Diesel Vehicles: More for Your Money?

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A gallon of diesel will cost you about 30 cents more than regular gas these days, but diesel may be cheaper in the long run.

It costs less to own a car that runs on diesel, according to a new study by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Although diesel-powered vehicles are more expensive than regular gas-powered ones, researchers found that the price difference could be recouped within 18 months because, among other things, diesel-powered cars average 30 percent more miles per gallon.

The study also found that…

  • “For passenger cars, the Volkswagen clean-diesel technology vehicles and the Toyota Prius retain a greater percentage of their initial purchase price than conventional gasoline vehicles.”
  • “For trucks, the diesel engines retain a higher percentage of their initial price than the gasoline options with the exception of the Ford F250 truck.”
  • “As cabin size increases, more trucks are installed with diesel engines. These larger diesel vehicles retain a greater portion of their total price, compared to their gasoline equivalents.”

Researchers compared several factors to reach their conclusion. “It’s been generally known that diesel vehicles typically post lower operating costs because of their increased fuel economy,” says CMU professor Lester Lave. “But that’s only one element of the equation. Our study considered a vehicle’s initial price and resale value along with other operating and maintenance costs.”

The study was admittedly funded by Bosch, “which manufactures clean diesel fuel injection systems.” According to the report, that’s “because they wanted real-world independent research,” but it’s always good to know where your money-saving advice comes from.

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