Ram 1500 Dominates Cost-of-Ownership Diesel Analysis

Ram Track 1 II

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



So "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. "

what is the price difference over a 3/4 ton Chevy/Ford gasser totheri dieselcounterpart, The Ram eco Diesel is $2.8k over the Hemi.....

per numbers you do not come out a head with a diesel, in a 5 year period...

But but but I thought the Ford eco pop v6's are so much better. Guess not once again.

I wonder if Vincetric even looked at this. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20161201005646/en/Hagens-Berman-Consumers-Sue-Fiat-Chrysler-Bosch

Flawed analysis, Vincentric - -

Why only 5 years and only 15,000 miles? (I put about 15K miles on every year, and keep trucks for 15-20 years.)

Average ownership period for pickups in America is about 15 years (vs 11.8 per cars). So, I would like to see a plot (and equation) of financial advantage versus time projected out to at least 15 years. And I certainly would like to see the mid-size truck segment included.

Or, having a little data table that lists Diesel Vehicle Name on the left column and Time in Years across the top would be handy.
The times could be 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, and 20 years. Entries in the Data table would be the cost benefit (or deficit) from owning each of those diesel trucks over the five time periods suggested.

Then you could see clearly what is what, for all the diesel trucks sold here, for most of their anticipated lifetimes (not just 5 years).


We owned one-ton diesels for about 15 years while fulltime rv'ing. We didn't go diesel to save money. We went diesel to be able to tow the very large fifthwheels we owned during our traels. Diesel trucks have way more power and last far longer than the gas counterparts. Now that we have retired from travel we once again have gas vehicles. For heavy duty work, diesel is by far the best way to go.

I've personally always liked gas over diesel and still do, I think gas has a better power feel than diesel off the line/acceleration. There's a reason 6.2Ltr gas engine GM built whipped everything out there!

Cummins well tear anything out dear

Cummins well tear anything out dear

Cummins 5.9 well tear up any truck gas or disel out dear

It's nice to hear these types of studies. Maybe manufacturers will be more apt to make diesel vehicles more competitively priced versus the gas counterpart.

Hopefully they keep perfecting their analysis as the effort was good but the reasoning was flawed. It doesn't make much sense to compare the cost of purchasing vehicles and then forget to offset vehicle value at the end of 5 years. We all now diesels tend to have better resale value.

You could multiply out the Vincetric data to give you the best guesstimate?

Interesting that at least in the Ram1500 the diesel has some cost advantages. The first problem with this study is that there aren't consistent fuel economy numbers for the HD trucks. The price premium is around 8 grand, so payback will take much longer than a projected 75k miles. Resale numbers for the mid size trucks aren't really available yet. Resale for the 15 years mentioned diverges a lot. Since the capability on the HD diesels is so far above the gassers, it isn't an apples to apples comparison. The TFLT Titan XD Mashup showed a 10% fuel economy advantage, which is pretty well absorbed by the fuel price premium.

This Vicetric assessment appears to be a good.

Even though the Pentastar was left out I do think chasing FE would not be the only reason for selecting a diesel over a gas engine.

Some like the characteristics offered by diesel engine, low effortless torque for cruising, possibly towing, then add the FE advantage. This might be a large reason for diesel ownership. Sort of like a V8, without draining the fuel tank.

I would think most pickup owners could get away with a Pentastar. The Pentastar is more powerful than V8s from a few years back. Most at best would tow 5000lbs or so once every year or two. Pickups are just a car subsituite for the majority, hauling air and just the driver.

Many pickup fans confuse capability with actual use.

Mr Knowitall,
I tend to agree with you in regards to the diesel HD.

I believe the ISD V8 Cummins Titan is better "assessed" against the 6 liter plus HDs.

This data from Vicetric I believe to be good.

I have owned two 5.9l Dodge Trucks with Cummins engines. IMO there is no comparison to the I6 Engines. I have seen these engines run in forklifts over 40000 hours without failure. Only major maintenance required are lift pumps and injector pumps. These engines were not modified to meet Dodge applications. The power stroke and duramax have been modified so many times to count from their original application. Jury is still out on the eco diesel.

