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Discussion Starter #1
The price of reg. gas has been dropping steadily while diesel prices have been holding steady out here in California. So I ran the numbers again and came up with a snapshot of the current situation in Sacramento as of last week. If you want to post some different figures that fit your area better, I can enter them into the spreadsheet and post those results also.

Reg. gas is easily found @ $3.30/gal. Diesel is holding steady @ $4.00/gal

Assumptions:

Diesel option = $4000 + 8.5% sales tax = $4340
DEF consumption = 1.5% by volume of diesel fuel x $7.00/gal (maybe underestimated )
Diesel mpg = 25
Gas mpg = 18

So the comparison is

gas cost/miles travelled
vs
diesel fuel + DEF+$4340 diesel option cost/miles travelled.

The break even point where the diesel becomes more economical to run has moved all the way out to 227,000 miles at roughly $41,600 operating costs.


The 70 cent differential in gas vs diesel is key here. At this point the margin has become so slim that a slight change makes a huge difference.

For instance, is you substitute 19 mpg instead of 18 for the gasser, the break even point more than doubles to 458,000 miles.

If you keep the 18/25 mpg number but increase the price differential to 80 cents, the break even point is 320,000.

Yikes!


So the new questions are,

Will you buy a diesel if you know it will cost you more to operate for a very long time? or forever? Will the commercial market accept a higher total cost of ownership for the diesel rig?

Anybody want to try to predict the future of the differential in Gas vs Diesel prices ?

Does Sergio have a room full of analysts tracking these trends, and has decided to delay the diesel intro, due to economic reasons instead of mechanical reasons ???

We live in interesting times.
 

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Here in eastern Kansas, regular gas is right at $2.90, diesel $3.80. Very steady prices for the last 6 months or so.....
 

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How long do you intend to keep your vehicle gas or diesel?

Your comparison is incomplete until you include its value at the time it is retired.

Generally diesels retain a higher value through out its life cycle and tend last longer then gas.
 

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As I wrote in the other thread, a difference of 25 versus 18 MPG is fairly aggressive. It represents an improvement of 38.9 percent in MPG and that seems high to me.

That may have been a good estimate many years ago but it's unlikely it will be that high today with smaller and more fuel-efficient modern gasoline engines.

If we look at other vehicles already in the market that are offered in both gas and diesel, the difference is often less than 38 percent. Look at RAM 1500 pickups, Jeep SUV, Chevrolet Cruze, and many European models from BMW, Mercedes, Audi and VW. Just don't compare a gasoline "hot rod" with a large and powerful engine to an economic diesel which is comparing apples and oranges.

If the RAM pickup gets 25 MPG highway with the 3.6L V6 on gas, it would have to be rated at 25 X 1.3888 = 35 MPG highway. It’s possible but unlikely in my opinion.

Chevrolet Cruze is in the range of 38 highway gas versus 46 highway diesel. Difference is only 21 percent improvement. No doubt some drivers will do better than EPA ratings but they would likely do better with either gas or diesel. The percent difference should still be similar.

I honestly hope diesel does get almost 40 percent better fuel economy, but I wouldn't base my estimates on it. Seems a little too optimistic in absence of hard data.
 

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I agree you need to factor in the value of the vehicle at the end of the time/mileage period when you would typically replace it. For me that is about 10 years/150,000 miles. I am guessing the diesel would be worth more, perhaps $2000?
The big unknown is gas/diesel prices for the future? In Minneapolis gas is $3/gal & diesel is $3.80, a wide spread that has not been typical. Over the past 5 years the typical spread has been about 30-50 cents/gallon. If anyone finds a crystal ball they can peer into & tell me the future of the spread, I would appreciate that.
 

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As I wrote in the other thread, a difference of 25 versus 18 MPG is fairly aggressive. It represents an improvement of 38.9 percent in MPG and that seems high to me.

Please read in this forum the person who averaged 16.2 MPG over 350 miles with the gas 1500 PM. A lot of unknowns about these vans, but if that is typical average MPG it is not very good & should help sell more diesels if they can get 24-25 MPG? If they are ever built for the US ?
 

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yea but diesel prices are more volatile than petrol, especially this time of year as home heating oil spikes demand...
 

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As I wrote in the other thread, a difference of 25 versus 18 MPG is fairly aggressive. It represents an improvement of 38.9 percent in MPG and that seems high to me.

Please read in this forum the person who averaged 16.2 MPG over 350 miles with the gas 1500 PM. A lot of unknowns about these vans, but if that is typical average MPG it is not very good & should help sell more diesels if they can get 24-25 MPG? If they are ever built for the US ?

What makes you think the PM is going to be "THAT" different than other vehciles?

Just because you wish it won't make it so. You are quoting/talking about a 50 percent improvement. What other vehicle does that in control tests under same conditions? I do not know of a single one.

So if that driver got 16 MPG he probably wouldn't have gotten 24 MPG either in my opinion.
 

