Just because you have a diesel engine in your full-size pickup truck doesn’t automatically mean you’re saving money. There are many factors that have to be considered. In fact, according to the most recent Vincentric U.S. Diesel Analysis, only one full-size diesel choice is more cost-effective than its gasoline engine counterpart: the Ram 1500 EcoDiesel.
Vincentric is an automotive data company that calculates which cars and trucks have the lowest and highest cost of ownership based on several key factors. In its U.S. Diesel Analysis, the firm calculated the comparative costs of owning a gas engine pickup versus a diesel (where applicable). Not surprisingly — since there is only one small V-6 diesel in a full-size pickup — when calculating the cost of fuel, maintenance, insurance, repairs and more over five years and 15,000 miles between diesel and gas V-8 engines, several versions of the 2016 Ram 1500 came out on top. The calculations did not favor any of the three-quarter or one-ton diesel pickups due in large part to their substantial cost premium over the gas equivalent.
This particular survey did not compare Ram 1500 EcoDiesel numbers with the 3.6-liter V-6 Pentastar gas engine (only the Hemi V-8), nor did it include the Chevrolet Colorado or GMC Canyon I-4 diesel and V-6 gas engines. Our guess is that those vehicles would have scored pretty well here, too, given the parameters and assumptions.
Note: The survey calculated fuel prices at $2.20 for regular unleaded, $2.47 for mid-grade, $2.71 for premium and $2.39 for diesel, depending on what the factory recommendations called for. Of course, these fuel prices will vary depending on where you live. Additionally, people who purchase full-size pickups, especially ones with diesel engines, are much more likely to keep their pickup longer than just five years. Still, there are some interesting results here.
The most cost-effective full-size two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive four-door diesel pickups when compared to their gas V-8 counterparts were:
—Ram 1500 HFE Quad Cab 2WD short-wheelbase, with a total cost-of-ownership savings of $3,323
—Ram 1500 Tradesman Quad Cab 4WD short-wheelbase, with a total cost savings of $3,042
—Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4WD long-wheelbase, with a total cost savings of $1,926
—Ram 1500 SLT Quad Cab 4WD short-wheelbase, with a total cost-of-ownership savings of $1,920
—Ram 1500 Laramie Quad Cab 4WD short-wheelbase, with a total cost savings of $1,918
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears