India has a large volume of population, most of whom have a car or bike. The daily commute of these population masses is a huge contributor to pollution and destruction of nature on a daily basis. To counter this, the government signed an agreement in 2017 to cut the carbon footprint by 35-55%, which led to the introduction of BS4 or Bharat Stage 4. The Bharat Stage Emission Standards are emission regulations from the government of India to regulate the amount of pollutants from motor vehicles. It was first introduced in 2000.
However, at the time of BS4, NOx (Nitrogen oxides) emissions of petrol and PM (Particulate matter) emissions of diesel engines, were not reduced as expected, which led to the new launch of the BS6 on April 1, 2020. This BS6 will be pushed to automobiles rolling out in 2020.
Benefits of BS6:
Bharat Stage 6 was instituted by the government of India to control the pollution from internal combustion engine of vehicles. The BS6 norms will see the NOx emissions come down by 25% approximately in case of petrol engines and 68% in the case of diesel engines. The PM emissions for diesel engines will come down by 80%.
Impact of the cost:
The BS6 engines will see a small rise in fuel prices. This is due to the additional costs factories have to incur to upgrade equipment and refinement processes for BS6 norms. Because industry specialists believe the higher costs of upgrading diesel vehicles will make them pricier, but not too pricey. Where Petrol car costs area unit are expected to vary between Rs.10,000-20,000 more, and diesel cars to about Rs 80,000-1,00,000.
While the auto industry in India has hit a low, the Bharat Stage Emission Standards is a good effort by the government to control the rising levels of air pollution across the country.
Have you ever been unlucky enough to have your car filled in with the wrong fuel by a careless attendant? Were you careless enough to do get your diesel tank loaded with petrol in full volume?
Or are you simply curious as to what happens if you put diesel into a petrol car? Well, read on to find out what really happens and maybe if you’re lucky, you’ll have a chance to undo your crimes.
Diesel In A Petrol Engine
With so many people switching to petrol cars as of late, it might so have happened that one petrol pump worker, while absent-mindedly talking on the phone, put diesel in petrol car by mistake. Well, undoing what’s done is a hard task, but all’s not lost.
What Happens In The Engine
First up, it should be understood that petrol and diesel are different kinds of fuel, with two different types of engines circling it. In engineering jargon, these are classified as SI (spark ignition) and CI (compression ignition) engines. For the sake of brevity, we’ll not delve deeper into what’s what but roughly, SI engines are to be paired with petrol and CI for diesel.
When diesel is poured into a petrol engine, well, nothing happens. Diesel is a fuel too thick even to start burning in an SI (spark ignition) engine. The only thing exploding will be your brain because of your anger. However, things are not so safe the other way around.
If you’d happened to catch that frustration monger while in action, take it easy. If your tank contains less than two litres of diesel, simply top the rest up with petrol. Your car should run fine, though the mileage might take a beating. The worst thing that can happen is minor damage to your engine.
More than two litres and the whole process gets extremely infuriating. But all’s not lost. There are companies dedicated to such cases where people put diesel in petrol car by mistake.
Now, if you’ve mistakenly started the engine, or realised that the engine’s been running on diesel for quite a while now, stop immediately. Just because diesel isn’t combustible in petrol engine doesn’t mean you are out of danger. Diesel is still a highly flammable liquid, capable of bursting into flames any second.
Knowing When You’re On Diesel
If you were oblivious to the fact that you had diesel in your tank, these signs would tell you whether you’re on diesel/a diesel-petrol mixture in your tank.
The engine doesn’t start at all. This happens when your tank is filled with diesel for more than half of it.
Your exhaust pipe exudes thick black smoke. Your car is mostly running on a petrol-diesel mixture, which is extremely detrimental to your engine.
Engine starts misfiring. This happens while trying to start your car with the wrong fuel in it. Loud knocking sound is an indicator that your engine is misfiring.
