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Old 19th July 2011, 14:35   #16
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

Petrol cars are going nowhere. Imagine F1 races where the car keeps changing gears everytime it runs out of turbo. You can bring in any amount of turbos, twin, superchargers et all, but cannot match the sheer revving power and smoothness of petrol engines

Petrol cars will be here until the last drop of crude is gone.
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Old 19th July 2011, 14:41   #17
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

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Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
I don't believe in this 'will drive more if I have a diesel car' theory! While buying any car a buyer will have a rough idea of how much running he is going to do in a month.
I agree that before buying we will have a rough idea of how much we are going to drive, but what i have seen among my friends is that, those who have got petrol cars, do not usually drive much - they usually drive less kilometers than they estimated and those who have diesels drive much more than they estimated before buying the car.

I personally know guys who keeps the car at home all the time and commute by bike only because they feel putting petrol is costlier and many of those friends do regret the decision of buying petrol.

Words of one of my friends who got a petrol i20 " In last one year, my car have traveled less than half of what my Sumo did in few months. Now I think I should have paid a little more and got diesel "

Many of the people are not really good money managers and they will adjust the monthly budget if they have to pay 1~2k EMI extra, but give them that extra cash and the amount will find many uses. At the end of the day, for many of us ordinary folks, the pinch when we pay for the petrol is much greater than the pinch we feel when we pay a hefty sum of 50K~1L when we buy the car.

I think the economically minded customer will find diesel more and more attractive as time goes by, but those enthusiasts who loves their petrol steeds will always choose petrol. After all, life is not always about money

Last edited by theexperthand : 19th July 2011 at 14:44.
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Old 19th July 2011, 15:14   #18
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

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I agree that before buying we will have a rough idea of how much we are going to drive, but what i have seen among my friends is that, those who have got petrol cars, do not usually drive much - they usually drive less kilometers than they estimated and those who have diesels drive much more than they estimated before buying the car.

I personally know guys who keeps the car at home all the time and commute by bike only because they feel putting petrol is costlier and many of those friends do regret the decision of buying petrol.

Words of one of my friends who got a petrol i20 " In last one year, my car have traveled less than half of what my Sumo did in few months. Now I think I should have paid a little more and got diesel "

Many of the people are not really good money managers and they will adjust the monthly budget if they have to pay 1~2k EMI extra, but give them that extra cash and the amount will find many uses. At the end of the day, for many of us ordinary folks, the pinch when we pay for the petrol is much greater than the pinch we feel when we pay a hefty sum of 50K~1L when we buy the car.

I think the economically minded customer will find diesel more and more attractive as time goes by, but those enthusiasts who loves their petrol steeds will always choose petrol. After all, life is not always about money
Agreed running cost of diesels are lower Vs. petrol (in our country) and as you say, would not pinch people as much as filling petrol. Diesel prices are not low these days and the price difference between petrol and diesel is going to stay pretty much constant if not reduce. If petrol is going to touch Rs. 100/ L, then diesel will touch 80/ L. Petrol touches 140/L, diesel Rs. 120/L. Then will it not pinch? Then add the pinch of extra capital cost of the diesel car. Petrol and diesel are both fossil fuels and neither one is going to die while the other will thrive since they are both derived from the same source.
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Old 19th July 2011, 15:25   #19
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

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Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
Agreed running cost of diesels are lower Vs. petrol (in our country) and as you say, would not pinch people as much as filling petrol. Diesel prices are not low these days and the price difference between petrol and diesel is going to stay pretty much constant if not reduce. If petrol is going to touch Rs. 100/ L, then diesel will touch 80/ L. Petrol touches 140/L, diesel Rs. 120/L. Then will it not pinch? Then add the pinch of extra capital cost of the diesel car. Petrol and diesel are both fossil fuels and neither one is going to die while the other will thrive since they are both derived from the same source.
Totally agree that both are fossil fuels and one cannot stay when the other dies.
Please correct me if I am wrong, I think a diesel engine gives better mileage. With the new technologies, diesel engines are not really costly to maintain also. Assume you get 12 km for 1 ltr of petrol @ 80 rs\ltr and 13 km for 1 ltr of diesel @ 50 rs\ltr - given these two choices, many of the common men will opt diesel, even if they needs to spend more initially. The ordinary thought process is like, for a diesel, i need to spend only once, but if I buy a petrol, I need to spent more every time I fill up.

