Adding (and tracking) DEF - 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Long-Term Road Test

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel Long-Term Road Test

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2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: Adding (and tracking) DEF

November 5, 2014

2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel

Along the second leg of my 1,300-mile road trip, our long-term 2014 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel gave me a warning on the center screen that it was time to add some diesel exhaust fluid. I noticed the gauge was low before the trip, so I pre-purchased three boxes of DEF ahead of time. At my next stop, I added 7.5 gallons of DEF and logged the mileage. Here's a breakdown of all the DEF we've added to the Ram so far.

Date

Mileage

Gallons

Cost

 Per Gallon

7/9/2014

5,422

1

$7.55

$7.55

7/11/2014

5,760

4.5

$21.00

$4.67

8/11/2014

8,975

6

$58.50

$9.75

10/25/2014

15,748

7.5

$33.00

$4.40

As you can see, the cost of DEF varies pretty widely depending on where you purchase it. On August 8 we paid for the convenience of having a dealership add the fluid during the Ram's first service, and per gallon, it cost more than double what I paid for it at Pep Boys. The Ram came to us with a full DEF tank and we've used 19 gallons of fluid so far.

If you average out the total price of DEF we've already purchased ($120.05/15,748 miles), it comes out to $0.0076 per mile. At the highest rate we've paid ($9.75 per gallon) that would mean an increase to $0.0118 per mile, and if you calculate using the least expensive fluid we've purchased ($4.40 per gallon) the price drops to $0.0053 per mile.

During the last six months, the Ram has consumed 669.1 gallons of diesel fuel and with the current national-average-cost of diesel fuel at about $3.64, that's a total cost of $2,435.52. With those numbers, diesel fuel works out to cost $0.1547 per mile.

Extrapolating these numbers and using the current national average for diesel fuel, the fuel cost over 20,000 miles is $3,094. Over the same distance, purchasing and pouring your own DEF would cost you about $106, while having a dealer do it would approximately $236.

The cost-per-mile of fuel is considering our current mileage of 22.7 mpg (0.7 higher than the EPA combined estimate) and the fact that we're only halfway through our year-long test with the Ram. This means these numbers will likely change a bit, but we'll continue to track DEF usage and what it adds to the cost of ownership.

Also, the windshield washer fluid was low, so I added a gallon of fluid to that reservoir. It cost two dollars.

Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 15,478 miles


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