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The price of reg. gas has been dropping steadily while diesel prices have been holding steady out here in California. So I ran the numbers again and came up with a snapshot of the current situation in Sacramento as of last week. If you want to post some different figures that fit your area better, I can enter them into the spreadsheet and post those results also.

Reg. gas is easily found @ $3.30/gal. Diesel is holding steady @ $4.00/gal

Assumptions:

Diesel option = $4000 + 8.5% sales tax = $4340
DEF consumption = 1.5% by volume of diesel fuel x $7.00/gal (maybe underestimated )
Diesel mpg = 25
Gas mpg = 18

So the comparison is

gas cost/miles travelled
vs
diesel fuel + DEF+$4340 diesel option cost/miles travelled.

The break even point where the diesel becomes more economical to run has moved all the way out to 227,000 miles at roughly $41,600 operating costs.


The 70 cent differential in gas vs diesel is key here. At this point the margin has become so slim that a slight change makes a huge difference.

For instance, is you substitute 19 mpg instead of 18 for the gasser, the break even point more than doubles to 458,000 miles.

If you keep the 18/25 mpg number but increase the price differential to 80 cents, the break even point is 320,000.

Yikes!


So the new questions are,

Will you buy a diesel if you know it will cost you more to operate for a very long time? or forever? Will the commercial market accept a higher total cost of ownership for the diesel rig?

Anybody want to try to predict the future of the differential in Gas vs Diesel prices ?

Does Sergio have a room full of analysts tracking these trends, and has decided to delay the diesel intro, due to economic reasons instead of mechanical reasons ???

We live in interesting times.
I made a excel spreadsheet based off one that a Ram dealer posted and when I filled in the 18mpg the time to recoup was 11+ years. I had originally figured on my Chevy express that gets 15 and the time was a few years. Your calculation has me really thinking that the diesel may not be worth it. I don't haul a bunch of weight and the extra maintenance costs associated with the diesel just may be enough to sway me to the gasser. Even if gas does rise back to 3.50 here, and it will, my payback is still 5 years. If anyone wants that excel spreadsheet send me your email and I will shoot it to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Bobojay, at 3.80 vs 2.90 the b.e.p. (break even point) is about 880,000 miles
Chance, I agree with you. Judging by the mpg ratings for the v6 Ram 1500 PU, I would think the PM should do better than 18 mpg. If I substitute 20 mpg instead of 18, the b.e.p. is NEVER !. (somewhere on the far side of 2,000,000). Substitute 24mpg vs 19mpg = 1,700,000 miles
5Rob, At 150,000 miles, the operating costs of the diesel is still $1470 above the gas PM. You probably come out ahead with the Diesel resale value differential at that point if the diesel proves to be reliable.
Of course all this is speculation, not hard fact. But until we get some good quantifiable data, it’s all we have.
 

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There is hard data that the diesel is in the 25mpg range, TTAC drove a 3.0 Ducato for extended period & got close to 25mpg:
http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=17018&postcount=21

The Euro fuel economy ratings are also 25mpg for the 3.0 Ducato.

Still with what Ram is charging for the diesel, break even is still at least 150k miles

As I wrote in the other thread, a difference of 25 versus 18 MPG is fairly aggressive. It represents an improvement of 38.9 percent in MPG and that seems high to me.

I honestly hope diesel does get almost 40 percent better fuel economy, but I wouldn't base my estimates on it. Seems a little too optimistic in absence of hard data.
 

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There is hard data that the diesel is in the 25mpg range, TTAC drove a 3.0 Ducato for extended period & got close to 25mpg:
http://www.promasterforum.com/forum/showpost.php?p=17018&postcount=21

The Euro fuel economy ratings are also 25mpg for the 3.0 Ducato.

Still with what Ram is charging for the diesel, break even is still at least 150k miles
Agree those reported numbers were impressive.

In my opinion when comparing two fuel-economy numbers where even a slight change in either one of them will make a huge difference in economic payback, the MPG numbers must be fairly representative given near-identical conditions. If they had driven a similar gasoline van doing the same work side-by-side then I'd put a little more faith in the comparison MPGs.

One data point, or even a few data points, doesn't mean much to me if not taken in a control manner. For example, earlier this year I drove a 30-ft Class C RV with a Ford V10 on a 5,000 mile trip. I filled up about every 300 miles or so, so I had over a dozen data points. MPG for each individual tank ranged from under 7 MPG to just over 10 MPG, with the average for the trip coming out at 8.6 MPG.

The difference between less than 7 and more than 10 is huge; about 50 percent. It's like the difference between 20 and 30 MPG. And it was the same vehicle with same driver and same load. These differences were due to driving conditions outside my control for the most part. So had the trip been shorter I could have reported 7 or 10 instead of 8.6. And who knows what the "correct" number really is.

European ratings are not the same as US so they have to be converted to get an approximation. And until we get a PM with gasoline V6 tested under European driving cycle we have little to compare it to.

I honestly don't care what buyers want or need in order to justify a diesel. They shouldn't have to justify it at all. Just simply wanting one should be enough. If I decide to get a diesel it won't be because of it saving me a little fuel. Likewise, if I decide against one it won't be because of the $4,000 premium.
 