What I am telling is, Diesel will pinch - for many people, it might pinch more than petrol, but lot of people will still prefer to take one big pinch while buying the car so that they will not feel countless small pinches when they fill up petrol every time.
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Old 19th July 2011, 15:36   #20
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

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Originally Posted by theexperthand View Post
What I am telling is, Diesel will pinch - for many people, it might pinch more than petrol, but lot of people will still prefer to take one big pinch while buying the car so that they will not feel countless small pinches when they fill up petrol every time.
Its just a question of doing the maths then . Fixed cost vs. variable cost. Car makers are cashing in on this exact mindset of the people. THats why you find them being very rigid on pricing of diesel cars and offering generous discounts on the petrol cars. Not bad for for those 'enthusiasts who loves their petrol steeds'

Last edited by Santoshbhat : 19th July 2011 at 15:37.
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Old 19th July 2011, 15:43   #21
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

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Originally Posted by theexperthand View Post
What I am telling is, Diesel will pinch - for many people, it might pinch more than petrol, but lot of people will still prefer to take one big pinch while buying the car so that they will not feel countless small pinches when they fill up petrol every time.
+1 Completely agree with this statement. Most people prefer to take one big pinch during buying, instead of taking countless small pinches while refueling the car.

The trend is reflecting even in small cars. Beat has already launched the smallest diesel engine and a diesel powered Nano is also on the cards. IIRC a diesel i10 is also in the pipeline.

The day these diesel options are made available to the customer in the small car segment, Maruti Alto will suffer the same fate as Honda City is facing today.

Rohan
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Old 19th July 2011, 15:53   #22
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

This argument would be valid only in India with the absurd difference in petrol and diesel price. At current prices, petrol makes no sense unless one chooses to commute by bike.
In almost every other country, both fuels are priced more or less on par. in UK, I believe diesel (to be used in on road vehicles; off road vehicles is a different story there too) is actually more expensive than unleaded petrol. In these countries, notably Europe, there is still an approx 50:50 ratio between petrol and diesel cars. USA is probably the only one where SUV's still guzzle gasoline.

The government needs more than a slap in the face for this to change. Maybe a couple of bankrupt Oil PSUs' will prompt a policy change.
But alas, with politics, vote bank, coalitions, easy money from fuel import, and one hand paying the other policies, that day does not seem too close.

A thought: if diesel is priced on par with petrol, lets say Rs 4-5 bucks cheaper to the liter, how many people would actually spend that 1-1.5 lakh extra and buy a diesel car, even when it is more fuel efficient?
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Old 19th July 2011, 15:57   #23
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

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Originally Posted by theexperthand View Post

What I am telling is, Diesel will pinch - for many people, it might pinch more than petrol, but lot of people will still prefer to take one big pinch while buying the car so that they will not feel countless small pinches when they fill up petrol every time.
Completely agree with you. That is exactly the same reason why I bought a diesel hatchback about 2 years ago.

Somebody was mentioning about higher cost of maintenance for diesel engines. That is stone age dude. The modern diesel engines are on par with petrols as far as maintenance is concerned. Moreover, it doesnot have to be run (or started) everyday as with older generation diesels. Given the current scenario of the fuel pricing, a diesel engine would definitely make sense.
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Old 19th July 2011, 16:04   #24
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
I don't believe in this 'will drive more if I have a diesel car' theory! While buying any car a buyer will have a rough idea of how much running he is going to do in a month. We all know that for the same model, the diesel version is costlier. If you are going to save on running cost with a diesel car then you are paying more for the capital cost of the car and also for the higher cost of consumables and spares. As pointed out, until the break even point, total amount spent by the petrol car owner and the diesel car owner is the same.
Can't agree to this viewpoint fully. At least some of us will drive a Diesel car way more than a petrol car. Our weekly/monthly travel requirements aren't fixed. If I have access to a Diesel car, I will obviously drive it more.

I take my diesel car for every small errand that I need to do, and for every long trip I need to make. The same doesn't go with my Petrol car. It will not be taken for a pleasure drive during the weekend, an errand to the neighborhood market and so on. Note that I have access to one car at a time only. (I have to switch cars with my father)

From your post I see that some for people, the travel requirements are so planned and fixed, and if that is very limited, buying a petrol car makes absolute sense. But for those middle class folks who love driving, diesel car is a boon.

