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Old 09-05-2014, 12:26 AM   #1
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Diesel economics

I am not a diesel hater, but I do question to what extent an ecodiesel wrangler would really make financial sense over the pentastar. Looking at average mixed fuel economy as reported by ram and gc owners, i am seeing low 20s. My jkur auto is basically stock and sees 16 or 17.

Considering the def costs, extra cost of diesel fuel, and higher upfront price, it seems to me there are going to be quite a few wrangler owners that, at least financially speaking, would be better off with the pentastar. Of course, that ultimately also depends on whether the diesel models enjoy substantially higher resale, which remains to be seen.

Performance issues aside, do you agree or disagree? It seems to me that someone doing a lot of towing or 20k plus miles per year might save a few bucks, but probably not the average wrangler owner.

If you want to talk torque and performance, please consider starting a separate thread, I am only asking about the economics.

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Old 09-05-2014, 12:37 AM   #2
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Financially it doesn't make sense from a daily operating cost perspective. However, if you take into account longevity, diesel probably wins. You would need to run a NPV extending out for the lifecycle of both..

The problem with the 3.6L no one knows how long it will actually last.

You can find many examples of the expected life of a diesel engine.

Keep in mind, after ten years, interiors are basically shot... need to include that as one time replacement cost at the ten year mark.

I'm interested to see your results.

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Old 09-05-2014, 12:45 AM   #3
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You make some fair points. let me throw some counterarguments at you, not so much to outright disagree but just to beat this up a bit.

first, I agree diesels tend to last longer, but I do not see how we have any better data on the ecodiesel than on the pentastar. remember the ford 6.0, the gm 5.7 and 6.2? If anything, I would argue the big 3 have had a higher early failure rate with diesel models than gas models.

second, modern gas engines typically last well over 100k anyhow. does the average new wrangler owner keep their jeep long enough to realize any longevity benefit? if so, i think it is more likely to be due to resale value rather than actually keeping their diesel so long that they would have worn out a gas engine.

of course, some folks may very well drive their wrangler 250k miles, and i think those folks are very likely to see savings by paying upfront for a diesel.

I am a 15k per year, trade it in after 5 years kind of guy. Just shooting some projected numbers from the hip, I do not see a real economic benefit to the diesel. In other word, If they make a diesel wrangler, I ought to get it because I want a diesel wrangler, not because I want to save money.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:46 AM   #4
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Actually it would be interesting to look at crd vs gas liberty resale values. Not the same market, but maybe informative.
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Old 09-05-2014, 01:05 AM   #5
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Yes, I agree with mileage vs. lifecycle scenario.. if you calculate the expected depreciation over an average period of ownership, gas probably wins. However, I would counter argue the 3.6L gas engine has an early expected life of 10 vs. 25 years of a diesel equivalent, i.e. V6 3.0L... perhaps one that is used in a commercial environment.

Although this is all hypothetical since we can't order a Wrangler with a robust V6 diesel.

The financials will be interesting to review..

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Old 09-05-2014, 03:46 AM   #6
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Having owned one Diesel pickup truck, I can tell you without a doubt in my mind . I will NEVER own another
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:31 AM   #7
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Low RPM torque.

There is your answer.
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:39 AM   #8
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- torque
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Old 09-05-2014, 07:40 AM   #9
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Liberty CRD resale value is strong to the buyer who wants one.
In June I traded my 2005 Liberty CRD for a new 2014 JKU. On occasion people who knew what I had would ask if I was interested in selling, etc.
The reason I finally sold it was parts availability here in the US. I understand a total count of 1,600 Liberty CRD's were sold herein the US. It got to the point I could not buy an oil filter locally. Had concerns if I went off-roading and something broke, I'd be out of luck getting it running again.
However, I do miss the 335 ft lbs of torque at 1,800 RPM, 25 mpg commute and up to 32 mpg highway.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:38 AM   #10
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I was really bored so I ran some calculations on excel. There are assumptions made and a lot of variables so bare with me. I used data from the 2014 RAM 1500 4x4. Since the newest ones are mated with the 8 speed transmissions, this should run a very close comparison to how the 2018 Wrangler's should be. Sorry if the formatting is off.

