Because diesels are 20 to 40 percent more fuel efficient than gas cars, drivers save money with diesels even when diesel fuel prices are slightly higher than gas prices.
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Diesel vehicles saved owners between $2,000 to $6,000 in total ownership costs during a three-to-five-year period when compared to similar gasoline vehicles, according to data compiled by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
The University of Michigan study — Total Cost of Ownership: A Gas Versus Diesel Comparison — was conducted for Robert Bosch LLC and the results were released at the 2013 Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in Washington, D.C.
“Overall, the results of our analyses show that diesel vehicles provide owners with a TCO (total cost of ownership) that is less than that of the gas versions of the same vehicles,” according to the study. “The estimates of savings for three and five years of ownership vary from a low of $67 in three years to a high of $15,619 in five years, but most of the savings are in the $2,000 to $6,000 range, which also include the extra cost that is usually added to the diesel version of a vehicle.”
New Study Reinforces Benefits of Clean Diesel Vehicles
“These new findings — that clean diesel vehicles are a more cost-effective investment for car owners — reinforce what auto analysts and other comparative studies have determined in recent years,” said Allen Schaeffer, Executive Director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “The significant savings diesel owners experience compared to gas-car owners highlights another major reason why clean diesel vehicles sales will increase significantly throughout the U.S. in the coming years.
“Fuel efficiency has always been a major attraction of clean diesel vehicles. Because diesels are 20 to 40 more fuel efficient than gas cars, drivers save money with diesels even when diesel fuel prices are slightly higher than gas prices.
“The findings in this study will also be helpful to car buyers as they research their next vehicle purchase. This is an exciting time for diesel vehicles as the number of diesels is expected to more than double in the next two years. This will give drivers a broad selection of vehicles to fit their individual driving needs.
“In addition, as the U.S. moves to the increase fuel standards of 54.5 mpg by 2025, drivers will become more aware of the advantages diesels have over other vehicles in many important areas.”
Clean Diesels Have Better Fuel Efficiency and Lower Depreciation
Highlights from the diesel-gasoline comparisons include:
Total cost of ownership: In the three-year time frame comparison, diesel vehicles in the mass-market passenger car segment are estimated to save owners significant money, with the VW Jetta owner saving $3,128, the VW Jetta Sportwagen owner saving $3,389, and the VW Golf owner saving an estimated $5,013.
In the luxury segment, all the diesel versions of the Mercedes-Benz E Class ($4,175), Mercedes-Benz GL Class ($13,514), Mercedes-Benz M Class ($3,063), Mercedes-Benz R Class ($5,951) and VW Touareg ($7,819) save owners money in the three-year time frame.
Fuel efficiency: All of the diesel vehicles had better miles per gallon than the gasoline versions, with the diesels experiencing between 8 and 44 percent higher miles per gallon.
Fuel costs: All of the diesel vehicles had lower fuel costs than the gas versions of comparable vehicles, with 11 of the 12 vehicles showing double-digit reductions in fuel costs, ranging from 10 to 29 percent.
Similar to the three-year comparisons, five-year estimated fuel costs for diesel vehicles are less than those of comparable gas versions. The percentage difference in terms of the reduction from gas to diesel costs decreased for some diesel-gas comparisons as diesel prices began to increase around the 2005 time frame.
Depreciation: Eleven of the 12 diesel vehicles held their value better than comparable gas vehicles over the three-year time frame, with eight vehicles showing double-digit percentage savings ranging from 17 percent to 46 percent.
Nine of the 10 diesel vehicles hold their value better than comparable gas vehicles over the five-year time frame, with five vehicles showing double-digit percentage savings ranging from 10 percent up to 39 percent.