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Study claims diesel vehicles are cheaper to own

A new survey has been published looking at the cost of ownership for gasoline vehicles compared to diesel vehicles. The University of Michigan conducted the study for Robert Bosch, LLC.

The study determined that diesel vehicles save owners between $2,000 to $6,000 in total ownership costs during a 3- to 5-year period compared to similar gasoline vehicles. The data was compiled by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

"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 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.”

2014 Volkswagen Golf Variant (aka Jetta Sportwagen for the U.S. market)

The study claims that Volkswagen Jetta owners saved $3,128 while Volkswagen Golf owners saved an estimated $5,013 compared to owners of similar gasoline-powered vehicles. The study also finds that all of the diesel vehicles had better miles per gallon figures then gasoline versions with diesel is offering between 8% and 44% higher fuel economy.

The study also shows that nine of the 10 diesel vehicles held their value better the comparable gasoline vehicles.
One has to keep in mind, however, that Bosch has quite a big financial stake in these results as it produces high-pressure fuel pumps for diesel manufactures like Volkswagen which have a tendency for failing in late model vehicles.

Source: Autoblog

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RE: impressive study even being sponsored by bosch
By Dribble on 7/1/2013 9:42:35 AM , Rating: 2
It's not just the fuel savings. Diesel is better for engines - it's non corrosive and runs at lower rpm. The engines last much longer which effects used sales.

RE: impressive study even being sponsored by bosch
By Mint on 7/1/2013 10:04:26 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but most engines nowadays have very few major issues in the fuel subsystem or engine block during the first 5 years. These seem like pretty outlandish claims to me.

I wonder if there's some self-selection going on, with diesel drivers doing more steady state highway miles, since that's their primary strength.

RE: impressive study even being sponsored by bosch
By Dribble on 7/1/2013 10:33:56 AM , Rating: 2
...and after those 5 years you sell the car. Which is worth more - the diesel with the engine that has a lot of life in it yet, or the petrol that's going to die much sooner? The diesel that's more economical, or the expensive to run petrol (someone who can only afford to buy a 5 year old car is going to care more about costs then the person who could afford to buy it new)?

RE: impressive study even being sponsored by bosch
By dnd728 on 7/1/2013 11:09:44 AM , Rating: 3
The thing is, in Europe lately diesels started losing market share.
Here are some reasons:
Most smaller European diesels don't currently need urea injection, but new "Euro 6" emissions standards will arrive in September 2014. They're roughly equivalent to U.S. standards that have seen urea injection fitted to every passenger diesel sold in the States except the Volkswagen Golf and Jetta and 2014 Mazda6 diesel.

At some point, the extra expense of a diesel car simply won't be worth the extra money

Longer-term maintenance is causing worries too, with those necessary particulate filters often failing for city-bound drivers.

economical low engine speeds mean exhaust gases don't get hot enough to burn off the particulate matter--leading to clogged filters and expensive replacements.

Small gas engines improving

Today, they're starting to disappear, replaced by tiny-capacity, turbocharged gasoline engines like Fiat's TwinAir and the 1.0-liter Ford Ecoboost. Volkswagen has said it will build no future diesel of less than 1.6 liters for its volume cars.

there's much less difference in gallons of fuel consumed.

By Jeffk464 on 7/1/2013 11:24:48 AM , Rating: 2
I can attest to the particulate filter thing. I used to bread down all the time because of those things. I believe in the concept but they have to make them reliable.

RE: impressive study even being sponsored by bosch
By DerMack on 7/2/2013 6:36:06 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure how well known it actually is but the cars are meant to burn up the particles on the filters once the onboard sensors detect high enough pressure drop across the filter. During the burn cycle the engine will run wierdly for some time and most people just panick at this point thinking somethings gone wrong and stop the engine and this really will ruin the filter.. so let it run...

RE: impressive study even being sponsored by bosch
By kmm1191 on 7/2/2013 10:21:12 AM , Rating: 2
So the thing about the diesel particular filters is that a lot of people don't understand how they work. When the computer detects that the DPF is getting "full", the engine sprays diesel fuel into the engine exhaust directly before the exhaust enters the DPF. When it contacts the exhaust gasses, it ignites, reaching temps in excess of 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. This causes the particulates trapped in the filter to be burned off. However, since this system relies on the exhaust gasses to ignite the fuel it can only activate once the engine reaches are certain operating temperature. If the engine rarely (or never) gets up to peak temperature then the DPF recharge can't happen and the DPF will eventually fail. This is more common in a city driving scenario where the car is used for a lot of short drives, or a lot of low-speed stop-and-go situations.