Petrol In A Diesel Engine
A thousand times worse than having diesel in your petrol car is doing it the other way around. Let me give it to you plain and straight – having petrol in a diesel engine as the majority of your fuel will cause an explosion.
Petrol is a lighter in nature and is readily combustible; small amounts of heat generated in a CI engine will simply ignite the fuel. The explosion produced is big enough to dismantle your engine, or simply blow up your whole car to bits.
The incompatibility of engines does not matter here. The intrinsic nature of a CI engine is to have heat omnipresent within the engine; heat from one drive will be a component in the combustion process of the next drive. This is why older cars take some time to heat the engine up before taking off.
Once in contact with the slightest amount of heat, petrol goes berserk, so make sure you keep your eyes wide open to prevent disasters of such explosive nature.
I cannot stress this point enough-DO NOT START YOUR CAR AT ANY COST.
Just in case the magnitude of your mistake wasn’t so colossal, your car might run. A running car is no assurance that your car won’t explode into pieces later on. If you’re already driving, stop immediately.
Now, if you’re of restless and a dare devilish nature, a small amount of petrol in a diesel car might just be offset with topping it up with diesel, though again, we’re not promising you won’t lose your car. We certainly recommend decontamination for even the slightest levels of petrol in your engine.
When the quantity of petrol is noticeably high, that is, more than five litres of petrol, even God’s grace won’t help you in your will drive it. Manually push your car to the side and wait for the fuel recovery companies to take over.
Knowing When You’re On Petrol
If you’ve ever filled petrol in a diesel car by mistake and drove it, chances are you’re already dead. In the off-chance that you’re alive, these on-the-road tips might be useful.
When there’s petrol in your engine, your vehicle will become considerably difficult to start. Make sure to take extra precautions so that you don’t attribute this failure to start to something else.
A car running on fuel with petrol in a conspicuous quantity will deliver thick black smoke through the exhaust pipe. This is because your car is running on a mixture of diesel and petrol, with diesel in the majority. This is not just bad for your engine; it might ruin It to the point of no return.
Engine starts making loud noises under load. If you’re a diesel vehicle owner, treat these three signs with the highest amount of cautionary actions they deserve. Your life is too important to let lethargy make you ignore/delay in reacting to these threats.
Apart from few critical factors, there are some points which should be taken care of while buying a car. After all, it’s a big investment for a middle-class family in a country like ours and the more they know about it, the better the choice would be.
Choosing a car model itself is a big dilemma, and then there comes even a bigger question of Diesel vs Petrol car variants of the same model of the car. Pheww! There is a lot of stuff to read and analyze, where experts talk about the cost of both Petrol and Diesel variants of the same model, their mileage difference, their maintenance issues, cost of both types of fuel and a lot more.
Resale Value of Diesel vs Petrol Cars
People tend to opt for the diesel versions of cars as the resale value of these are on an average about 10 % more than the same model Petrol car. This proves to be a substantial argument in the favour of buying Diesel version models of cars.
But what if after a few years, the difference in the resale price could not be more than fifty thousand bucks. The driving comfort of the few years a customer can have with the petrol version of the car is good enough to make up for this loss in resale value.
Also, it should be considered that with the dropping oil prices and our government not aiding fuel subsidies, the gap between petrol and diesel prices in India are going to fade away very soon. In many developed countries, diesel costs more than petrol.
Power of a Petrol Car vs. that of a Diesel Car
For a common man in India, the real test of a car’s power is directly proportional to the people-carrying capacity of a car.
Mostly, petrol cars are considered to have good initial pick-up which is only termed as the better response. As soon as you press the accelerator pedal, the car rushes ahead, but it doesn’t extend the pulling power after certain revolutions. This provides better horsepower, but it also results in a lower torque.
Contrastingly, a diesel car is fitted with a turbocharger. It has a larger amount of pulling power which is because of its elevated torque causing high energy push. But this happens when you pass certain revolutions on the tachometer. This means, there is a large quantity of initial lag (generally known as turbo lag) that occurs. It means despite pressing the accelerator to its maximum capacity, the car will take the time to respond. This produces more torque and lesser power.
