New Study Finds Diesel Vehicles Better Value for Higher Cost

Mar 10, 2011

A new Carnegie Mellon University study released at the Washington Auto Show, reveals that diesel-engine vehicles are a better value compared to vehicles with gasoline engines due to lower operating costs and higher resale value over time.  

"It's been generally known that diesel vehicles typically post lower operating costs because of their increased fuel economy," said Lester Lave, University Professor and Higgins Professor of Economics at CMU's Tepper School of Business. "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, titled "Comparing Resale Prices and Total Cost of Ownership for Gasoline, Hybrid and Diesel Passenger Cars and Trucks," also found that the price differential between a clean diesel passenger car and a traditional PFI gasoline-powered vehicle could be recouped in less than 18 months of driving. In addition, clean diesels deliver on average of 30 percent better fuel economy than their gasoline counterparts. All of this translates into savings for the consumer, Lave said.

Lave pointed out that Bosch, which manufactures clean diesel fuel injection systems for passenger cars, light-duty trucks and commercial vehicles, underwrote the cost of the study because they wanted real-world independent research conducted in this area.  

"This study is unique because it compares actual auction prices of alternative power trains such as clean diesel and (PFI) gasoline engines," said Lars Ullrich, director of marketing for Bosch Diesel Systems North America. "As past studies only highlighted projected costs from resale values, this research provides a more robust set of data to support the conclusion that clean diesel vehicles provide a comparatively lower cost of ownership.”

Does increased efficiency justify paying more for a vehicle in the short term for your fleet?

Photo courtesy of Jeff Turner and re-used under the Creative Commons license.