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Double Whammy

The last couple of months have been very difficult for everybody and especially so for the automotive industry. The second wave of COVID-19 has hit us with a vengeance with recorded daily cases in excess of 400,000. God alone knows what the actual number is.

The lucky ones have taken a salary cut and still have a job, whereas most people have lost their means of livelihood. To make matters worse, the cost of fuel keeps going up every day and this, in turn, pushes the price of essential commodities due to the increase in the cost of transport. The price of petrol has crossed the Rs 100 mark and diesel the Rs 90 mark. Incidentally, the only time the fuel prices did not go up was when we had the state elections.

Once again, the focus while buying a car will be on fuel efficiency and this will bring diesel powerplants back into the picture, for the cost of running a petrol engine car is out of reach for most people. Even with a price difference of only Rs 10, the extra fuel efficiency of diesel will go a long way so far as savings go.

With irregular power supply and power generated by burning coal or running the charging stations on diesel generators, this does not make a strong case for electric vehicles (EV). The best option at the moment looks like diesel plug-in hybrids that can return 75 to 80 kilometres to a litre. This will take one back nearly 40 to 50 years when one could travel between the then Bombay and Poona on Rs 150 to Rs 200 of fuel. Today we are paying the highest taxes on fuel in the whole world.


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