Ultimately it all boils down to your choice and demand. If you are more of an enthusiast and expect a fast response from your car, then a petrol car makes more sense. Otherwise, if the thrust of sudden power sends chills down your spine, despite the initial lag, then a diesel car would please you.
Environment Cannot Be Ignored
When we are talking about Petrol vs. Diesel versions of cars and everything is taken into consideration, how can the pollution caused by them go unnoticed?
In the above-mentioned order, the crude oil has reached most refined stage. Diesel as a fuel is not as refined as petrol and hence is cheaper than petrol. The less the refinement of the fuel the more it will pollute. Hence it is said that diesel engines are more polluting than petrol engines.
Petrol engines these days have catalytic converters (cat con) that convert pollutants such as CO to lesser detrimental CO2. When compared to petrol cars without cat cons, they have the much lower emission of contaminants.
Diesel exhausts are also considered deadly because they contain higher NOx concentrations and other fine particles known as soot which is not there in general with petrol engines. These are more toxic to humans as they can enter the human body and affect them directly by getting deposited in the lungs, mouth, etc.
Although this doesn’t mean, petrol engines are just more saint. Lack of fine particles and the use of exhaust reduction widely in use since many years have made the perception that diesel engines are the devil which is not the case with the new modern fuel efficient and less polluting engines which are almost at par with their petrol counterparts.
Engine Life of Diesel vs Petrol Cars
One of the biggest debates when it comes to Petrol vs. Diesel cars is the engine life. Believing the experts, diesel engines have shorter life spans because they work on compression type ignition system which has higher compression ratio as compared to petrol engines. If we go ahead with the recommendations of automobile engineers, a well-serviced diesel car can run up to 300,000 kilometres. Trucks, buses, and minivans run thousands of kilometres every day demonstrating the longer life span of diesel vehicles.
Pros of Diesel Car
Diesel engines are more efficient as they consume 15−20% lesser fuel. These cars have a slightly higher resale value. The cost of diesel as a fuel is lower as compared to petrol.
Lesser polluted environment owing to lower CO2 emissions.
Diesel cars offer more low-speed torque, so they have better overtaking power and towing ability.
Cons of Diesel Car
Diesel cars usually cost more than their petrol counterparts.
Despite its lower CO2 emissions, diesel fuel produces tiny particles that can cause diseases like asthma.
Diesel engines are slightly noisier, but this is not the case with newer versions.
Pros of Petrol Car
Petrol cars are slightly cheaper to buy.
Petrol engines make lesser noise as they are more refined.
Cons of Petrol Car
Petrol cars depreciate more because their engines are less competent and consume more fuel than diesel versions.
Petrol engines pollute more than diesel cars.
Both diesel and petrol engines are equally popular in the market as both of them have their set of advantages. Ultimately, what all matters is the buyer’s expectations and preferences which reflect in his decision. Anyhow, this enigma of Petrol vs. Diesel cars doesn’t seem to end in near future.
Petrol cars are no longer the only available variant in the personal buyer segment. And diesel run cars are also no longer relegated to the taxi segment only. People are giving both fuels equal consideration before choosing a car to their liking. Let us look more into this Petrol Vs Diesel debate!
The Car Pool of Choices :
Except for a few in the small car segment like Eon, Alto, Kwid etc., all the other cars come in two fuel engine variants; petrol and diesel.
Diesel engines are now customized to fit in with the car they will be running. They are available in different types and can accommodate divergent fuel capacity. Their competitive pricing and other redeemed factors are encroaching on the petrol run ground!
Petrol Vs Diesel Engine :
The major negative up till now with diesel engines were its high Noise Vibration and Harshness (NVH) levels.
With refinement in the engine run by diesel by the car manufacturers, that clatter has gone down considerably. The sound is only a minimal on the outside and comparable to a petrol model on the inside. That too is smoothened out by the manufacturers in the more high-end models.
