Study: Diesel vehicle owners save money on fuel, resale costs

It costs less to own a diesel vehicle than a gasoline-powered one, according to a study that looked at new car prices, fuel economy and resale values.

Owners of diesel vehicles saved average of $6,000 compared with the cost of owning similar gasoline-powered cars over a five year period, according to the study from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

The results were released Thursday at the 2013 Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in Washington D.C., according to the Diesel Technology Forum, an advocacy group that celebrated the study.

The main savings came from resale values and fuel costs, according to the study, which also considered repairs, insurance and maintenance expenses.

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“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,” Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum, said in a statement.

Though a gallon of diesel is currently more expensive than gasoline, at about $3.83 nationally, diesel vehicles are far more fuel efficient, on average.

Diesel versions of popular cars are typically more expensive than their gasoline counterparts, but also hold their resale values better, according to the study.

The study also showed that diesel vehicle owners saved an average of $2,000 on vehicle costs over a three year period.

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There were also some extremes in savings. On the low end, a Dodge Ram 2500 owner saved $67 in total costs for the diesel version compared with a gasoline version over five years. On the high end, a Mercedes-Benz GL Class diesel resulted in a savings of $15,619 compared with a gasoline version of the car over five years.

Diesel engines held a large edge over gasoline engines in terms of fuel efficiency, with several models showing more than 30-percent advantages in mileage per gallon.