End of the road for diesel cars nears as emission norms get stricter

Moreover, diesel would cost nearly as petrol in coming years

The share of diesel variants in passenger cars is receding
The share of diesel variants in passenger cars is receding

Taking the plunge, India’s leading carmaker, Maruti Suzuki, decided to phase out diesel vehicles from 2020. About a fourth of its produce runs on diesel, lower than the industry average. This came in the backdrop of weakening auto sales, as Chart 1 shows, to which the company was a big contributor.  

Chart 2 shows that the share of diesel variants in passenger cars is receding. This explains the slowdown partially. In addition, the difference in on-road prices of petrol and diesel variants has remained substantial, evident in some popular models exhibited in Chart 3. But prices of the two fuels have converged significantly, shows Chart 4. 

Stricter pollution control norms, which will set in in 2020 (BS VI), would raise prices of cars further, while diesel would cost nearly as much as petrol in coming years. It seems that the Indian consumer is cognizant of this, and is adapting to this change, to some extent. Growth in petrol consumption is outpacing that in diesel after 2012, contrary to the trend in the period before 2012, Chart 5 reveals. 

Chart 6 shows that buses and heavy commercial vehicles use diesel the most. With CNG making fast inroads into public transport, diesel use is set to reduce further. The western region — led by Maharashtra and Gujarat — uses diesel for transport the most, as Chart 7 shows. 

In comparison to European countries, the share of diesel cars in India is low, shows Chart 8.

StatsGuru is a weekly feature. Every Monday, Business Standard guides you through the numbers you need to know to make sense of the headlines; Compiled by BS Research Bureau