WASHINGTON (July 3, 2013) — A new study has found that diesel vehicles saved owners $2,000 to $6,000 in ownership costs during a three- to five-year period when compared with similar gasoline vehicles.
The data in the report — "Total Cost of Ownership: A Gas vs. Diesel Comparison" — was compiled by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute for Robert Bosch L.L.C. The results were released at the recent 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," the study said. "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."
Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, said the "new findings that clean diesel vehicles are a more cost-effective investment for car owners reinforces what auto analysts and other comparative studies have determined in recent years. 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 study's findings also will be helpful to car buyers as they research their next vehicle purchase, Mr. Schaeffer continued. "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 increased 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."
Highlights from the diesel-gasoline comparisons include:
• Total cost of ownership: In the three-year timeframe 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 timeframe.
• Fuel efficiency: All of the diesel vehicles had better miles per gallon than the gasoline versions, with the diesels having between 8- to 44-percent higher miles per gallon.
• Fuel costs: All of the diesel vehicles had lower fuel costs than all 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 timeframe.
• Depreciation: Eleven of the 12 diesel vehicles held their value better than comparable gas vehicles over the three-year timeframe, with eight vehicles showing double-digit-percentage savings ranging from 17 percent up to 46 percent.
• Nine of the 10 diesel vehicles hold their value better than comparable gas vehicles over the five-year timeframe, with five vehicles showing double-digit-percentage savings ranging from 10 percent up to 39 percent.
The report analyzed the TCO for clean diesel vehicles and compared their TCO to their gas vehicle counterparts. The study developed three and five year cost estimates of depreciation by modeling used vehicle auction data and fuel costs by modeling government data. The study also combined these estimates with three- and five-year estimates for repairs, fees and taxes, insurance and maintenance from an outside data source.
The Diesel Technology Forum is a non-profit national organization dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of diesel engines, fuel and technology. More information is available on its website.