After buying a diesel car, I don't think anyone will look forward with so much attention on hitting the 'break-even' point. What's the point anyway? Drive more happily after one breaks even? Diesel car owners will be happy driving from day 1!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Satya79 View Post
This argument would be valid only in India with the absurd difference in petrol and diesel price. At current prices, petrol makes no sense unless one chooses to commute by bike.
In almost every other country, both fuels are priced more or less on par.
It is not only the price you should consider. The FE of a diesel is more than petrol for the same power offering. So, even at the same price, your diesel car is capable of breaking even one day!

Last edited by clevermax : 19th July 2011 at 16:14.
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Old 19th July 2011, 16:12   #25
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

I am sure no Govt. will try to disturb their vote banks first, but at the same time giving subsidies doesn't work too. Due to logistics and the difficult process of implementing a subsidized essential commodity it will always create that gap where in the actual meaning of subsidy is lost. The poorer sections and the under privileged will still get a subsidy but at the same time the rich and the super rich will still enjoy the subsidized product at its subsidized cost be it LPG or Diesel.

Take for example getting LPG subsidy of 400 Rs. on a cylinder and at the same time spending 400 rs to buy a pizza for a one time dinner which most of us can afford to do, how ironical isn't it. But even we are citizens so we too are entitled for any subsidy. In fact we get it, no denying that.
Same happens in Diesel too, this Govt. or no Govt. can implement a dual policy for subsidizing without those loop holes and cracks in the policies.
But Govt. can't neglect the poor nor they want to loose elections too.

When in future if there is only demand for diesel cars and no petrol cars then will there be something like subsidized diesel, I don't think so, sooner or later unable to sustain more and more need for diesel and global crude price any matured economy would have to forego that subsidy model long back.

So petrol cars are here to stay and diesel cars too.
Petrol is already deregulated and Diesel to will follow suit but when is a wait and watch game until then the buyer will still buy a car using Diesel vs Petrol economics.
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Old 19th July 2011, 16:31   #26
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

I agree that the data of a short period of 6 months is not sufficient, but I daresay that if we compare the data of the past 1 year or even 2 years, we might get the same graphical results.

Petroleum reserves are declining at a fast rate, there's no doubting it. Back sometime in 2008 I read somewhere that it might last till 2040, with conservative use, and not after that. Diesel, in its crude form, might be available for the next 5-6 years after that, but definitely petrol will be gone.

As far as synthetic petrol's effectiveness is concerned, we all know how effective it can be.

And there are no news of technologies around to produce petrol en-masse from somewhere. No laboratory breakthroughs, nothing.

I was having a discussion with my Dad on this topic and he told me this - "Beta, most governments around the world have urged auto companies to concentrate on diesels and diesel hybrids a lot more, and to try to phase out petrol cars by 2025. But many auto companies/ developing-underdeveloped countries replied that they would be unable to do this within the period specified due to different reasons, and needed more time. Those particular companies/countries have been given time till 2030."

I couldn't ask for the source of his info but he is an avid radio listener and is always regularly tuned to Deutsche Welle (Radio Germany) and BBC World Service, so there's no reason to disbelieve him.

Putting this aside, just observe the behaviour of most car companies within the past one-two years. The range of discounts and offers available for the petrol versions is notable, which rises to a staggering amount in the festival seasons and the financial year-end. These offers have seen a significant rise within the past few years. No car company is spared from this.

And, it can also be observed that diesel technology is seeing big improvements in the past few years. The refinement in diesel-powered vehicles has improved considerably, and so is the ride quality. As regards maintenance costs, that too has come down, but not as much as to give petrol lovers sleepless nights, yet.

And like evolution, every process is a step-by-step procedure. The trends we see around us do point to the fact that the demand for petrol power is on the decline (however hard the petrol lovers, like me, try to deny it). The entire trend is shifting towards diesel, slowly but surely. People are willing to wait 6 months for a diesel car, rather than pick up a Petrol equivalent in 5-10 days, in some cases even immediately. That says something in itself, doesn't it?

Nothing beats petrol power. And all of us know it. Unfortunately, the passionate petrol-lovers (like me) are slowly receding in number with every diesel vehicle that hits the roads. Even die-hard petrol enthusiasts are going with the times and shifting to the TDIs and VDIs.

It's only a matter of time before the people who matter start to take notice, and take more concrete steps to speed up this process.