First the basics. I approximate the average MPG using an equation that's yielded me close results in the past to observed #'s. It's (City+Highway)/2 *.94

------------------HP---Tq--City-Highway---~Avg MPG
3.6L Pentastar V6 -305--269-16-----23---------18.3
3.0L Ecodiesel-----240--420-19-----27---------21.6

Upgrade Cost of 3.0 EcoDiesel from a 3.6L = $4000

Weekly Average Gas and Diesel Fuel Prices - Consumer Reports
Fuel Price of 87 3.52 Dollars Per Gallon
Fuel Price of Diesel 3.85 Dollars Per Gallon

Using the above information, you can find the cost per mile of each engine.
Pentastar Dollars / Mile $0.19
Ecodiesel Dollars / Mile $0.178

Finally you're left with 2 equations
Pentastar Cost = .19 * Miles
Ecodiesel Cost = 4000 + .178 * Miles

Which means you won't see the prices intersect until roughly 290,000 miles. This means that for the average driver if fuel prices stay the same, the ecodiesel might not ever save you money.

This does not take into account price fluctuations, maintenance, performance, different gearing selections, elevation, or resale value. Driving far more on the freeway or city will change these calculations as well.

In closing, buy what you like
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:41 AM   #11
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Very nice post, gojcaj.
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:46 AM   #12
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Old 09-05-2014, 08:58 AM   #13
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Why model the fuel consumption on the 3.0 diesel, the engine fitted to the rest of the world is the 2.8l, 4 cylinder CRD (200bhp and 500NM of torque). Mine has never dropped below 24.9mpg but equally has never bettered 30mpg (UK gallons). the slightly lower spec 177bhp can squeak up to 33mpg.

I'd also dispute the longevity of the modern diesel. The very high pressure injection systems and pumps fitted on modern engines make repair uneconomical. Lots of SUV/ crew cabs in the UK are being scrapped long before the rest of the car gives up because repairs cost too much.

Now a 3.6 petrol running on LPG (true gas), now that's a thought!
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Old 09-05-2014, 09:47 AM   #14
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Why model the fuel consumption on the 3.0 diesel, the engine fitted to the rest of the world is the 2.8l, 4 cylinder CRD (200bhp and 500NM of torque). Mine has never dropped below 24.9mpg but equally has never bettered 30mpg (UK gallons). the slightly lower spec 177bhp can squeak up to 33mpg.

I'd also dispute the longevity of the modern diesel. The very high pressure injection systems and pumps fitted on modern engines make repair uneconomical. Lots of SUV/ crew cabs in the UK are being scrapped long before the rest of the car gives up because repairs cost too much.

Now a 3.6 petrol running on LPG (true gas), now that's a thought!
I personally don't think the American market will tolerate an engine with less than 240 HP or so. It was one thing when the 3.8 was the only game in town, you wanted a Wrangler, you dealt with driving a slug. For the average US Wrangler owner, I think a 285 hp gas engine would vastly outsell a 200 HP diesel.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:03 AM   #15
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I spent about 6 years in the fleet business where a majority of leases were light duty work trucks. (Light duty in the automotive business is defined as 1500, 2500, and 3500 (or equivalent) trucks). Our recommendation was that IF YOU DIDN'T NEED THE TORQUE TO TOW ON A DAILY BASIS, THE GAS BURNER WAS THE WAY TO GO, the financial numbers just didn't work out with a diesel in our cases. People never seem to remember the very high maintenance cost when doing the comparisons, usually only factoring the fuel and upfront cost. Oil and filter(s) changes are much more expensive (say goodbye to a $25 oil change) and although the interval is longer, the costs are much higher. Would I own a dega-dega Wrangler? Probably so, but saving money wouldn't be the motivation to buy one.....I think it would just be COOL.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:04 AM   #16
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I own a ram ecodiesel the tq is amazing and I have averaged 25.3 mpg over 17,000 miles
Oil changed every 10,000 miles
Re sale and longitivity of engine
In the GC my uncle has one he is averaging 28mpg over 7500 miles
It all depends on driving style
Yes the upfront cost is more
But the resale will be more
DEF cost me $15 every 7000 miles you fill up at truck pumps it's a lot cheaper

