Different Types of Fuels Used in Vehicles in India
You may have heard about gasoline, LPG, CNG and more. These are the types of fuels that help you continue your long drive. Fuelling your vehicle with the correct oil ensures your vehicle's optimum performance. If you want to learn more about which fuel is a perfect match for your car, this article will answer all your queries.
Top 6 Types of Vehicle Fuels Used in India
Petrol, also known as gasoline, is one of the most common fuel types for a vehicle. It is transparent and is derived via the fractional distillation of petroleum. It is used in spark-ignited combustion engines and is available in multiple variants.
Let's take a look at its pros and cons –
- It is cost-effective.
- Provides optimum acceleration.
- Petrol stations are easily available.
- Suitable for all types of ranges.
- This fuel emits a high level of toxic gases.
- It offers lower mileage than diesel.
Ideal for: 4-wheeler private cars, bikes
Price per litre: It is important to remember that the cost of gasoline differs in each state. Here is the table comprising the respective petrol prices in different Indian cities –
Petrol Price Per Litre as on 6 Sept, 2021
Despite the current scenario, diesel consumption witnessed recovery with a 27% rise. This speaks volumes about the popularity of this fuel. Like petrol, diesel is also obtained from the fractional distillation of petroleum oil that is specially tailored for a diesel engine.
- Offers value-for-money and is efficient for long travels.
- Features high torque and delivers excellent performance on express lane.
- It offers enhanced acceleration.
- Diesel engines require high maintenance and hence incur whopping expenses.
- A diesel engine does not cater to every make and model.
Ideal for: Trucks, trains, public buses
Price per litre: Like petrol, diesel prices differ in each state. Here is a table for your reference –
Diesel Price Per Litre as on 6 Sept, 2021
3. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG)
CNG or Compressed Natural Gas comprises compressed methane less than 1% by volume. It is one of the emerging fuel types for a car in urban areas with the primary objective to reduce pollution.
- It is free from lead and sulphur and is popularly known as "Green Fuel."
- Features a high auto-ignition temperature (540 degrees Celsius) and limited flammability range of 5%-15%. It implies that 5%-15% of CNG concentration in the air will not lead to accidental burning, thus, ensuring safety.
- It is safe to use as it is stored in certified cylinders, which are leak-proof. Since it is a light gas, it disperses and mixes with the air if it leaks.
- Limited availability of CNG stations, unlike petrol or diesel stations.
- It occupies at least 1/3rd of the vehicle's boot space. This makes it difficult for a sedan or other car owners to load the luggage in the cargo space.
- A CNG's car performance deteriorates after 3 to 4 years of usage. The engine's optimum performance also decreases by 10% after regular use for one year.
- It hampers the functionality of fuel injectors, making them dry quickly. It deteriorates engine performance in the long run.
- A CNG-powered vehicle has a lower fuel economy compared to other vehicles.
- The cost of conversion from conventional petrol or diesel-powered cars to CNG is high.
Ideal for: It is widely used in passenger cars. Models like Audi A5 2,0 TFSI CNG and BMW 3 Series (E36) can run on CNG. Besides, vans, buses, trucks and more are suitable to run on CNG.
Price per litre: The following table illustrates the costs of CNG in 5 metropolitan cities in India –
CNG Price Per Litre as on 6 Sept, 2021
The mixture of diesel with other oils produces bio-diesel. Converting vegetable oil, animal fat, and waste cooking oil into bio-diesel is known as transesterification. Since it constitutes natural ingredients, it is one of the best alternatives for biofuel.
- Environment-friendly and emits 11% lower carbon monoxide compared to other fuels.
- It features lower flashpoints and burns at a higher temperature. The storage of this fuel is simple as there is a lesser risk of sudden ignition.
- It is a non-toxic and renewable source of energy and, hence, ensures sustainability.
- Helps increase the lifespan of an engine. It acts as a solvent to remove the dirt deposited in the engine and restore its optimum performance, preventing frequent wear and tear.
- Vehicle-owners can use it in diesel engines with or without any modifications.
- This fuel reduces dependency on foreign countries for oil imports.
- It is not suitable for use in lower temperatures as it is susceptible to gelling. Gelling is a process in which a fuel's paraffin component solidifies and forms a gel-like part in colder temperatures.
- Although bio-diesel’s advantages include removing dirt from the engine, this dirt gets clogged into the gasket, leading to damage. It also damages an engine's rubber houses.
