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Gas vs Diesel Cost of Ownership


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My brother drives lots of miles for work. The person he works for buys lots of trucks for his crews. Since emissions changes in diesels he buys more gas vehicles. The average trade in is 200K. He does a spread sheet on each vehicle. If diesels were cheaper over that time period he’d be running them. All his trucks carry weight in them. 100gal fuel tanks, tool boxes and support tools. The emissions in the diesels is usually the cost difference as far as upkeep. Their problems seem to start around 100K miles.


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10 hours ago, Hobbypro said:

I always find the resale value point humorous.  People will mention that an old diesel will go for 20K while a gas from the same year with similar miles and condition will only go for 10K.  Well yeah you paid 10K more for the diesel so that makes sense.  It’s worth more but that doesn’t mean it held its value any better.  

Well its humorous in a way, because you cant make money and in general vehicles arent investments or at least like financial ones.  Because if you dont use that truck to make you money its really a liability specially if you have a note on it.  But with that said if you pay 10k more for it(like vehicles)   and get 10k more back yeah you spent more but you also got it back on the back end.  At the end the cost gap may not be as big as what some think or even what I laid out.

 

When I was looking this winter to buy,  diesels were on average about 6-8k more for the same truck, some were more.  When you figure that in the cost analysis gets much better in the end then what I laid out.  But Im not fooled nor should others the diesel most likely will not be cheaper in the long run however you twist it, but the gas engine will not perform like a diesel on its best day however you twist it.  You get what you pay for.

 

Far to often guys aren't looking at the big picture.  They see initial cost only and thats where it stops (I can afford $988 a month payment), and if your lucky  they understand fuel and insurance cost.  But there is maintenance cost, depreciation, re-sale value, interest cost, what does the truck do for you,  performance(you pay for performance, doesnt always make you money or get you there much differently, typically it cost you more, but there is value there), and then theres just this is america and I want what I want.

 

For me I have had it all and played with it all.  Half tons in 2021 are very capable machines, matter fact they can probably meet or exceed what a lot of the 3/4 tons trucks could do 20 years ago.  While the 3/4 gasser at the end of the day is more capable than any half ton out there, the gap is smaller than it used to be and depending on what you are doing you may not even notice it.  Due to this if I am bumping up I going diesel.  If I was a fleet owner etc, gas makes more sense. 

Edited by nards444
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For some, trucks are toys.

For some, trucks are tools.

 

If it's a tool, it needs to be the one that does the job the best.

If it's a toy, it should be the one that provides the most enjoyment. 

 

 

 

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My wife drove a Toyota Sequoia for 12 years before we bought her current SUV.  The Sequoia was a solid, reliable car that got the job done.  She did not wear it out in those 12 years--not even close--but at some point it just got a bit dated and she wanted a newer car with more modern features.  We were considering a new Sequoia to replace it, but then she drove a few German SUVs for grins, at which point, all bets were off.  

 

She ended up picking a Mercedes SUV over a new Toyota even though it was more expensive and (we assumed) would be less reliable than a Toyota.  The primary reason for her choice was that it provided a better driving experience in almost every way that was important to her.  I would have preferred she got a new Toyota because of the cost and perceived reliability issues, but I completely understand her choice.  And I don't see the gasser vs diesel debate much differently than choice between a Toyota and a Benz.

 

I have had a truck as my daily driver since 2007.  I like driving trucks but also need a truck for towing.   Back then I towed a smallish boat and a 7k lbs. travel trailer and never considered a diesel because they cost more and I did not think I needed a diesel.  But in 2013, we bought a 10k lbs. travel trailer.  The gasser would pull it and was within towing and payload specs, but it felt like it was working way too hard on anything steeper than flats.  So I went and test drove a diesel and I was immediately sold on it.

 

After I bought the diesel, it took me about 10 minutes to realize I really, really enjoyed driving it, even when I was not towing.   Loaded or unloaded, I loved the torque and the power in the low rpm range that the diesel provided.  And as a bonus it also allowed me to pick up a 14k flatbed and a 14k dump trailer for my equipment without worrying about the extra weight; and then because I could tow more I got bigger, heavier equipment.  And recently, we traded in the 10k travel trailer for a 20k lbs. fiver, which the Duramax tows with relative ease.

 

I don't drive commercially and have never tried to figure out if the Duramax was cheaper to own over the life of the vehicle or whether the gasser or diesel is statistically more reliable.  The fact is, I can afford the price premium and (at least to me) the diesel is a better driving experience that is well worth any extra cost.  Frankly, even if I sold all my big towables, and just needed a truck to commute in, I would never, ever go back to a gasser after having a Duramax because I just love the way it drives.  

 

The bottom line is, depending on how heavy you tow, the Duramax may indeed be considered a more expensive luxury item than the gasser, but make no mistake, the driving experience is luxurious.  

 

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On 4/4/2021 at 10:05 AM, artie2908 said:

Pulling that 7,000 trailer on average I got  12. to 13 Mpg. with diesel.     with my gasser pulling the same trailer   10.5  to 11.0 not a world of difference  there. 