"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."

Which means they didn't give one moment's thought about resale value, because most HD diesels return very high percentages of their original option price - greatly negating the initial purchase premium over a gasoline engine.

Wild Willy - - -

You could multiply out the Vincetric data to give you the best guesstimate?"

Yes, --- if the function were regular, linear, and continuous.

The trouble is that several rather severe maintenance penalties of diesel ownership starting cutting in at discrete and longer time intervals, such as 50K, 75K, 100K, and 150K miles.

These may include replacing injectors; replacing the particulate entrapment and filtration system; replacing the DEF pump and injectors; replacing one type, or both types, of catalytic converters; and so on. Burning oil is much harder on anti-pollution equipment than burning gasoline, and those added expenses have to be factored in over the average-ownership lifetime.


You raised a good point regarding future trade in's.

This is where I think the Cummins diesel XD Titan will come in front over the 6 liter plus gas HDs. The XD is not competitive against the bigger diesel HDs.

Your point is valid. Many injectors and pumps fail due to abuse, unnecessary engine revving (abuse) and inadequate maintenance.

As for the pollution eauipment I think a little more time is needed to get the best data.

The University of Michigan did a study a while back that showed there was an investment advantage for most diesel powered vehicles. They did not have the Ram Ecodiesel or Colorado at the time of the study.
Out of the HD's, GM had the best ROI. Ford was 2nd even though the study period covered the crappy 6.0 and pig on fuel 6.4. Ram had the worst ROI.
These were relatively short periods of amortization. IIRC 5 years. That is a short time for private buyers but would be a good timeline for fleet buyers.

I have 2 dodges with 5.9 cummins, both 3500 one is a 1994 the other is 2006, the motor is fantastic in both, 94 has 400, 000 the 06 has 275, 000 neither one has been overhauled, run the overhead , change oil , air filter, run for ever.

And overall the Toyota Tacoma has the best cost of ownership of any pickup!

I love my Ram Ecodiesel. I have had ford, Chevrolet, and Dodge trucks in the past. My Ram 1500 Ecodiesel is the best yet!

This "test" is based in fiction. I don't know anyone whom only puts 5000 miles a year on a work truck

I do four times that, making the real life cost of ownership tip well into my favor. Of course as diesels fall put of favor, the price of fuel will drop back below RUG and that will tip the scales even more.

3-4 years ago I was looking forward to diesel making much more traction in the USA, but now I see it becoming out of favor for the masses, ie people who don't have anything to tow. We all saw diesel fuel dip below price of RUG- regular unleaded gas, but yesterday I saw it a penny above super. I think the comment above DEF and injectors and oil being tougher on all those systems is all very true to tip diesel out of favor for the masses. Just more stuff to go wrong down in the future. The masses don't try to keep their vehicles for over 300kmiles. Though I had a gaser Mazda B2000 who's engine lasted 320kmi. So I see the push to make diesel mainstream, in usa, definitely not happening and to try to do a study now on the Ecodiesel seems a little premature, and without 2.8L diesel Colorado in the mix, a bit biased. Anyway, the Pentastar surely would seem to be a very solid base motor! $4.5k above that is a big nut for Ecodiesel, and I still don't see them in SFrancisco bay area, but I see plenty of 5.7L badged Hemi 1500s. I think FCA is not selling as many Ecodiesels as they claim. I am also taking note as to how these new vans have nice new aero front ends that don't stick out a bunch, saving a ton of space with their cab forward designs. Though I realize that many would never accept that kind of design because it's just not tough enough looking for a truck. But efforts to move in that kind of a design direction would go a long way for the masses of buyers, unlike these Baja concept raptor trucks that really only appeal to a very few because they've managed to make them "sexy" or exude "toughness" to get people to part from their money on those grounds.

Mo and/or Angelo,
Work truck? I do think most Ram 1500 and C twin diesels are sold as non working trucks. This article is not about diesel HDs.

I really don't the government or manufacturers are attempting to make diesel mainstream. That comment is very much an overstatement. Read what you write before posting.

