Price Gap Between Gasoline and Diesel Grows Wider

Filling up at the pump is costing drivers a lot less this year. But even though prices for both gasoline and diesel have gone down, the difference between the two is increasing.

On average, a gallon of diesel costs almost 80 cents more than a gallon of gasoline. That’s 30 cents higher that the difference last year. The gap may grow even larger in the next few months, when diesel prices traditionally go up.

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Analysts don’t expect to see a spread this wide become standard. By next summer, when gasoline prices rise and the cost of diesel drops, there could be as little as 30 cents difference between the two.

Buyers crunching the numbers often find that even with the higher per gallon cost of fuel, lower ownership costs make diesels a good buy. The 2015 Volkswagen Jetta with a 2.0-liter diesel, for example, costs $2.46 to drive 25 miles, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. They rate Jetta’s gasoline engine of the same size at $2.73.

Though 2014’s dip in gasoline prices have dampened sales of hybrid vehicles, this issue isn’t currently spreading to the diesel market as a whole. Overall diesel sales in the U.S. are up 2.3-percent from last year, in comparison to the hybrid market’s current 8.9-percent decrease.

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Not every manufacturer is posting positive sales numbers this year. Volkswagen is reporting a drop in diesel sales for 2014. Even with the release of their updated Toureg and all-new Golf for 2015, to-date the brand’s diesel line is almost 40-percent down from last year’s sales.

Others, including the Audi Q5 Diesel and BMW 3-Series Diesel, are holding their own with annual sales gains in the triple digits.