Top 10 Diesel Vehicles With the Shortest Break-Even Periods for 2013


  • 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

    2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

    2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. | June 06, 2013

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Diesel vehicles can be 20 to 30 percent more fuel-efficient than their gasoline-powered equivalents. However, they can also be costlier to purchase. It can sometimes take several years to earn back this price difference in fuel savings alone.

With this in mind, it's useful to consider a diesel vehicle's break-even period when comparing choices. The break-even period is the amount of time it takes for the vehicle's fuel savings to offset its price premium.

These 10 diesels offer the shortest break-even periods relative to their gasoline-powered equivalents. Our data assumes a national regular gasoline price of $3.57 per gallon, a national premium gasoline price of $3.88 per gallon, a national diesel price of $3.93 per gallon and an average of 15,000 miles driven each year.

Obviously, fuel prices will vary from week to week, and as they change, so, too, will each vehicle's break-even period. All other things being equal, steeper gas prices will shorten break-even periods, while cheaper gas will lengthen them. Conversely, steeper diesel prices will lengthen break-even periods, while cheaper diesel will shorten them.

In addition to its break-even period, we've listed the gasoline-powered model with which each diesel model was compared. If the diesel model has no direct gasoline-powered equivalent, we've compared it to its closest sibling.

Note that in cases in which a diesel model costs less than its gas-powered equivalent, the break-in period is listed as a negative figure.

  1. 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Diesel

    1. 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Diesel

    Compared to: 2013 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

    Break-even period: -1.6 years

  2. 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Diesel

    2. 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class Diesel

    Compared to: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GL-Class

    Break-even period: -0.5 year

  3. 2013 Audi A3 Diesel

    3. 2013 Audi A3 Diesel

    Compared to: 2013 Audi A3

    Break-even period: 1.9 years

  4. 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel

    4. 2013 Porsche Cayenne Diesel

    Compared to: 2013 Porsche Cayenne

    Break-even period: 4.8 years

  5. 2013 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Diesel

    5. 2013 Mercedes-Benz M-Class Diesel

    Compared to: 2013 Mercedes-Benz M-Class

    Break-even period: 5.2 years

  6. 2013 Volkswagen Passat Diesel

    6. 2013 Volkswagen Passat Diesel

    Compared to: 2013 Volkswagen Passat

    Break-even period: 8.2 years

  7. 2013 Audi Q7 Diesel

    7. 2013 Audi Q7 Diesel (tie)

    Compared to: 2013 Audi Q7

    Break-even period: 9.5 years

  8. 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel

    2013 Volkswagen Jetta Diesel (tie)

    Compared to: 2013 Volkswagen Jetta

    Break-even period: 9.5 years

  9. 2013 Volkswagen Touareg Diesel

    8. 2013 Volkswagen Touareg Diesel

    Compared to: 2013 Volkswagen Touareg

    Break-even period: 9.6 years

  10. 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Diesel

    9. 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Diesel

    Compared to: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle

    Break-even period: 9.9 years

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