Now each person will have a different opinion but the fact is if you want has buy gas if you want diesel buy diesel

Look at Europe 80% diesel vehicles on the road
America is slowly going to that trend
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:13 AM   #17
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I recently had to drive a rented 2014 Volkswagen Passat with a turbo diesel engine and I was very surprised by the performance of that engine. The car had fantastic acceleration and it was so quiet that I did not even realize it was a diesel until I got out and I noticed the TDI badge on the car. The Passat got 39 mpg. Now I do not know what gas milage a diesel Jeep would get but I would bet it would be better than the 15 mpg I currently get. I would definitely buy a diesel Jeep Wrangler.
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Old 09-05-2014, 10:16 AM   #18
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For me-Low end grunt, a longer lasting more durable engine, no cylinder head issues that I'm aware of. That's what I like. Fuel savings for me vs. cost of the engine, I'd probably take 20 years to see the savings. It would have to be a V6D though, I'd pass up on a 4 cyl diesel.
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Old 09-05-2014, 11:04 AM   #19
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I am not a diesel hater, but I do question to what extent an ecodiesel wrangler would really make financial sense over the pentastar. Looking at average mixed fuel economy as reported by ram and gc owners, i am seeing low 20s. My jkur auto is basically stock and sees 16 or 17.

Considering the def costs, extra cost of diesel fuel, and higher upfront price, it seems to me there are going to be quite a few wrangler owners that, at least financially speaking, would be better off with the pentastar. Of course, that ultimately also depends on whether the diesel models enjoy substantially higher resale, which remains to be seen.

Performance issues aside, do you agree or disagree? It seems to me that someone doing a lot of towing or 20k plus miles per year might save a few bucks, but probably not the average wrangler owner.

If you want to talk torque and performance, please consider starting a separate thread, I am only asking about the economics.
I would argue that a Diesel Wrangler is not a better financial decision over the petrol version. In fact I looked very deeply into this in 2013 when I traded my 2010.

I purchased the petrol version.

I cannot know exactly how things are anywhere else and my reasoning is based on prices here, but here are a few of my previous findings.

Diesel costs more per litre than petrol today.
Diesel =2.33 US Dollars per litre (8.82 US Dollars per gallon)
Petrol = 1.98 US Dollars litre (7.50 US Dollars per gallon)

The stated litres per 100 kilometres on Jeeps website are:
Diesel 8.8
Petrol 11.7
(Although I calculate mine consistently at 10.4)

The Diesel option itself costs over 50,000 SEK which equates with 7071.11 US Dollars today.

Annual tax (going by memory here)
Diesel = appx. 7000 SEK (990.01 US Dollars)
Petrol = appx. 2750 SEK (388.93 US Dollars)

Service Costs
Diesel = appx. 6500 SEK (919.30 US Dollars)
Petrol = appx. 3000 SEK (424.29 US Dollars)
(Just the oil change is expensive here!)

So add in the average number of miles that you drive per year and convert to kilometres and you'll see why I chose the petrol variant.

The main roads are salted here so nobody is going to keep a daily driver for over ten years - it's rusted carcass couldn't pass the annual inspections. So there is no reason to consider the engine's longevity; although I seriously doubt a modern diesel and a modern petrol engine differ that much in longevity. Plus Diesel engine maintenance, repair, and replacement parts are more expensive as well.

Thus I concluded that it did not make sense for me to buy a diesel version Wrangler.

I didn't need the added torque (in its limited range).

