Volkswagen Golf TDI
2013 Volkswagen Golf TDI (Volkswagen of America)

Although they often cost more up front, a new study indicates that diesel-powered cars, trucks and SUVs have lower ownership costs in the long run. In a press release, says that diesel models cost $2,000 to $6,000 less to own over three to five years than comparable gas-powered vehicles. The study was conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute for Robert Bosch LLC, which makes automotive parts for diesel- and gasoline-powered vehicles.

Diesel cars typically earn better fuel economy ratings than their gas-powered counterparts, but other variables are also at play when it comes to lower ownership costs. Autoblog writes, “The savings stem not just from improved fuel efficiency but also overall fuel costs and better retention of value, and take into account the added purchase price of a diesel engine over its gasoline counterpart.

The study finds that diesel-powered versions of small cars like the Volkswagen Golf and Jetta save their owners $5,013 and $3,128, respectively over the course of three years. Additionally, the Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen costs $3,389 less to own when equipped with a diesel engine.

The savings also translate to luxury cars and SUVs. Diesel versions of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and M-Class save their owners $4,175 and $3,063, respectively, while the diesel-powered Mercedes R-Class costs $5,951 less to own. The diesel-powered Volkswagen Touareg and Mercedes GL-Class offer even bigger savings, with ownership costs that are $7,819 and $13,514 lower, in that order.

Some automotive journalists think that lower ownership costs will bolster consumer demand for diesel vehicles. The Los Angeles Times reports that the diesel-powered Volkswagen Jetta is “the third-most-considered vehicle by people shopping for alternative-fuel cars,” according to analysts at Edmunds. 

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