With gas prices so low, will driving a TDI Clean Diesel still save you money at the pump? Good question. Let’s see if some simple arithmetic can’t help provide us an answer.
We’ll start with diesel.
Current Diesel Prices:
55L/tank * $1.05/L = $57.75/tank of diesel
Normal Diesel Prices:
55L/tank * $1.35/L = $74.35/tank of diesel
Current oil prices result in a $16.60 savings per tank of diesel.
Now let’s look at gas.
Current Gas Prices:
55L/tank * $0.95/L = $52.25/tank of gas
Normal Gas Prices:
55L/tank * $1.25/L = $68.75/tank of gas
Current oil prices result in a $16.50 savings per tank of gas.
What do these fuel prices mean in dollars/year?
Again, we’ll start with diesel.
Yearly diesel costs at current prices:
TDI fuel economy = 5.5L/100km, which equals 1000km/tank
Average km/year for average Canadian driver = 20,000km
20,000km/1000km = 20 tanks of diesel/year
20 tanks * $57.75/tank = $1155/year for diesel at current fuel prices
Yearly diesel costs at normal prices:
20 tanks * $74.35/tank = $1487/year for diesel at current fuel prices
This same reasoning can be applied to gas:
Yearly gas costs at current prices:
Gas (1.8L Turbo) fuel economy = 7.2L/100km, which equals 764km/tank
20,000km/764km = 26 tanks of gas/year
26 tanks * $52.25/tank = $1358.50/year for gas at current fuel prices
Yearly gas costs at normal prices:
26 tanks * $68.75/tank = $1787.50/year for gas at normal fuel prices
So what does this all mean?
Well at the moment, the average, say, Golf TDI Diesel driver will save $203.50/year over the average Golf 1.8L Gas driver. When fuel prices return to normal—which they no doubt will—the TDI driver will save $300.50 over the 1.8L driver.
Said another way, diesel prices need to be 23.6% higher than gas prices (meaning ~30 cents normally, or ~22 cents currently) for the TDI driver to spend the same fuel money per year as the 1.8L gas driver. The usual spread in diesel and gas prices is 8%, meaning that even in light of low fuel prices, the TDI driver stands to save money over the gas driver for the foreseeable future. Exactly how much will vary depending on how many kilometers/year are driven: those who drive more 20,000km/year stand to save more than the numbers presented here, while those who drive less than 20,000km/year stand to save less.