Whether you’re a fleet owner or just someone looking for a new car, it may be hard to decide between a diesel car and a regular gasoline car these days. Our fleet fuel card company did some research to find some of the big differences between the two, including costs, lifespan, performance, and impact on the environment.
When bought brand new, a diesel car costs anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 more than a gasoline car and on average, a gallon of diesel fuel costs around 30 cents more than unleaded fuel. In a study by Vincentric, an automotive ownership cost database, they compared the cost of owning a gasoline car for 5 years and driving 15,000 miles annually with owning a diesel car. On average (and especially with trucks and vans), the cost of the gasoline car was less than the diesel car.
There are some diesel cars, however, that are very cost-efficient. These include many Volkswagen models (including the Jetta and Golf) and many Mercedes-Benz models (including the C class and the GL class).
Diesel engines will last nearly twice as long as gasoline engines. However, they’re more costly to repair and require more maintenance. If you own a diesel car in an area with very cold winters, you may have to install a block heater to make sure the engine will start in low temperatures. When it comes to depreciation, however, diesel cars hold their value more than gasoline cars.
When it comes to performance, you’ll typically find that a diesel engine provides more torque, which is better for towing and hauling. As far as high speeds go, however, gasoline engines are better for quick acceleration.
Many people believe that since diesel cars give them better gas mileage, that they’re better for the environment. However, diesel engines emit over 10% more carbon dioxide than gasoline engines. If you’re going to choose a diesel engine, choosing one that is compatible with clean diesel technology is better than choosing standard diesel. Clean diesel burns cleaner than regular, and has less of an impact on the environment. If going green is your main concern, ditch the diesel altogether and go for a hybrid car instead.
Overall, when you compare the two types of engines, there are pros and cons to both, and the way you drive the car can affect its performance and lifespan. Your best bet is to discuss your options with the dealership and weigh all of your options.