2012 f350 6.2 gas hotshot rig. O2 sensor went bad
It has about 380,000 miles so far. Way cheaper to operate over any diesel and way cheaper up front cost. The Ford 6.2 is bulletproof like the 7.3

@Wild Willy
Admittedly I have no experience with diesels, and in no way did I intend to give an opinion at all on HD's. I just saw diesels being introduced by many manufacturers, from 3-4 years back so I thought that it might make a real comeback or the mainstream because of towing and gas mileage benefits to them. With respect to DEF and whatnot being harder on systems because it is oil, I was agreeing with others because I've seem first hand what oil does to things down the line. I wish I could see more facts on Ecodiesel sales, but they don't seem to exist. I speak from some experience of looking over data and people's opinion and first hand engine and transmission rebuilding hobby I've done at different levels exclusive to normally aspirated engines. Nothing with turbos or diesels. Though I did talk to a mechanic replacing a turbo in a tractor the other week, and he said if people were better at warming up or cooling down a turbo engine the turbos would last significantly longer. But the more stuff on an engine the more can go wrong so I understand why so many on this sight like the old fashion V8, as the 5.7L hemi 1500 is.

This is why when you buy a diesel buy a low mileage used one, you will pay the about the same for the gas counterpart new, but the diesel will win out. I dont think I could ever go back to gas after owning a diesel

"With respect to DEF and whatnot being harder on systems because it is oil"

DEF isn't oil. It's water and uric acid.


With a debute at NAIAS Ford will change that by their diesel V6. Soon we will know
I estimate +30 mpg in the light F-150.

This study only compares a diesel alternative compared to the same brand and model truck with a gas engine. This isn't a comparison of brands, only gas vs diesel on the same truck.

I know I have no desire to own the 2.8 Chevy diesel. If I am to drop the money for one of these diesels, I would plan on owning it for a good long time to get my money back out of it.

But unfortunately comma GM decided that a timming belt change at 150,000 miles is ok. Not ok. Actually, I talked to a service writer at a GM dealership and asked him how much the cost was to replace it. His reply was that "Diesels use timming chains" and he continue to tell me how tough the timing chains are in the Duramax HD trucks. I'm sure they're very tough, I haven't heard a thing about one of them failing.

As for this engine here, the 3.0, I think they had some issues overheating maybe the first year and then they increased the radiator capacity? The truck itself obviously needs some real payload, Hemi 1500 truck with less payload then fourteen or fifteen hundred pounds is to me just a little bit weak, although I'm sure the air suspension will hold it, from legal standpoint. If they would update the gross vehicle weight rating, and put progressive coils on the 1500, they'd sell a lot more of them.

I see the people writing in here talking about the 5.9 Dodge. A. Too bad it's not made currently for 2500 & 3500 trucks, and it doesn't run near as clean as this one does. Nor does it get the mileage that the 3.0 does. A different engine for a different situation.

I always laugh at the diesel 3/4 ton vs gas 3/4 ton comparisons. Those are two completely different tools, and yeah the diesel costs 10-15k more so, so no, diesel isnt cost effective as a daily driver no matter how much better fuel economy is with those, and thats just when looking at the initial investment of getting a diesel engine in the truck. That ignores all the fun stuff like 4 gallon (yes gallons not quarts) oil changes, fuel system maintenance, DEF etc etc etc.

It's not the 90's anymore, HD diesel and gas trucks are two completely different tools for completely different jobs, thats why they now have their own category and test criteria in the PUTC shootouts. Sure, they can haul more or less the same amount of payload in the bed, but the tow ratings of the two are vastly different, and you are going to drive that poor gas engine into the ground if you ever try and work it as hard as you would the diesel. So try the math again after you have written of a $50k truck after 100k miles because you drove the wheels off of it trying to do the work of a diesel HD with a gas motor.

If you haul a lot but dont really tow or just drive an HD as a daily driver, then there really is no contest between the two as far as cost of ownership goes.

I believe a diesel Titan XD could be measured up against the lighter gas 3/4 ton pickups.

It would make an interesting test. The diesel might not win any awards for acceleration.

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