I did not need the wonderful ticktyticktick of a diesel (yes, the modern diesels still do it even though they are a bit quieter when brand spanking new)

I did not see how a slight increase in fuel economy (mpg) could offset the increase in fuel cost (which we all know has not yet reached its highest point)

Diesel engines cause more (and well proven) health issues than petrol (although petrol isn't so great either)

But mostly it was because with the number of miles that I drive each year and the fact that I trade vehicles at around the three year mark...

...it would have cost well over half again as much as the petrol to have the diesel!

Diesel engines do have some admirable qualities - perhaps even desirable for some folk; but for my needs (and for my money!) it did not make financial sense.


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Old 09-05-2014, 11:22 AM   #20
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Which means you won't see the prices intersect until roughly 290,000 miles. This means that for the average driver if fuel prices stay the same, the ecodiesel might not ever save you money.

This does not take into account price fluctuations, maintenance, performance, different gearing selections, elevation, or resale value. Driving far more on the freeway or city will change these calculations as well.
What I was looking for... it would take me 30 years to get to 290,000 miles.

Not an option I would select unless they downsized the gas V6 to an intolerable level.. i.e. 3.0L. I would also most likely spend the $4,000 on a Hemi conversion at that point.

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Old 09-05-2014, 11:58 AM   #21
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I personally don't think the American market will tolerate an engine with less than 240 HP or so. It was one thing when the 3.8 was the only game in town, you wanted a Wrangler, you dealt with driving a slug. For the average US Wrangler owner, I think a 285 hp gas engine would vastly outsell a 200 HP diesel.
In low range, off road, horsepower means nothing. It is torque from idle that matters.

The 3.6L makes 260 lb/ft of torque, but at 4600 RPM. You simply don't spin that fast in low range if you want to preserve your drivetrain. The horsepower peaks at 6400 RPM. 6400 RPM is useless offroad except perhaps in mudbog competitions.

The 3.0L in the Grand Cherokee makes 240HP at 3600 RPM and 420 lb/ft at 2000 RPM. Those are power numbers that make off roaders salivate.

Torque also makes a huge difference in towing, although the towing limits on a Wrangler are stability and wheelbase related, not power related. A 3.6L Wrangler Unlimited can easily pull more than 3000lb, but the track/wheelbase/height and Class 3 hitch dictate 3000lb as the limit.

The better MPG would simply be a side benefit. The power characteristics are what would sell a diesel in the Wrangler.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:16 PM   #22
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In low range, off road, horsepower means nothing. It is torque from idle that matters.

The 3.6L makes 260 lb/ft of torque, but at 4600 RPM. You simply don't spin that fast in low range if you want to preserve your drivetrain. The horsepower peaks at 6400 RPM. 6400 RPM is useless offroad except perhaps in mudbog competitions.

The 3.0L in the Grand Cherokee makes 240HP at 3600 RPM and 420 lb/ft at 2000 RPM. Those are power numbers that make off roaders salivate.

Torque also makes a huge difference in towing, although the towing limits on a Wrangler are stability and wheelbase related, not power related. A 3.6L Wrangler Unlimited can easily pull more than 3000lb, but the track/wheelbase/height and Class 3 hitch dictate 3000lb as the limit.

The better MPG would simply be a side benefit. The power characteristics are what would sell a diesel in the Wrangler.
At least with a 4:1 low transfer case, there is absolutely no need for more low end grunt for offroading purposes. Maybe more convenient, easier, need less driving effort, but you aren't going anywhere with a diesel that you can't get with the gas engine if it is geared properly.