BTW, some cars use a blue urea injection system in place of the DPF/recharge system (VW has AddBlue, Mercedes has BlueTec, etc), but those tend to be larger and more expensive cars (Passat or E-Class), and as such aren't used so much as "city cars" in Europe.

By superstition on 7/3/2013 11:48:31 AM , Rating: 2
It's not in place of, but in addition to. Urea mainly deals with nitrous oxide emissions. It does improve fuel economy in a DPF system by requiring less fuel to be used. This is why the Passat TDI gets better mileage than the Jetta, Golf, and Golf Wagon.

RE: impressive study even being sponsored by bosch
By Mint on 7/1/2013 2:48:13 PM , Rating: 4
This is exactly the type of thing that makes me skeptical of the study in the article. I mean really, up to $15k over 5 years? It's not like diesels are maintenance free and get 100 MPG while gasoline engines are built like an XBox 360.

By kmm1191 on 7/2/2013 10:22:32 AM , Rating: 2
By my estimates I can hit $7500 in 6 years with a Jetta TDI. I expect that with larger more expensive cars (Mercedes BlueTec, perhaps) you would see even better numbers.

By Lord 666 on 7/1/2013 12:09:43 PM , Rating: 2
@Mint - You have a valid point as it is assumed most diesel owners anticipate higher resale value, so they take better overall care of the car the entire time.

Additionally, I always go to the same Hess station and at the same pump... unless during a long trip. The consistency helps. The biggest thing is not running the tank dry, but refilling by 1/4 remaining.

By Reclaimer77 on 7/1/2013 5:08:40 PM , Rating: 3
This study is highly suspect. I haven't dug into their methodology yet, but at a glance you just know it's horribly flawed when it claims, as you pointed out, petrol cars have fuel subsystem issues or block problems in the first 5 years. Huh? Maybe cars made in the 1970's!

Diesels cost more upfront, like a LOT more.
Diesel fuel costs more, like a LOT more.
Diesel maintenance costs are more, like a LOT more.

Yet, somehow, they are magically finding thousands and thousands of dollars in savings? Yeah right lol.

Compounding this is the fact that in America there are very few option for diesel passenger vehicles. You'll probably end up with a VW, which any VW owner can tell you, there's NO savings there with the constant breakdowns and mechanics visits.

RE: impressive study even being sponsored by bosch
By Richlet on 7/2/2013 12:32:57 AM , Rating: 2
Diesel fuel costs more, like a LOT more

It does? Zoiks. Here it costs on avg 15 cents *less* per gallon than regular gasoline. >.<

By BRB29 on 7/2/2013 10:05:13 AM , Rating: 2
This is a study based in the US. Diesel normally cost 10-20% more in the US.

By StanO360 on 7/5/2013 10:11:28 PM , Rating: 2
Remember in the US the vast majority of freight, Truck and Rail is moved with Diesel. There is a limited amount of diesel or gas that can be taken from a barrel of oil, it's not either or.

RE: impressive study even being sponsored by bosch
By kmm1191 on 7/2/2013 10:15:16 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure why you think that there are so many issues with VWs, but they are generally reviewed quite highly. Especially the diesel models.

Anyway, according to my math I'm paying about 9% more per gallon for diesel fuel, but getting almost 50% better fuel economy. Between that and the less frequent oil changes (10k for TDI vs 3k for gas) I'm saving around $1200/year. I paid about $1800 more for my TDI than I would have for the gasoline model, and when I resell it at the end of 5-6 years (if that's what I do) then I will be able to get close to another $2000 for it than I could for a gasoline model, as the diesels tend to have a significantly higher resale value. So over the course of 6 years I'm looking at close to $7500 in savings (even after accounting for the higher purchase price).

By superstition on 7/3/2013 12:03:52 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not sure why you think that there are so many issues with VWs, but they are generally reviewed quite highly. Especially the diesel models.

Check out the B5 Passat TDI.

Here's a nice list of issues:

Timing chain that was too weak. Warps or snaps. Bad for engine! VW offers gear retrofit... won't pay for it. Out of owner's pocket! Apparently Europeans were treated to a free replacement. The part is known as a "balance shaft module".

But, don't worry. It only costs thousands of dollars to get the timing chain replaced with gears. Or you can treat yourself to a ruined engine. I love how dealers sell these cars at top dollar without mentioning this small caveat.

Oh, and then there are the wonderful Pumpe Düse cam lobes that wear out because of poor engineering.

And, if that's not enough, the car was assembled as VW's Mexican plant, which was a pinnacle of quality during these years... just as the New Beetle owners.

By StanO360 on 7/5/2013 10:13:54 PM , Rating: 2
The Passat is a rarity, most seem to be $4-$5k more and don't get twice the mileage. But I think that this is because the Passat gas is not that efficient. When a Mazda6 is getting 38mpg on the highway now.

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