There are a lot of hidden benefits to owning a diesel vehicle, according to a recent study.
The managing director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute’s Automotive Futures group, Bruce Belzowski, compared thousands of vehicles sold at auctions with both gasoline and diesel variants, analyzing their total cost of ownership. The study found that when taking into account depreciation, fuel costs, repairs, maintenance, insurance, fees and taxes, owning a diesel can be anywhere from $2,000 to $7,000 cheaper over three to five years than its gasoline-powered counterpart.
This is despite the fact that diesel engines typically cost a premium when new, but resale values after three years have diesel passenger cars and SUVs being 30 to 50 percent higher. That number increases for medium-duty diesel pickup trucks, which are 60 to 70 percent higher. Resale values are even higher after five years of ownership.
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Fuel costs are also noticeably lower, with passenger car and SUV diesel owners paying 12 to 27 percent less and truck owners saving 4 to 8 percent over three- and five-year periods.
Diesel vehicles were more expensive when it came to the cost of insurance, repairs, maintenance, fees and taxes, but lower depreciation values and fuel costs resulted in a lower total cost of ownership.
“Though there are some exceptions to these positive results for some of the diesel versions of vehicles from a total-cost-of-ownership perspective, the overall direction of the results supports the idea that diesel vehicles are competitive within the U.S. market,” Belzowski said. “In particular, the idea that buyers can get a return on their initial higher investment in a diesel vehicle within three years is a very positive sign, considering new buyers tend to own their vehicles for an average of three-to-five years.”
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