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Old 08-28-2014, 10:30 AM   #1
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Diesel vs. Gas Cost Comparison

I found this report comparing the total cost of ownership of diesel vs. gas vehicles. The study was performed by two research scientists at the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute. It was worth reading and I thought I would share it here.

http://www.dieselforum.org/files/dmfile/20130311_CD_UMTRITCOFinalReport_dd2017.pdf

A couple of observations: It appears that Ford's diesel stats were skewed because of the past problems with their 6.0L. Also, I am not sure why MSRP was used in the formula for calculating TCO. It seems like actual sales prices are needed to give an accurate estimate.

I'm not shopping for a new TV, just trying to keep informed when I eventually do replace my truck.
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:47 AM   #2
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I skimmed the report -- some interesting information.

However, for me, all I need to do was tow once with a diesel to realize it was a better choice for us. The rest of the report is just icing on the cake :-)

Seriously though, the report certainly does support a couple of things always mentioned on the forum...
- Diesel is higher up front cost, but retains considerably more value than the equivialnt gas vehicle
- Although routine maintaince is slightly higher in a diesel, primarily becasue of fluid capacity, its still doesn't add up to a point where diesel is more expensive to own when considering the total cost of ownership.
- Diesel does get better fuel economy over comparable gas engines, but its not an earth shattering improvement.
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:00 AM   #3
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In my research I've found upgrading to a diesel is about an 8K premium, and currently diesel is about $1/gal more expensive than gas. If you're not pulling a heavy load daily, I think it's pretty hard to justify the cost to gain 1-3 MPG.
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:04 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by clubhouse View Post
I skimmed the report -- some interesting information.

However, for me, all I need to do was tow once with a diesel to realize it was a better choice for us. The rest of the report is just icing on the cake :-)

Seriously though, the report certainly does support a couple of things always mentioned on the forum...
- Diesel is higher up front cost, but retains considerably more value than the equivialnt gas vehicle
- Although routine maintaince is slightly higher in a diesel, primarily becasue of fluid capacity, its still doesn't add up to a point where diesel is more expensive to own when considering the total cost of ownership.
- Diesel does get better fuel economy over comparable gas engines, but its not an earth shattering improvement.
You were able to sum up over 20 pages of gobbly goop in 3 or 4 short statements. Good Job!!

The study seems to have been written more as an enviromental thing than a true D vs G evaluation. Certainly in regard to an RV tow vehicle, the data was totally distorted by including Jetta's and Mercedes etc. Anyway as a tv there is really no comparison. In the end we don't tow w/ a D for a lower cost of ownership, but do it because it is a better over all tow vehicle and coming close to a break even in TCO is just icing on the cake.
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:16 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by KiltDog View Post
In my research I've found upgrading to a diesel is about an 8K premium, and currently diesel is about $1/gal more expensive than gas. If you're not pulling a heavy load daily, I think it's pretty hard to justify the cost to gain 1-3 MPG.
I get 4 mpg better towing with my diesel. 4 doesn't sound much better but when I was getting 9mpg and now I'm getting 13-14, it's a ~40-45% increase. Thats a big deal. About 100-115 more miles to the tank while towing. And I get about 30-40% better economy while not towing. Secondly, it will probably take me 10 years worth of driving to recoup the diesel upgrade cost. However, if you consider depreciated value, diesels are much better. They hold their price, and do so for a long time. My in laws just bought a 8 year old duramax with 60,000 miles for more than I sold my 3 year old same model truck with 25,000 for.

One huge misconception with new diesels is that the extra 8 grand is immediately depreciated. It will always be there on the value though. Some may not be able to justify a diesel, but once you've towed with one and understand the actual long term economics, diesel is the way to go. Diesel owners don't buy them because they are cheaper to run because they are pretty much neutral They buy them because towing is much better and they run forever.
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:38 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by KiltDog View Post
In my research I've found upgrading to a diesel is about an 8K premium, and currently diesel is about $1/gal more expensive than gas. If you're not pulling a heavy load daily, I think it's pretty hard to justify the cost to gain 1-3 MPG.
I understand every fuel market is different. Right now 8.28.14, per GasBuddy, in my little corner of California...

Independant Low Cost Station in town
#2 Diesel = $3.899
Reg 87 = $3.739

2 miles away

Name Brand Station off the highway
#2 Diesel = $4.099
Reg 87 = $3.899

Either example its not nearly $1 gallon difference.

UPDATE -- To confirm my numbers are at least relevant to CT and looked up Hartford in GasBuddy. Very Similar Numbers

Diesel - $3.899 - $4.299
Regular Unleaded - $3.699 - $3.899
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:43 AM   #7
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they run forever.
There may be quite a few people wanting a lot of cash back for repairs if this was true
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Old 08-28-2014, 11:45 AM   #8
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Interesting comparison between the Chevy and GMC twins. I would have thought they would be identical, but it must be a difference in MSRP that accounts for the biggest part of the difference.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:04 PM   #9
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It's hard to support practical logic when discussing vehicles. My guess is it's about 50/50 between practical and emotional logic that makes our decisions on trucks. You can't justify hub caps using logic, nor chrome of any kind or place.....forget leather or moon roofs.

Diesel looks better pulling a trailer and the driver feels better about it.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clubhouse View Post
I understand every fuel market is different. Right now 8.28.14, per GasBuddy, in my little corner of California...

Independant Low Cost Station in town
#2 Diesel = $3.899
Reg 87 = $3.739

2 miles away

Name Brand Station off the highway
#2 Diesel = $4.099
Reg 87 = $3.899

Either example its not nearly $1 gallon difference.

UPDATE -- To confirm my numbers are at least relevant to CT and looked up Hartford in GasBuddy. Very Similar Numbers

Diesel - $3.899 - $4.299
Regular Unleaded - $3.699 - $3.899
$

I filled up this morning for $3.55, deisel was $4.30. Not quite a dollar.
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