Several sites measure and display the car’s NVH levels. You should look into those and your personal bias towards vibrations and noise before making a decision to buy a particular make, model, and its variant. Although, the life of a diesel engine is comparatively shorter than its petrol version.
Comparing Performance of Petrol Vs Diesel :
Horsepower is another critical component to be considered when deciding on which car to purchase.
In several countries, the power is determined by the number of people a car can comfortably carry! But there is more science to it than that!!
A low to medium range, affordable petrol cars, clearly display the singular power of its engine. It means the car responds well during the first pick-up.Accelerating on lower gears makes the car rush ahead but not with much power beyond certain Revolutions Per Minute or RPM. This makes the engine great in terms of Horsepower or PS but it loses on Nm or Torque.
Diesel run engines; on the other hand, have turbochargers, which increases the car’s Horsepower (PS) considerably. The Torque (Nm) shows impressive figures too. All these can be achieved only after the engine’s tachometer leaps beyond particular RPMS.
The frustration comes in at the beginning because the vehicle will face a turbo or initial delay. Even flooring the pedal won’t make the car respond to your command to gain power and speed up! This leads to an increased Nm and low PS. Car’s response time and your thirst for power should tell you which engine you will choose between petrol and diesel.
Competing Mileage by Petrol Vs Diesel Car :
There are no two ways about the fact that a diesel car outshines a petrol car in terms of mileage.
Diesel engines don’t require spark plugs and therefore, can provide a much higher comparable compression. This makes the diesel engines more fuel efficient in terms of usage. Long-term fuel efficiency offsets the higher on-road purchasing cost of the car.
Petrol Vs Diesel Pricing :
The cost of diesel is less than petrol, an exception being Goa. Because of limited deregulation of the diesel prices in the year 2013, the price difference between the two fuels is noticeable and is going to continue to be so.When calculated in terms of savings in comparison with each other, diesel wins hands down.
Diesel costs less, and its engine uses it efficiently. Hence, there is a considerable time gap between each tank fillings! All these can be monetized for a better understanding!
Let us understand all the concepts by taking a live example of a Maruti Swift.
On-road cost of a Maruti Swift VXi: Rs.603936/-
On-road cost of a Maruti Swift VDi: Rs.740329/-
The price difference between the two is Rs.136393/-
Therefore, approximately 2,231 liters of petrol can be filled with the price difference between the two variants.
Suppose the average mileage given by the car is 15 Km/l, the car can be driven for 33,465 Km.If you cover an average distance of 55-65 Kilometers every day, that means it will take you approximately 558 days to cover the total distance and utilize the entire petrol!
In conclusion, a petrol version of Maruti Swift will run for one and a half years more for the extra amount you paid for your diesel variant!
The length of the daily run should decide the purchase of the fuel variant. Petrol run cars are ideal if the everyday commute is not much. Otherwise, opt for diesel cars.
Car Maintenance and Servicing :
Buying a car is a one-time thing, but its service and maintenance are a lifelong expenditure.
On comparison, over a similar period of time, service cost per km, as well as the cost of parts that need servicing, is quite expensive for a diesel engine.Changing parts due to wear and tear or damage, and other repairs are extra. Spare parts for a diesel engine cost more than its petrol counterpart.
Diesel cars resell at 10% above the market resale value of its petrol variant. The percentage difference comes down to the age of the cars increase.
Also, with the new regulations regarding the age of diesel run cars being road worthy, changes in oil pricing, alterations in fuel subsidies, pollution level, and more, diesel cars do seem less worthy.Also, diesel costs more than petrol in a lot of countries.
Ultimately the choice rests on the need and requirements of an individual. What he wants from his car is the eventual deciding factor.
You can compare the on-road cost of the variants, the mileage, the power, the cost of maintaining the car, fuel charges, the noise levels and be abreast with all the latest regulations in the fuel pricing and transportation. Only then make an informed decision!