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July 16, 2015   |   Diesel Technology Forum

Policy Insider

Buy a diesel save $20,000 over 5 years?

While diesel comes with a slightly higher price tag, this study confirms that diesel buyers will definitely get more for their money.


Diesel car and truck buyers are finding that their vehicles are actually holding on to their value more than a comparable gasoline model. According to a new study, after five years of ownership, the total cost of owning some diesel models may actually be almost $20,000 less than a gasoline counterpart.

 New research released by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute examined the total cost of owning 16 gasoline vehicles and their comparable diesel models and found that the overwhelming majority of diesel cars, SUVs and pickups cost less to own than similar gasoline models.

"The estimates of savings for three and five years of ownership vary from a low of $929 in three years to a high of $19,505 in five years, but most of the savings are in the $2,000 to $7,000 range, which also include the extra cost that is usually added to the original price of the diesel version of a vehicle."

While diesel vehicles come with a higher price tag and slightly higher insurance and maintenance costs, they cost their owners less in fuel costs and command a much greater resale price in the used vehicle market even after five years of ownership. Diesel is known for its inherent efficiency, and this study clearly confirms the fuel savings benefits of the powertrain. Twelve of the 16 models in the study demonstrated double digit fuel economy savings relative to gasoline.

The study also confirms the durability and longevity of diesel. After five years of ownership, diesel cars, SUVs and pickups command a greater price in the secondary market anywhere from nine percent to 116 percent of the price of a comparable gasoline vehicle. The resale value premium is most pronounced in the pickup market where diesel commands a price anywhere from 72 percent to 81 percent above that of the comparable gasoline model.

While diesel comes with a slightly higher price tag, this study confirms that diesel buyers will definitely get more for their money.



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Ezra Finkin
Director, Policy
efinkin@dieselforum.org
301-668-7230

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