Let's face it - the future (not the immediate near-future, but the future) will see diesel hybrid technology.

My case in example - I am on the lookout for a new car, and after a debate on the above topic, I finalised petrol. Then came the decision for the car, and it's the Jazz. Even though I know that things might get tough 15-16 years (maybe even 20 years) from now, diesel can't beat the absolute refinement petrol gives you. Amongst other things.

So petrol it was, even though my Dad protested my decision (and still does it whenever he gets a chance).

What thought process made this decision for me - "at least till my generation is around, petrol shouldn't be a problem, even if the prices go upto 140-150/ltr. I will be 60 years old in 2036, and retired from active service in that year. My career will be over, and that will bring an end to my car-driving days as well. Let the generation after me worry about choices in fuels. As long as I can afford it, let me stick to petrol, however tough the coming days will be."

A small side note - if Honda launches a diesel Jazz within the next 4-5 years, I will be first in line.
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Old 19th July 2011, 16:42   #27
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

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If I have access to a Diesel car, I will obviously drive it more.
The diesel car owner has already has swallowed his bitter pill at the time of purchase. Hence when he has the oppurtunity to take advantage of lower running cost, he doesn't hesitate to take it. Paying extra money pinches everybody, be it for extra cost of petrol or the extra cost of diesel car. All I am saying is that the extra price paid at the time of purchase is often forgotten.

When I bought a petrol car, I told my family that fuel is free for me for the next two years.
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Old 19th July 2011, 17:38   #28
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

I don't think so. Both will co exist and seriously I think government will revisit the subsidy part sooner than later due to harsh reality of global fuel prices. I personally am a fan of Diesel as having driven last 1.5 lakhs km in one. The power of diesel engine with advent of Common rail direction injection is spectacular. But today I drove honda jazz, it is not quite inside but outside also. Diesel cannot match that. Inside quitness may be achieved but outside, is pretty tough for diesel engines. And almost all supercars are naturally petrol driven.
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Old 19th July 2011, 19:36   #29
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

Diesel technology in the western world is very much going big time into R&D . For a taste Volvo will pump in 3 billion USD into R&D whilst the Ashok Leyland India had allegedly stated that Leyland will give Volvo a tough competetion. Now the entire worth of Leyland machinery will probably not exceed the 3 billion USD will it? These are the state of affairs.
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Old 19th July 2011, 20:16   #30
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Default Re: Is this the beginning of the end of the petrol car?

Frankly, I do not see this diesel subsidy going away any time soon.

There are two aspects to consider here. One is the yawning gap between diesel and petrol pricing. People say this gap will ameliorate over a period of time. May be it will. However, the ground realities are far removed from it. Look at today's pricing. 10 years back the difference between a liter of petrol and diesel was approximately Rs. 15. People kept saying that gap between the prices of diesel and petrol will fill in. 5 years back this chasm actually grew wider and the difference was around 20 and 22 bucks. The clamor for removal of subsidy went higher for a while. If I remember correctly, that was when the diesel was increased by Rs.3 whereas petrol went up only by Rs.2 or something like that. People said that 'its happening'. See today. The difference is actually now of 30 bucks!!! The gap has only increased over the years.

The second point to consider here is more subtle and nuanced. Suppose this massive subsidy were to vanish tomorrow. How do you expect this sudden surplus to be used? Do we expect a tremendously cash surplus budget? Do we think that all of a sudden our infrastructure will start getting extra dollops of push to make us finally compete with other nations of our size, "stature" and pretentions? I do not think so. All that money will only find its way to millions of other populist measures in different forms. Even if someone wanted to divert the money for something worthwhile the political pressures from all around will ensure that the money is squeezed out to the last drop by the politicians and babus for other ill advised ventures. If anything, the government of the day will loose from every direction. Not only will they fail to put the money to any worthwhile usage (yes they will make a lot of noise initially but nothing will actually come out of that finally) but will also loose the goodwill of the farm sector, transportation, traders, households and pretty much all that one can think of.

Does it sound like any government is ever going to commit such a political harakiri? I do not think this is going to happen any time soon. They will keep tinkering with the prices, yes, but nothing more will come out of it. Afterall, they do not stand to gain anything other than hundreds of newer headaches if they were to stop subisidizing the diesel.

Last edited by Zappo : 19th July 2011 at 20:19.
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