A Comparative Study Of Diesel vs. Petrol (Rank Princess – SEO)

Based on our analysis it is well established that diesel cars cost you less in the long run. Be it in Chennai where a litre of petrol will cost you 60 bucks or be it Mumbai where it is 65 bucks, diesel cars are the way to go. But if you are looking to get a car for 3-4 years then petrol is the ideal choice.

Let us take a look at the other aspects of diesel and petrol like its chemical composition, emission values, the performance of petrol variant against diesel variant and so on.

Chemical Composition

It is a well-known fact that diesel cars are more powerful and fuel efficient compared to petrol cars. But what is the reason behind this? Let’s find out.

Both petrol and diesel are derived from crude oil by a process called distillation. The hydrocarbon and carbon atom chains are removed in this process. Distillation takes place in a refinery. The gradual increase of temperature vaporises the unwanted atoms and the product left is petrol.

Petrol and diesel are hydrocarbons too. While petrol is comprised of 9 carbon atoms diesel is composed of 14 carbon atom chains. Petrol has traces of nitrogen and is more refined than diesel.

The 14 carbon chain composition of diesel makes diesel more powerful and fuel efficient than petrol. The energy per unit volume is more for diesel than petrol. This gives a better mileage in diesel variant cars. 

Since diesel is composed of the longer carbon chain, there is more content of other atoms like sulfur and nitrogen in it. Petrol, on the other hand, is more uniform.

Pollutants Comparison

Both petrol and diesel, when burnt, produce pollution. Since petrol has less quantity of nitrogen and more of carbon, the byproduct of the combustion process is carbon mono oxide and NOx. The CO further reacts with O2 and gives carbon dioxide. This is what comes out of the exhaust tube in the cars. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and has a pernicious effect on the environment. 

Diesel, on the other hand, produces a high amount of NOX and particulate matter rich in sulfur compounds. This causes major health risks.

Diesel emits 15% less carbon dioxide than petrol. But at the same time, it also produces four times more nitrogen-based pollutants and 22 times more sulfur particulate. These particulates are very harmful to the human heart, lungs, and the brain.

Climate Friendly?

As long as you burn fuel, there will be harmful emissions which will affect our health and cause problems for the environment as well. Since the major pollutant from petrol cars is CO2, petrol cars contribute majorly to global warming.

The main pollutant from diesel car is nitrogen and sulfur based compounds. Both these pollutants adversely affect humans. It causes respiratory problems. The sulfate compounds like sulfur dioxide cause acid rain which ruins the quality of buildings.

The reason why Taj Mahal has a yellowish plague is acid rain.

Technological Advancements In India, Europe, America, and Japan

Over the years many countries across Europe and even India have invested a considerable amount of money in R&D on how to reduce the pollution levels caused by diesel cars.

The amount of pollution caused by diesel vehicles 10 or 15 years ago was way more than the present numbers. While European diesel vehicles produce 10ppm, Indian diesel vehicles emit as much as 50ppm.

Of course, the European standards are higher than India.

Certainly, it is more difficult to control the pollution emissions from diesel variants than petrol variants. But one can debate that diesel does not cause global warming which is the hot environmental concern in our times.

Japan, on the other hand, has a different viewpoint on it. While Europe is making technological advancements in a diesel engine, Japan is developing highly efficient petrol engine.

They have been able to reduce the pollution emission from petrol variants effectively. The urban air pollution problem is greatly cut down with such innovations.

After the signing of Kyoto Protocol in 1997 most well off countries were obliged to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by an average of 8% over the span of 15 years. This was when America and Japan started researching into hybrid and electric cars. At this time European market had a different perspective.

The dominant car- makers in Germany like Volkswagen, BMW, and Daimler encouraged the consumption of diesel. According to these guys using diesel variant cars was a better and more effective way of reducing the carbon emission levels in the environment.

Britan, Germany, France, and Italy cajoled the car makers and the people to buy diesel.

Production of variant diesel engines shot up in Europe especially after the 1998 EC Acea agreement with all European car makers. And they decided to slash carbon emissions by as much as 25% over the course of 10 years.

Diesel rose to be the primary choice in the late 90s. The market share of diesel in the UK made a jump from under 10% in 1995 to over 50% in 2012. Today Britain has the largest number of diesel based cars in the world.

Interesting Fact About Diesel And Petrol

Did you know that the petrol car takes 10km to warm up on a chilly day, whereas the diesel car takes only 5 km to warm up on a cold day? This means that diesel variants produce less emission on a cold start than petrol. More reasons for why you should go for diesel based cars than petrol based.


It’s quite clear that diesel has proved to be a better fuel than petrol. It effectively improves the urban air quality. The lower carbon emission from diesel means reduced global warming and subsequently, reduced climate change as well.

In India, diesel is way cheaper than petrol, and in a span of 10 years you would have saved as much as Rs. 1,30,000 ( this is just a rough figure, the actual figure will depend on the kilometres run by the car).

Check out our previous post to find out how much money you would save if you get yourself a diesel car.

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