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Study Finds Diesel Vehicles Have Lower Total Cost of Ownership

June 28, 2013

According to data compiled by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, a new study found that diesel vehicles saved owners $2,000 to $6,000 in total ownership costs -- during a three- to five-year period when compared to similar gasoline vehicles.  

Conducted for Robert Bosch LLC, the “Total Cost of Ownership: A Gas Versus Diesel Comparison” study results were released this week at the 2013 Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in Washington, D.C.

“Overall, the results of our analyses show that diesel vehicles provide owners with a TCO (total cost of ownership) that is less than that of the gas versions of the same vehicles,” according to the University of Michigan study. “The estimates of savings for three and five years of ownership vary from a low of $67 in three years to a high of $15,619 in five years, but most of the savings are in the $2,000 to $6,000 range, which also include the extra cost that is usually added to the diesel version of a vehicle.”  

According to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum: “These new findings that clean diesel vehicles are a more cost-effective investment for car owners reinforces what auto analysts and other comparative studies have determined in recent years.  The significant savings diesel owners experience compared to gas car owners highlights another major reason why clean diesel vehicles sales will increase significantly throughout the U.S. in the coming years.”

Other study highlights:

  • Total cost of ownership: In the three-year time-frame comparison, diesel vehicles in the passenger car segment are estimated to save owners significant money -- the VW Jetta owner saved an estimated $3,128, the VW Jetta Sportwagen owner saved $3,389 and the VW Golf owner saved $5,013.
  • Fuel efficiency: All of the diesel vehicles had better miles per gallon than the gasoline versions -- diesels had between 8% to 44% higher miles per gallon. 
  • Fuel costs: All of the diesel vehicles had lower fuel costs than the comparable gas-version vehicles: 11 of the 12 diesel vehicles showed double digit reductions in fuel costs, ranging from 10% to 29%.

To view the full “Total Cost of Ownership: A Gas Versus Diesel Comparison” study, visit


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