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13 March 2016 · New Cars

Electric vs Petrol vs Diesel

Electric vs Petrol vs Diesel

There are more and more factors to consider when buying a new car, from the make, model, and body style, through to transmission, engine type, budget, and maintenance costs. These are the sort of decisions that consumers are familiar with, but there is one question that raises a lot of eyebrows from prospective buyers - fuel type - petrol, electric, or diesel-powered vehicle?

To help make it easy for those who have never given it much thought before, we have taken an in-depth look at the three choices.

  Diesel Cars Petrol Cars Electric Cars
Ideal for high-milage drives Ideal for short-to-medium-range drives Ideal for very short drives
Pricing Comes with about a $2000 premium over their petrol equivalent. Cheapest of the three(depending on model) The most expensive of the three
Fuel Cost* 142.1 cents per litre 136.5 cents per litre Depending on electricity source and pricing
Fuel Economy more kms per litre

Engines have the longest life time value, typically double that of petrol cars.
Relatively less kms per litre compared to diesel** Zero (not applicable)
Emissions Lower CO2 output Higher CO2 output*** Very low to zero
Performance Four-cylinder engines with large amounts of torque that have power Linear power and torque allows for smoother, faster driving 100 percent smooth driving, thanks to zero revs
Servicing Cheapest of the three (depending on model) Standard servicing costs The most expensive of the three
Insurance No differentiation. Varies by model. No differentiation. Varies by model. No differentiation. Varies by model.

*National Average Retail Prices for 2014 – 2015 from the from Australian Institute of Petroleum (

**Fuel economy can be improved when a car comes with a turbocharger that provides more power

***Except for cars with cylinder-on- demand systems

Questions to Answer Before Buying a Car

How will I use the car?

When choosing a new car, you have to consider your lifestyle, daily routine and intended use so that you can choose the most ideal car for you. For instance, if you cover hundreds of kilometres per week on a regular basis, you might want to go for a diesel car that covers more kilometres for every litre. Alternatively, if you live in the city and use the car for short trips, to and from work, an electric car might be more for you.

Are the costs worth it?

Another consideration before choosing an automobile is the long-term cost of owning a car. When you choose a diesel car, you will be paying larger amounts on fuel compared to its petrol counterpart. However, the expense can be off-set with higher mileage coverage. On the other hand, when you opt for an electric vehicle, the steep price tag can be recovered with a minimal operating cost especially if you have your own electricity source.

Remember to take into account the servicing and insurance costs as well. Talk to your dealer and learn more about these maintenance charges so you can compute your long-term savings.