A 2.1-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine powers the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Worker cargo van.
 - Photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz USA.

A 2.1-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine powers the Mercedes Benz Sprinter Worker cargo van.

Photo courtesy of Mercedes Benz USA.

Diesel-powered cargo vans are providing fleet buyers with a lower total cost of ownership than gasoline models, while many diesel-powered trucks aren't recouping the higher acquisition cost, according to a Vincentric analysis.

Of the 50 vans studies, 49 models were less costly to own and operate for a five-year period. At the same time, none of the 324 diesel trucks has a lower TCO. Diesel vans have an average price premium of $3,700 over a gasoline model, while the average diesel truck averages $8,300 more than its gasoline-powered counterpart.

Diesel trucks also needed more maintenance attention. They averaged $1,700 more than gasoline trucks, while vans needed an average of $540 more than a gasoline model for maintenance.

Diesel passenger cars were more likely to deliver lower costs (19 of the 23 studied), while SUVs and crossovers powered by a diesel were less likely to deliver lower costs (nine of 22).

"Vehicle pricing, fuel economy, and maintenance costs are just a few ways in which ownership costs of diesels differ from gasoline powered vehicles," said David Wurster, Vincentric's president. "However, understanding all eight cost factors that comprise Total Cost of Ownership is key to determining whether or not a particular diesel vehicle is cost effective."

Fuel prices used in the analysis were based on a weighted average over the previous five months. The report also assumes the vehicle is owned for five years and driven 15,000 miles annually. Vincentric measured total cost of ownership using eight different cost factors, including depreciation, fees and taxes, financing, fuel, insurance, maintenance, opportunity cost, and repairs.

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