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Fuel Economy During Break-in Period

We have a PM 159" wb with the gasoline engine. Up fits installed contributing to weight:
1) Wood Floor (Factory)
2) 1/4" diamond plate aluminum floor
3) Link mfg 108" aluminum bi fold ramp
4) E track system (2 rails on both sides of interior of cargo area)

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Vehicle has Appx 1200 miles on the odometer (not broken in)

Mpg: avg w/ lots of city driving 17-18 (computer says 17.4, however, I believe it to be more like 18 mpg)
----Note: Even with an extra 1,000lbs of payload fuel consumption is not really affected.


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Driving Habit:
The vehicle is allowed adequate time to come to speed after stops. Erving is kept to a very minimum. Speed is allowed to decrease when ascending hills to avoid downshifting of the transmission.

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Overall this is an amazing piece of equipment, and after seeing it used first hand in our fleet, I would personally not even recommend a diesel. We are getting mpg figures very close to a lot of the diesel sprinters, and the operating costs are much cheaper (purchase price, maintenance, etc).


----------

Hope this helps some of you decide on your fleet purchase.
 

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Not to belabor the point, but TTAC road test on the FIAT Ducato 3.0 diesel, mileage figures were averaged over 850 miles of road testing, from sea level to 2,220 ft elevation, with up to 3,000 lb of cargo (climbing), and a mix of surburban and highway traffic.

I believe that the reviewer used the Ducato's computer to average the fuel economy and not necessarily used gas receipts (always the best method in my opinion).

With the volatility with fuel costs, and the lack of EPA fuel mpg for these vans, payback calculations are really just estimations.
 

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Nobody has factored DEF fluid that I've seen
It's not a ton but it extends the BEP

I have never been shy about talking about how much I like the pentastar. (Can find my sickening praises in a few places on here :))
I also like that it has room to improve. (No cutting edge technology in current form).
I'm no opponent of the diesel, but the BEP is really a non factor for me. It will be the pentastar for me without a doubt.
I think more speeds in the trans would be a good thing.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Nobody has factored DEF fluid that I've seen
It's not a ton but it extends the BEP

I have never been shy about talking about how much I like the pentastar. (Can find my sickening praises in a few places on here :))
I also like that it has room to improve. (No cutting edge technology in current form).
I'm no opponent of the diesel, but the BEP is really a non factor for me. It will be the pentastar for me without a doubt.
I think more speeds in the trans would be a good thing.

I have DEF consumption factored in to the calcs of the original post at 1.5% of diesel fuel x $7.00 / gal. I'm inclined to think that underestimates the actual cost but I don't have any better figures to use.

What I don't have factored in is any extra maintenance and parts/repair costs that the diesel may incur over and above the V6. From what I've read on the Sprinter Forums, the emissions control systems are causing a lot of heartburn for modern diesels. I don't imagine the Fiat/Iveco is going to be any better than the Benz in this regard.

I posted a few questions at the bottom of the original post. I'd appreciate it if you guys would venture some opinions on them
 

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Okay, I'll bite.

Will you buy a diesel if you know it will cost you more to operate for a very long time? or forever? Will the commercial market accept a higher total cost of ownership for the diesel rig?
No, no and no.

Anybody want to try to predict the future of the differential in Gas vs Diesel prices ?
The U.S. is the #1 fuel exporter in the world http://www.nbcnews.com/business/us-becoming-refiner-world-diesel-demand-grows-6C10867716

Diesel has a larger profit margin than gas, and at least one refiner (Valero) plans to produce as much diesel as gas http://www.cnbc.com/id/100943620

The US Department of Energy forecasts domestic diesel prices to drop $0.17 in 2014 http://www.overdriveonline.com/diesel-price-still-projected-to-fall-in-2013-plummet-in-2014/

So chances are, diesel prices will go down. What gas prices will do is another matter. They've gone up around 300% since 2000, and the money supply has increased 600% since 2010. I can't figure out why people like Angry Birds. I certainly can't make predictions about this. http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?s%5B1%5D%5Bid%5D=AMBNS at

Does Sergio have a room full of analysts tracking these trends, and has decided to delay the diesel intro, due to economic reasons instead of mechanical reasons ???
He's got economists, automotive and industrial engineers feeding him data. I can easily imagine, as you posited, that market factors may well be delaying the intro of the diesel.

We live in interesting times.
 

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I have read all of the concerns about modern diesel engine management/pollution control, & am leaning away from diesel for that & other cost issues.
I have no idea where fuel prices will be 2-5 years from now, & with respect, I doubt anyone or even any government does either. Which government predicted 5 years ago that the US will soon be the largest oil exporter? It is too volatile of a commodity politically & economically to make any long term price predictions.
The bottom line for me is I will keep my Express van until I can find a replacement that #1. I can fit in. #2. will average at least 18-20 MPG (gas) in real world numbers, not instantaneous dashboard readouts.
 
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