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Which Fuel To Use: Diesel or Petrol?
A car’s type of fuel is one of the most basic factors that you must consider before purchasing a car. This lies with the fact that different types of gas have varying price ranges and effects on the machine of your car. When you use the wrong type of gas for your car in an effort to save money, you not only lose gas mileage – which undercuts the point of saving money – but also allows residue to build up in your engine, damaging it and costing you more money than you thought you could save.
The gas you are using may also be causing your engine to knock, which can rob your engine of power and destroy it quickly or over time. Spontaneous detonation may also occur in worse cases. And while gasoline may not be the only case for engine knocking or spontaneous detonation, it still remains as a factor, which is why it is important to take into consideration the type of gas that your car uses.
The two most common choices for engine in terms of what gas it requires are petrol and diesel, and both have different things that they offer – from ownership cost to maintenance and performance. Both choices have their pros and cons that anyone considering to buy a car should take into consideration before purchasing the car model or variant that they are eyeing. Choosing the right car with the right engine ensures that the owner gets the most out of how they need the car to function for them.
To learn more about the difference between petrol and diesel engines, check out this infographic from Rippah AU.
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Petrol or Diesel?
WHICH IS BETTER?
After you have conducted your own research, you might already know that the type of fuel that a car uses is one of the basic factors you should consider before purchasing a car. Both choices have its pros and cons that you should weigh wisely before choosing the right car model or variant that suits your needs. From ownership to cost maintenance and performance, we evaluate the different aspects of each engine to see which one will do justice for your money.
In terms of performance, both engines can deliver optimal power with the proper configuration. Historically, petrol engines tend to reach their maximum power at a higher number of revolutions compared to diesel engines.
This power allows petrol-powered cars to be more responsive even at very low revs, making it easier to pull away from rest at stop lights or at a T-junction.
However, Diesel engines nowadays are keeping up with the pace, with most having a significant advantage in their torque output, making it better at carrying heavy loads.
This means that you’ll benefit from more towing and hauling capability with a diesel engine. There are some diesel engines that are equipped with common-rail direct injection and turbocharging.
These engines offer more power and torque compared to petrol engines, which makes the driving easier and more comfortable.
2. Fuel Efficiency
Most of the diesel engines today are more fuel efficient than petrol engines by over 30% to 40%.
This means that if a tank of petrol can last for 700 kilometers stretch, then you’ll be going more than 1000 kilometers on a tank of diesel.
However, there have been significant changes and innovations with the petrol engines in the past recent years to make it more fuel efficient.
Innovations such as direct injection, variable valve timing, and turbocharging have allowed modern petrol engines to deliver more power with minimal fuel consumption.
Between the two engines, petrol engines have more refined quality in terms of the noise and vibration.
Modern petrol engines still utilise spark plugs to ignite the fuel inside the chamber, though newer ones have direct fuel injectors with them (like diesel engines) which injects fuels directly into the chamber, plus a turbo and intercooler.
So, we can say that petrol engines are catching up on the technology front.
The diesel engines we have today are very different than what we had decades ago.
Most of the modern diesel engines today are equipped with hi-tech piezo-electric injectors and fuel rails that operate at ultra-high pressure – 2000 atmospheres, and turbochargers.
All of which delivers high-precision fuel control, which results in cleaner combustion, quieter engine, incredible throttle response.
4. Cost of Fuel
The price of diesel fuel in Australia is generally much higher than petrol. For starters, diesel is a by-product of petroleum fuel oil, just like jet fuel, kerosene, and heating oil.
Also, almost 40% of diesel fuels in Australia are imported from Singapore. So, if the demand for jet fuel rapidly increases in Singaporean refineries, they will produce less diesel fuel, increasing the prices.
However, due to its fuel efficiency, diesel engines are more economical in the long run.
Diesel engines require fewer visits to the fuel station than petrol engines, which doesn’t only save you money but time and effort as well.
5. Acquisition Cost
Diesel-powered cars usually cost by 10% to 15% more than petrol vehicles, partly because of economies of scale.
Most car manufacturers build more petrol engines, which reduces the per-unit cost of each petrol engine. Diesel engiens also come with other complex components such as turbocharger and piezo-electric injectors, so there’s an extra cost implied.
Most of the diesel engines are also paired with an AWD drive train, while most of the petrol are packaged with 2WD.
For instance, the 2.0 petrol version of Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson are all front-wheel drive, while their diesel counterparts are AWD, thus creating a large price gap between the vehicles.
6. Maintenance Cost
Generally speaking, it costs more to maintain a diesel compared to petrol engines- but not that much. The oil filters used in diesel engines are just the same as petrol.
Every other maintenance cost usually remains the same regardless of the fuel type – brakes, air filter, differential oil, cooling system, battery, greasing points, etc.
According to Mazda Australia, the total cost for the first five Mazda CX-5 Akera petrol services will be $1,561, while the first five services on Akera diesel will be $1,717.
Assuming that the servicing takes place over three years, it only costs less than 20 cents a day to service a diesel nowadays.
7. Repair Cost
It is when you fail to maintain your diesel engine that puts it in the less desirable end of the spectrum. Repairing a diesel-powered card is much more expensive compared to petrol vehicles.
Mainly because of its complexity and additional performance components.
Diesel particle filters, which gets clogged up when not maintained, are also expensive to replace, and it is both impractical and illegal to remove them.
8. Resale Value
Because diesel engines are more rugged and are designed to withstand the rigors of high compression, it lasts longer than petrol engines, thus holding much of its value over time.
Although the upfront price is much higher on diesel-power cars, the perception that diesels are worth more, plus its fuel efficiency, allows it to have a much higher resale value in the market compared to petrol engines.
In conclusion, both engines have their strong and weak points. For the most part, choosing a diesel engine makes more sense nowadays due to its fuel efficiency and lower fuel cost.
The only downsides to modern diesel engines are its high sensitivity to poor diesel fuel quality and expensive repair cost, by which a typical petrol powered card would probably only cost a third.
At the end of the day, only you can decide whether a diesel or petrol car is right for you, hand choosing the right one is a big step to help you save money in the long run.
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