Diesel vehicles save owners thousands

Jul 19, 2013
Diesel vehicles save owners thousands

Drivers of diesel vehicles can save thousands of dollars in total ownership costs compared to similar gasoline vehicles, according to a University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute 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," said UMTRI researcher Bruce Belzowski. "Though there are some exceptions, the overall direction of the results supports the idea that diesel vehicles compete well within the U.S. market.

"In particular, the idea that one can get a return on one's initial higher investment in a within three years is a very positive sign, considering that new vehicle buyers tend to keep their new vehicles for an average of three to five years."

Belzowski and UMTRI colleague Paul E. Green reviewed the role clean diesel vehicles play in the current vehicle fleet by analyzing the total cost of ownership of diesels and comparing it to that of their gas vehicle counterparts.

They developed three- and five-year cost estimates of depreciation by modeling used-vehicle auction data and fuel costs by modeling government data. They then combined these estimates with three- and five-year estimates for repairs, maintenance, insurance, fees and taxes from an outside data source.

Among their findings:

  • 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.
  • All of the diesel vehicles in all segments had better miles per gallon than the gasoline versions, with the diesels having 8 percent to 44 percent higher miles per gallon.
  • 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 percent to 29 percent.
  • Similar to the three-year comparisons, five-year estimated 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.
  • 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 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 to 39 percent.

Despite the advantages, Belzowski and Green say that diesels face continuing challenges to gain a larger foothold in the U.S.

"Some of these include the potential increase in the cost of diesel fuel compared to gasoline and the resulting need for diesels to proportionally improve their fuel economy to maintain a total-cost-of-ownership advantage," Belzowski said. "This is particularly important because both gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles must improve their fuel economy as required by Corporate Average Fuel Economy regulations for 2016 and 2025.

"As the market for diesels increases as more diesel-powered vehicles are introduced into the market—diesel variants of the Chevrolet Cruze, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ram 1500 and Ram ProMaster have recently been announced—the premium that diesels carry in the marketplace today may decrease through the sheer number of competing models. But the increased number of diesel models in the fleet may also bring down the price of diesel-powered vehicles, providing consumers with both price and fuel savings."

Explore further: Germany signs no-spy deal with BlackBerry

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

GM says diesel Chevrolet Cruze gets 46 mpg

Apr 18, 2013

General Motors Co. says the new diesel version of the Chevrolet Cruze gets 46 miles per gallon on the highway, making it more efficient than some hybrids.

Diesel cars gain traction slowly in US market

Jul 03, 2011

After many fits and starts, diesel cars are gaining traction in the US market, fueled largely by German carmakers including Volkswagen, which opened a plant in May in Tennessee.

Diesel fights for traction with U.S. buyers

Apr 17, 2009

Just like gasoline, diesel fuel has plummeted in price since last summer after reaching almost $5 a gallon. So now that diesel goes for about $2.25, sales of diesel-powered vehicles, which almost always get better mileage ...

Toyota to expand eco-friendly tie-up with BMW

Jun 25, 2012

Toyota Motor is expanding a tie-up with Germany's BMW on hybrid and fuel-cell vehicle technology as the global automakers push further into the "green" market, a report said on Monday.

Recommended for you

Audi to develop Tesla Model S all-electric rival

53 minutes ago

The Tesla Model S has a rival. Audi is to develop all-electric family car. This is to be a family car that will offer an all-electric range of 280 miles (450 kilometers), according to Auto Express, which ...

A green data center with an autonomous power supply

6 hours ago

A new data center in the United States is generating electricity for its servers entirely from renewable sources, converting biogas from a sewage treatment plant into electricity and water. Siemens implemented ...

After a data breach, it's consumers left holding the bag

7 hours ago

Shoppers have launched into the holiday buying season and retailers are looking forward to year-end sales that make up almost 20% of their annual receipts. But as you check out at a store or click "purchase" on your online shopping cart ...

Can we create an energy efficient Internet?

7 hours ago

With the number of Internet connected devices rapidly increasing, researchers from Melbourne are starting a new research program to reduce energy consumption of such devices.

Brain inspired data engineering

8 hours ago

What if next-generation ICT systems could be based on the brain's structure and its cognitive and adaptive processes? A groundbreaking paradigm of brain-inspired intelligent ICT architectures is being born.

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

PPihkala
not rated yet Jul 19, 2013
Half of car fleet in Europe is diesel based, so is it any wonder that US is also beginning to realize that one can drive cheaper with diesel than gasoline. Unfortunately this popularity has raised the price of diesel and same will happen in US.
dirk_bruere
not rated yet Jul 19, 2013
Is the pope Catholic? Are Americans stupid? I get 60mpg from my VW diesel Golf. Is it cheaper than a car that only get 35? Hmmm... hard one that.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.