If you are the kind of car buyer who is fixated with running costs, I’m sure the thought would have crossed your mind – is it better to buy a CNG car over a diesel car? Well, a couple of years ago, the advantages of diesel were far greater, but lately, diesel is a dirty word – ever since the National Green Tribunal ruled that diesel cars over 10 years old have to be banned in the Delhi-NCR region, and possibly extending this ban to other metros too.
Suddenly, there have been a bunch of queries from buyers looking at fuel efficient cars, but also looking for cars that they can keep for the long term with low running costs. And hence the renewed interest in cars that run on CNG – a fuel that the government too recommends for public transport and city-based commercial vehicles.
So is CNG a better choice than diesel? Let’s look at the pros and cons of CNG vs diesel, with an example as well. Let’s look at the Maruti Ertiga VXI / VDI trim, that comes with a choice of petrol, CNG or diesel variants. (See table)
[table id=1080 /]
Advantages of CNG fuelled Maruti Ertiga
* Savings of over Rs. 70,000 on ex-showroom price compared to a diesel Maruti Ertiga
* Lowest running cost per km of just Rs. 1.64 per kilometre on fuel costs alone at claimed mileage
* Maintenance cost of CNG fuelled Ertiga is at par with a diesel Ertiga (more frequent oil and filter changes)
* No significant power reduction (only 4 per cent less) compared to a diesel Maruti Ertiga when running on CNG
* Ability to switch to petrol (dual fuel) when higher power and performance is needed
* Cleaner emissions when running on CNG (more environment friendly)
* Can be kept for 15 years life span (if NGT ruling on 10-years lifespan for diesel vehicles is upheld)
* CNG plus petrol use can extend range up to 980 km
Advantages of diesel-fuelled Maruti Ertiga
* More luggage room compared to CNG powered Ertiga
* Better torque, allows for better load carrying ability
* Longer intervals between refuelling (CNG capacity is limited to 12 Kg of gas maximum)
* Longer range per tank of up to 900 km vs 260 km on CNG alone
* Lower risk of fire in a rear-end accident
Given the environment friendliness of CNG as a fuel compared to diesel, and the low running costs, buyers looking for a city vehicle (in metros that offer CNG fuel) will have a distinct advantage with CNG. However, there are some inconveniences, but the benefits far outweigh them. It’s a pity though that Maruti does not offer safety equipment (airbags / ABS) on the CNG models of its vehicles!