We already looked at if buying a hybrid was worth it here. In the comment section of that article, folks asked about diesels. We went ahead and ran the numbers to see how many miles need to be driven until the added cost of a diesel saves you money over the non-diesel.
- Average of 125,000 miles driven to break even on added cost of hybrid trim
- Average of 96,000 miles driven to break even on added cost of a diesel trim
- Average hybrid trim costs $4,100 more than non-hybrid trim
- Average diesel trim costs $2,100 more than non-diesel trim
- 12 is the average MPG increase of a hybrid trim over non-hybrid trim
- 6 is the average MPG increase of a diesel trim over non-diesel trim
We conducted this study in a similar fashion to the hybrid study. We found models available with both diesel and traditional unleaded gasoline engines, equipped them comparably and then found the difference in MSRP. We calculated how many miles someone would have to drive a diesel car for the savings in fuel consumption to outweigh the increased price. The only real difference between the two studies is accounting for the cost of diesel fuel.
As you can see, most of the cars we analyzed start saving you money before the 100,000 mile mark or shortly after. Of course, there are outliers. What isn't shown on the infographic is the Volkswagen Jetta which we couldn't fit because you would have to drive a staggering 848,057 miles to make up for the added cost of the diesel model.So, unless you plan on driving to the moon and back twice, don't count on the Jetta to save you money.
Another outlier from our analysis is the Jeep Grand Cherokee, which you would have to drive a total of 189,124 miles to make up for the extra cost. But keep in mind, the diesel engine in the Jeep puts out 420ft lbs of torque. Compared to the 260ft lbs from the unleaded gasoline V6, it might be worth shelling out the extra dough.
Despite the outliers, diesel cars fared much better in the analysis than the hybrids overall except for MPG. The average mileage the hybrids in our study needed to be driven before breaking even is about 125,000 miles (this number does not take into account abysmal BMW Active3). For diesels, this number is about 96,000. Plus, diesels cost significantly less to maintain. However, if you're looking to buy a new car and only expect own it for a couple years, it might pay to know how many miles you really need to drive.