ANN ARBOR, Michigan — Car shoppers considering the growing list of diesel vehicles, including the 2015 Chevrolet Cruze Diesel, Porsche Cayenne Diesel and Volkswagen Golf TDI, got some encouraging news from a new University of Michigan study.
The study found that while diesel vehicles may be more expensive to buy or lease than their gasoline counterparts, they can save their owners thousands of dollars within just a few years.
The total cost of ownership of diesel vehicles, including depreciation, fuel costs, repairs, maintenance, insurance and fees and taxes, ranges from $2,000 to $7,000 less over three-to-five years versus gasoline vehicles.
"The idea that buyers can get a return on their initial higher investment in a diesel vehicle within three years is a very positive sign," said Bruce Belzowski, managing director of the U-M Transportation Research Institute's Automotive Futures group, in a statement.
Lower depreciation values and lower fuel costs of diesel vehicles contribute to a lower total cost of ownership, the study found. The study said diesels incur lower fuel costs of 12-27 percent for passenger cars and SUVs over three- and five-year periods.
Resale values are also 30-50 percent higher for diesel passenger cars and SUVs after three years.
Gas and diesel prices are edging closer, but consumers are not ready to rethink diesel vehicles entirely, Edmunds found.
The retail prices of diesel fuel and gasoline are the closest they've been in six years, according to market analysis firm Price Futures Group.
The AAA Daily Fuel Gauge Report on Friday pegged the average price of a gallon of unleaded gasoline at $2.75 versus $2.82 for diesel fuel.
According to the latest Edmunds data for January-April 2015, diesel models make up 2.9 percent of U.S. retail vehicle registrations. Although that's up from 2.3 percent for the same period in 2010, it's actually a reduction from this time last year when diesels made up 3.1 percent of registrations.
Said Jeremy Acevedo, supervisor of pricing and industry analysis for Edmunds: "Although there is a narrowing gap between the price of gasoline and diesel (indeed, diesel is quite a bit cheaper in some areas), it does not seem like the market is particularly receptive to diesel models right now."
Edmunds says: The new U-M study gives car shoppers who are in the market for a diesel vehicle more information about the total cost of ownership. Consumers interested in learning more about diesel vehicles should visit the Edmunds Diesel Center.