- The fuel efficiency of a bio-diesel powered vehicle is lower than others. It reduces fuel efficiency by 1%-2%.
- It is more expensive than petroleum.
- Bio-diesel is made from animal fat, vegetable oil, and the like. It affects food supply and increases the prices of the given products, leading to food shortages.
- It has regional restrictions as specific crop productions are not possible in every region.
Ideal for: Diesel-powered vehicles are fit to run on bio-diesel. Specifically manufactured trucks, vans, and SUVs are also approved to run on bio-diesel.
Price per litre: Here are the costs of bio-diesel in each metropolitan city –
Bio-diesel Price Per Litre as on 6 Sept, 2021
5. Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG)
LPG or Liquid Petroleum Gas is obtained from crude oil and natural gas. It constitutes hydrocarbon gases such as propane and butane.
- The high octane content in Auto LPG ensures a vehicle's optimum performance.
- LPG removes the carbon and acids from the engine, extending its longevity.
- It saves up to 40% of running costs compared to petrol and is safe from spillage.
- It emits 75% less carbon monoxide than petroleum and 60% less carbon dioxide than diesel.
- The conversion cost of LPG is affordable compared to CNG.
- It features anti-knocking characteristics, facilitating a higher octane number.
- It is heavier than air. Hence, in case of leakage, it creates a suffocating environment.
- It has 10% lower fuel efficiency than petrol.
- Storage of LPG requires heavy cylinders, which ultimately increases the weight of the engine.
Ideal for: It is suitable for light-duty bio-fuel vehicles. Specific brands like Chevrolet and Maruti Suzuki manufacture LPG-powered cars in India.
Price per litre: Take a look at the costs of Auto LPG in each metropolitan city –
LPG Price Per Litre as on 6 Sept, 2021
6. Ethanol or Methanol
It is alcohol with a high octane number. It is a renewable and biodegradable energy source and does not emit a significant amount of carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide. Presently, India uses up to 10% of ethanol-blended fuel. The Indian government is planning to increase ethanol production as petrol and diesel prices reach new heights every day.
- It features low flammability and is safe to use.
- This fuel can be manufactured from natural gas and coal. It also increases the dependence on domestic fuels.
- It offers low mileage and, hence, offers poor fuel economy.
- This fuel is corrosive and damages the vehicle in the long run.
Ideal for: It is primarily used in racing cars. Also, it is mixed with gasoline in smaller quantities for use in existing on-road vehicles.
Price per litre: The Indian Government raised the price of ethanol based on C-heavy molasses to ₹45.69 per litre. The cost of B-heavy molasses remained at ₹57.61 per litre as of 2020.
Here is a table summarising all the types of fuels available in India along with their prices. The average price is sorted based on that of the national capital, New Delhi, for a clear understanding.
List of Different Types of Fuels Used in Vehicles
Best for Vehicles
Average Price Per Litre in Delhi (6th Sept-2021)
4 wheeler cars, bikes
Trucks, trains, public buses
Passenger cars, buses, vans, trucks
Diesel-powered vehicles, and specially manufactured vans, trucks and SUVs
Liquid Petroleum Gas
Light-duty bio-fuel vehicles
Ethanol or Methanol
Used in racing cars. It is blended with gasoline for use in existing on-road vehicles
₹45.69 (C-heavy molasses) ₹57.61 (B-heavy molasses)
An electric motor operates an electric vehicle instead of fuel-generating internal combustion. This is a significant replacement of fuel-powered automobiles to address the problems of increasing pollution, global warming, etc.
As of 2021, the Delhi government will install 500 electric charging points across 100 locations under the EV policy. Not only Delhi, but the Union government announced rebates on taxes two years ago for individuals buying electric vehicles.
- It offers higher efficiency, up to 62%, compared to fuel-powered automobiles.
- Zero emissions and reduces pollution.
- It provides optimum driving performance along with low maintenance costs.
- While keeping in mind the Indian population’s dependency on fuel, electric vehicles will save 10% of CO2 emissions compared to petrol.
Take a look at the following disadvantages:
- It covers a limited travel distance.
- Electric vehicles take approximately 30 minutes to get fully charged.
- It is comparatively more expensive than fuel-powered vehicles.
Ideal for: It is usually ideal for areas where an adequate amount of charging stations are available. India plans to set 15,000 charging stations for electric vehicles.
Price: The price of electric cars range from 13.99 lakh to ₹2.04 crores. At the same time, The cost to charge your EV at stations ranges from ₹200 to ₹400.