It’s absurd, but it’s true. A Mahindra Scorpio is cheaper to run than a Maruti Wagon-R, even though the latter gives more mileage. This is due to the fuel price difference currently and is based on years of ownership experience with the two cars.
Here’s why the Maruti Wagon-R works out more expensive on daily running costs, but is only slightly cheaper on overall ownership cost over the years. Both cars run more or less an equal distance each month – a distance of about 1,800 km per month, with a daily office-school-home commute of about 70 kms each day.
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Now in the past couple of years, the price differential between petrol and diesel has risen sharply. In New Delhi, diesel is still at Rs. 40.91 a litre, while petrol is at Rs. 71.16 a litre. The Wagon-R gives a mileage of 13.5 kmpl in the city on petrol, while the Scorpio churns out 11 kmpl on diesel.
This gives the Wagon-R a monthly fuel bill of Rs. 9,500, while the Scorpio chalks up only Rs. 6,700 a month at current diesel prices. That’s a saving of Rs. 2,800 a month on the Scorpio’s fuel bill over the Wagon-R.
Now let’s add in maintenance costs annually and see how the two stack up. The Wagon-R needs service once every 10,000 km, with an average service bill of Rs. 3,000. That’s about two services in a year. Add this to the Wagon-R’s fuel cost, and you get a total running cost of Rs. 1.20 lakh each year.
For the Scorpio, service is due every 5,000 km, with oil changes needed at every 10,000 km (normally recommended at 15,000 km). That adds up to four services in a year, with an average service cost of Rs. 4,000 (on the higher side). Add that to the fuel cost and you get a total running cost of Rs. 96,000 a year.
The Wagon-R under discussion is a 2002 model LXi that cost Rs. 3.63 lakh on-road in 2002. The Mahindra Scorpio is a 2006 model DX CRDe 4WD that cost Rs. 9.38 lakh on-road in 2006. In 2006, the difference between petrol and diesel prices was only about Rs. 14 a litre. Overall, the Wagon-R and Scorpio’s running costs were roughly the same, with the Wagon-R working out as the cheaper option when total cost of transport is taken into account.
However, after petrol prices were decontrolled and have spiraled upward, the price difference has gone up to nearly Rs. 30 a litre. Just to put it in perspective, in 2006, diesel was Rs. 29 a litre, while petrol was Rs. 42 a litre in Delhi (approximately).
Then and now
In 2006, given the same running distance, it would have cost Rs. 5,600 a month for the Wagon-R and the Scorpio’s fuel bill would have been Rs. 4,750 a month – a difference of only Rs. 850 a month! But in today’s scenario that gap has gone up to Rs. 2,800 a month!
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