. Also, diesel prices are lower than petrol prices, attracting consumers even more.
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