 

 

The difference is deceptively large. 10 mpg vs 13 mpg is a 30% difference. I for one would love to save 30% on my gas bill while towing.

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2 hours ago, the wanderer said:

 

 

The difference is deceptively large. 10 mpg vs 13 mpg is a 30% difference. I for one would love to save 30% on my gas bill while towing.

True,

You could be talking 30-40 bucks less per fill up.  Multiply that by 15,000 miles year,  your talking around 1000 bucks a year.  Average ownership of a vehicle is 6 years, so thats 6k worth of savings over ownership. 

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8 hours ago, the wanderer said:

 

 

The difference is deceptively large. 10 mpg vs 13 mpg is a 30% difference. I for one would love to save 30% on my gas bill while towing.

if the price of diesel and regular gasoline were the same, I would agree.  Right now in New England diesel is running about .35 to .40 cents more a gallon.   Now add in DEF and diesel additive and that 30% is long gone.    Now factor in the cost of the diesel engine.   I figure I'm running my gasser for 3.5 years for what that diesel engine would have cost me.   I'm only pulling a 7,000 lb trailer.  Nothing heavy. 

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25 minutes ago, 07HD said:

Ok here's  the bottom line, and this won't take long. ITS ONLY MONEY AND YOU CANT TAKE IT WITH YOU.

or another way to put it...... money isnt everything, but it is, if you dont have it. 

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Relative prices for fuel types depend on the area (and maybe just the tax setup in the area).

 

'Here', regular and diesel are similarly priced. 

Some stations have diesel a little higher, some stations have regular a little higher. 

All stations have premium a lot higher.

 

Nationally, the def price is about the same price per gallon as diesel, but usage is about 1 or 2% of fuel usage. 

 

For guesstimate comparisons, add 1.5% to the assumed cost of diesel to account for the def.  

 

 

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9 hours ago, redwngr said:

Relative prices for fuel types depend on the area (and maybe just the tax setup in the area).

 

'Here', regular and diesel are similarly priced. 

Some stations have diesel a little higher, some stations have regular a little higher. 

All stations have premium a lot higher.

 

Nationally, the def price is about the same price per gallon as diesel, but usage is about 1 or 2% of fuel usage. 

 

For guesstimate comparisons, add 1.5% to the assumed cost of diesel to account for the def.  

 

 

Canadian fuel prices are very high compared to the US.  I live on the Quebec border and before the borders were closed for Covid,  droves of Canadians crossed the border to buy cheap American fuel and have for years.  So yea, I guess diesel and gasoline are priced similar.  When the border opens again, I'm sure the trend will continue. 

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12 hours ago, artie2908 said:

if the price of diesel and regular gasoline were the same, I would agree.  Right now in New England diesel is running about .35 to .40 cents more a gallon.   Now add in DEF and diesel additive and that 30% is long gone.    Now factor in the cost of the diesel engine.   I figure I'm running my gasser for 3.5 years for what that diesel engine would have cost me.   I'm only pulling a 7,000 lb trailer.  Nothing heavy. 

True and you have to look at everything.  I will say diesel additive is not needed at least not all year long.

 

But when we take a deeper dive, now keep in mind we are using averages and we will also use 15kmiles a year.

 

Average Diesel as of APR 21 is $3.10,  Gas is average $2.77.  over 15k miles gas would cost you $4100,  where as diesel would cost you $3500.   With the diesel you need DEF fluid approximately every 5k miles,  based on this DEF needing filling 3 times yearly, which maybe cost you $100 bucks annually, give or take.  DEF really isnt a big cost or issue like it was in the first generations

 

So using national averages the diesel is still $500 cheaper a year, comparing fuel cost.  Some guys that might be better some possibly worse.  Now If you are the guy that uses premium in your gas motor which averages $3.39 a gallon right now the gas motor actually now cost close $1500 more a year in fuel.

 

The bottom here is this you still pay 10k more for the diesel motor and at $500 a year, your break even on that diesel is 20 years, and that's not factoring in your break fix maint that could cost more or your routine maint that cost more.  So my original statement of saving money with a diesel just isn't true for most people and people arent telling the truth in general if they say otherwise.  But the other fact is if your looking at narrower scope of just fuel cost per mile, the diesel usually does win.  And during the summer on a big hauling trip to fill up less, go farther and to save a few bucks while on a trip is a win. 

 

But back to the general theme on cost,  if I can save $500-$1000 a year on fuel, and then when I turn the vehicle in and get 5-10k back, I may not save money,  but I lessen that 10k purchase up front considerably,  and no its not an investment

 

For me personally it was about performance and I am paying for that.  I have driven these gas trucks and while they work, I am not playing around 10mpg or less high rpms etc, 

Edited by nards444
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13 hours ago, 07HD said:

Ok here's  the bottom line, and this won't take long. ITS ONLY MONEY AND YOU CANT TAKE IT WITH YOU.

 

 Ecclesiastes 7:12 (EVR)

 

For wisdom is a defence, even as money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserveth the life of him that hath it.

 

If you don't want yours send it my way!! 😉  

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