Same with towing, really, horsepower is in fact going to determine which engine accelerates a load more quickly. With the gas engine, you just have to downshift. The caveat there is first gear, in which case the diesel wins hands down. Once you are past 30 mph or so, you kick a 285 HP gas engine into first gear and it will walk a 240 HP diesel engine all day regardless of the load. At 260 HP, the diesel starts to get a little closer because it has a broader power curve and doesn't fall off as much at the shift points. Either way, make no mistake, it is power, not torque, that determines how fast WORK is accomplished.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:21 PM   #23
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For me-Low end grunt, a longer lasting more durable engine, no cylinder head issues that I'm aware of. That's what I like. Fuel savings for me vs. cost of the engine, I'd probably take 20 years to see the savings. It would have to be a V6D though, I'd pass up on a 4 cyl diesel.
I'm in the same camp as you Andrew. I wouldn't take the I4D either.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:21 PM   #24
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...The power characteristics are what would sell a diesel in the Wrangler.
True enough, those who need that power will pay the associated higher costs to get it; if it isn't the current 4 cylinder that is available in 'the rest of the world' anyway. They'll also get fuel that can freeze and a heater that might start to get warmish before they arrive at their destination along with the numerous other diesel downsides.

But then again, this thread was concerned with the economics rather than performance aspects of a diesel engine in a Wrangler.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:27 PM   #25
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True enough, those who need that power will pay the associated higher costs to get it; if it isn't the current 4 cylinder that is available in 'the rest of the world' anyway. They'll also get fuel that can freeze and a heater that might start to get warmish before they arrive at their destination along with the numerous other diesel downsides.

But then again, this thread was concerned with the economics rather than performance aspects of a diesel engine in a Wrangler.
Yeah I should not have gone down that road myself. I am a big fat hypocrite.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:32 PM   #26
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Yeah I should not have gone down that road myself. I am a big fat hypocrite.
Had you not 82much you wouldn't be fat - don't have any suggestions on the hypocrisy thing, unfortunately.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:33 PM   #27
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Had you not 82much you wouldn't be fat - don't have any suggestions on the hypocrisy thing, unfortunately.
I ate a baby. Sorry.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:38 PM   #28
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Just a few years ago it made a lot more sense. My BIL bought a new F-250 diesel in 1999. At that time it was his only real option for a 4 door full size and wasn't priced that much more than a gas burner. Fuel mileage was 3-4 mpg better and diesel fuel was considerably cheaper than gas. Even though he rarely tows anything heavy, it made sense 15 years ago. He is still driving the truck BTW, but says his next won't be a diesel.

EPA pollution standards have killed diesels MPG advantage and done the same for the cost. If you need one to tow with they make sense, but that is about it today.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:39 PM   #29
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I drove a CRD Liberty for a couple years with the I4 diesel. That thing could really scoot, returned terrific fuel economy, and had terrific driving characteristics. Only sold it because my neighbor at the time wanted it to pull his boat and offered me $5k more than it was worth.

I'd say the same diesel would very adequately propel the wrangler, and the low end torque would, I imagine, be a boon for off-roaders. Although I wonder if an automatic would be necessary to keep the turbo spinning off-road. I wonder if a manual would be more difficult in that scenario.
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Old 09-05-2014, 12:43 PM   #30
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I'm a broke college kid who pays for everything in cash. So my view might now hold much weight, but here it goes anyway.

I was in a dark, dark place considering trading the jeep for something better fuel wise to cut into my delivery driving profit less and be a better commuter for I-95. Jeep is paid off so I could really crossover to anything and it seemed like a lot of my options required premium. Doing some dirty math, the $3.65 per gallon @ 12-14mpg cost the same the $4 per gallon @ 20mpg of some vehicles in terms of fuel cost (how many miles I could travel per dollar spent). Anything above that and it was an improvement. Now, diesel cost pretty much the same as premium in my area. Diesel also gets much better than 20mpg, so ignoring up front costs and maintenance it would be cheaper. How I have it mapped out at least.
Now being a studen, outside of my loans I guess my finances are pretty short sighted. IMO though once that up front cash is gone, it's gone. You'll never be thinking about it again and it won't play a role in your future finances since it was set aside specifically for this purchase. So going to the future, the increased fuel efficiency is savings vs. if you had a gasser. Then it's just will the additional cost of maintenance for diesel be covered by the savings of the higher MPG's?

Just typing as it comes to mind sitting here lol. In my little world it seems like it would be a wash and it's just whatever power curve you prefer.

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