Vehicle Research

Most Diesel Pickups Cost More to Operate

December 15, 2016

Photo of Transit T350 cargo van courtesy of Ford.
Photo of Transit T350 cargo van courtesy of Ford.

More than 90% of the 272 diesel-powered pickups on the market cost more to operate than their gasoline counterparts, while nine diesel passenger cars had a lower total cost of ownership (TCO), according to new data from Vincentric.

Vincentric compared the TCO of 356 diesel-powered vehicles with their gasoline counterparts over a five-year ownership period. The analysis assumed 15,000 miles driven per year.

Vincentric grouped the vehicles into three categories, including nine passenger cars, 272 pickups, and 75 SUVs, crossovers and vans. While the nine diesel passenger cars had a lower TCO, only 6% of the 272 pickups had a lower TCO. In the SUV and van category, 36% of the diesels had a lower TCO.

Among passenger cars, Vincentric analyzed five BMW sedans and four Mercedes-Benz sedans. All 19 pickups with a lower TCO were variants of the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel, including the EcoDiesel HFE (high fuel efficiency) model. Of the 27 SUVs and vans with lower TCO, 20 were Ford Transit T350 and T350HD cargo vans.

Photo of Ram 1500 EcoDiesel courtesy of FCA.
Photo of Ram 1500 EcoDiesel courtesy of FCA.

"There are a variety of reasons contributing to the higher ownership costs of diesel vehicles," said David Wurster, Vincentric's president. "In addition to higher maintenance costs for many diesel vehicles, we've observed gasoline prices falling and diesel prices rising over the past several months. In spite of this, over 50 diesels showed cost-of-ownership savings, signaling to buyers that diesel cost-savings are specific to certain models and vehicle types."

Vincentric measured total-cost-of-ownership of vehicles using eight different cost factors, including depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost, and repairs.

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