Cost of Ownership Study: 12 Diesels Beat Gas Counterparts

Vincentric‘s 2013 Diesel Cost-of-Ownership Analysis has found that one dozen diesel vehicles more than offset their generally higher sticker prices compared to their gasoline counterparts.

The highest scoring was the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL350 Diesel which Vincentric’s analysis says could save owners $8,315 over five years versus its non-diesel counterpart, assuming 15,000 miles per year. On the low end of the winner’s list is the 2013 GMC Sierra 3500 Diesel which saves owners $68. A total of seven clean diesel.

Diesels in the black.

Diesels in the black.


It should be noted Mercedes-Benz does price its GL350 favorably so that gives it an advantage but there were winners among cars that do cost more. The best cost-to-own car in a more mainstream price category was the VW Beetle Diesel, which recouped $4,071.

Seven 2013 model year diesels sold today are estimated to pay back over $1,400.

Vincentric says a total of 12 out of 26 diesel vehicles surveyed now are in the black compared to gas counterparts. This is an increase of four more units over 2012.

However, aside from the 12 exceptions, Vincentric found diesels sold in the U.S. on average do not pay back their owners.

Looking at all 26 diesel models, the price premium is $5,392 and fuel cost savings is $2,117.

Factoring all “cost of ownership” factors – depreciation, financing, fees and taxes, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost and repairs – diesels as a category cost $1,117 more than gas counterparts over five years. Vincentric says it re-compiles its database monthly to account for fluctuating variables.

The study did not look at emissions or compare to electric vehicles. It focused on cost of ownership, and Vincentric says this is its specialty as “the automotive research firm specializing in lifecycle cost measurement.”

Average diesel fuel prices in the U.S. as of Nov. 18 was trending around 55 cents more per gallon than gasoline.

So far the value equation is not as easy a sell to most U.S. consumers as falling off a log, but there are some good bets out there that do stand to pay off – around a dozen and counting.

For further info, check Vincentric’s full study.