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Gas vs Diesel Cost of Ownership


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I came from a gas 6.0. I pull a 8k toy hauler across the Midwest and into the Appalachia's, typically 4-500 miles each way. The gas motor worked but it required some skill in the mountains. If I got stuck behind a slow semi at the base of the mountain there was no way to regain any sort of speed up the incline. I justified it with the "10k for a diesel buys a lot of gas" mindset. Even though I only averaged 12-13 MPG around town 6-7 MPG towing. The truck had plenty of power for flat ground/small inclines and could maintain a reasonable speed in the mountains if I was careful/played the traffic correctly. Honestly my biggest complaint was trying to get fuel with the 30ft trailer behind me. Most gas stations are pretty tight. But the overall cost of ownership was reasonable and it could do what I needed. When I traded it in at 100k i got about 1/2 what I paid for it new.

 

After a few years of that I picked up the duramax and doubt I will ever go back. The amount of pulling power is a night and day difference. I can easily accelerate up the steepest inclines with the trailer, I can swing through a truck stop to refuel without an issue, and I get 9-10 mpg towing. Are oil changes more, of course. Plus Def usage, and lets not forget there is usually only 1-2 diesel pumps (if any) at most regular gas stations. The entire towing experience is better with a diesel truck, less stress on inclines, less stress over refueling, and farther distance between refuels makes the extra cost worth it to me.

 

So back to the original question on cost of ownership... Is a gas truck cheaper to own/operate than a diesel. Yes in most cases. but there is more to it than dollars per mile/resale value. 

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On 4/4/2021 at 8:44 PM, i82much said:

i think it is more a question of whether you get burned by a big repair bill, which is far more likely with a diesel.

As an example one of my diesels, a TDI needed a glow plug replaced. I tried to… but a carbon deposit on the end of it kept me from extracting it. I had to pull the head… for a GLOW PLUG…. I waited till there two of them gone.. but that is my example of a real trade-off for a few more mpg.. which is based on higher btu more expensive fuel… gasoline… 

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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.

Live for today, don't put off 'till tomorrow what you can do today and you only live once.  I've used 'em all to help make a poor decision. Using such mantras to rationalize a major expense should only apply when your retirement plan has you living comfortably until you're 100 yrs. old.  Predicting your own longevity is a crapshoot but chances are good you'll be blessed with a long life.  

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1 hour ago, Donstar said:

Live for today, don't put off 'till tomorrow what you can do today and you only live once.  I've used 'em all to help make a poor decision. Using such mantras to rationalize a major expense should only apply when your retirement plan has you living comfortably until you're 100 yrs. old.  Predicting your own longevity is a crapshoot but chances are good you'll be blessed with a long life.  

A lot of guys and suspect some in here are of the payment mentality,  the whole I can afford 1000 a month or whats another $50 bucks a month.  IMVHO if your car payment is a grand or more, you need to rethink a lot of things.

But with that said I think there are a lot of guys that weigh the pros and cons and see the whole purchase and understand what they are getting into. 

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7 hours ago, nards444 said:

A lot of guys and suspect some in here are of the payment mentality,  the whole I can afford 1000 a month or whats another $50 bucks a month.  IMVHO if your car payment is a grand or more, you need to rethink a lot of things.

But with that said I think there are a lot of guys that weigh the pros and cons and see the whole purchase and understand what they are getting into. 

well said!

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On 4/27/2021 at 8:50 PM, 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. 

 

I guess that depends on where you live, but where I live diesel is always a fair bit cheaper except for those minor dips in gas price where diesel might be more for a bit (diesel prices are slower to react, both up and down, than gas)

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On 4/27/2021 at 8:50 PM, 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. 

 

I guess that depends on where you live, but where I live diesel is always a fair bit cheaper except for those minor dips in gas price where diesel might be more for a bit (diesel prices are slower to react, both up and down, than gas)

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On 4/27/2021 at 8:50 PM, 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. 

 

I guess that depends on where you live, but where I live diesel is always a fair bit cheaper except for those minor dips in gas price where diesel might be more for a bit (diesel prices are slower to react, both up and down, than gas)

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Most places in the country diesel is slightly more. There have been times in the not too distant past when diesel was up to 50% more. Regardless, if you want or need a diesel that is great for you! If you want to answer the question without equivocation then gas is the lower cost option to OWN, assuming it is capable of the need. Do lower cost options have compromises, yes! To higher cost alternatives have compromises, yes!

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It's kind of apples to oranges comparison..... the diesel will tow and perform heavy duty chores better then the gasser. If you need the diesel, then that's what you need, and the extra cash out lay has little to do with it.

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6 hours ago, gearheadesw said:

It's kind of apples to oranges comparison..... the diesel will tow and perform heavy duty chores better then the gasser. If you need the diesel, then that's what you need, and the extra cash out lay has little to do with it.

you are right, but these are always fun comparisons as long as everybody is civil.  Lots of misconceptions by both camps.  The way I see it is the diesel will always cost more and the gas engine doesnt tow like diesel, if you can comprehend those things you will be ok. 

Edited by nards444
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 4/29/2021 at 9:21 AM, gearheadesw said:

It's kind of apples to oranges comparison..... the diesel will tow and perform heavy duty chores better then the gasser. If you need the diesel, then that's what you need, and the extra cash out lay has little to do with it.

I think that the important factor here is how the truck will be used.  Will it be a grocery getter and family hauler majority of the year with the occasional hardware store trip or 5th wheel tow 5 times a year or will it regularly have a load behind it.  I know people that got the diesel because they wanted the power and used it for the occasional tow.  They all had major problems with the emissions garbage because the engines weren’t worked hard enough to clear it out.  From following forums and the like it seems like as long as your truck is used hard more than light you don’t have problems with diesel emissions.  It also seems like the people that bought the gas trucks for the bed and occasional heavy tow are very happy with the gas performance.  

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10 hours ago, Hobbypro said:

  I know people that got the diesel because they wanted the power and used it for the occasional tow.  They all had major problems with the emissions garbage because the engines weren’t worked hard enough to clear it out.  

This is so not the way it works.  The diesel can be driven without ever towing and not have emissions issues.

 

 

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13 hours ago, CRApex said:

This is so not the way it works.  The diesel can be driven without ever towing and not have emissions issues.

 

 

True.  I have one that rarely ever tows, as in less than 5k lbs probably 15 times a year.  But every day mine starts out at 60-70 mph for 30-40 min straight without stopping, then it does it again in the evening.  

 

The key to avoid the regeneration issues (I.e. it not completing a cycle which doing so repeatedly causes problems) is not towing with it frequently but to run it at highway speeds for some sustained amount of time/miles frequently.  
 

Mine has already had one instance of putting itself into limp mode even with all the interstate driving I do daily....some sort of problem that GM really didn’t have an answer for, so they threw parts at it.  It hasn’t yet happened again.  That said, I don’t totally trust it, in the sense that I don’t believe any of the big three have the dpf garbage made to a reliable point, consistently.  Just my opinion, nothing more.

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