Gasoline or Diesel? How about neither.
Full disclosure, I'm currently forward deployed, I'm tired, & I can't wait to return to my family & the good old USA.
Since I've had a little time off recently, I've been researching vehicle options for my large family. We're splurging as we're finally going to buy a brand new Transit. Call it a "coming home" present for my family.
I've been trying hard to make the case for the PowerStroke diesel option. I've read through many posts here & Orton makes a compelling case against the 3.2 diesel. Based on my research, I hate to say it, but he may be right- fiscally speaking (at least for my family's light-duty intended purposes). But there's more...
First let's look at the return on investment for the Diesel option.
Here are my assumptions:
1. I was hoping the LR diesel would return 23mpg avg (driving like grandpa) vs. roughly 17mpg avg for the 3.7 V6 (based on the info I've gleaned from LR Transit owners on this site)
2. high avg $4.40/gal diesel & $4/gal regular fuel cost (diesel ~10% more than 87 octane historically... yet, on the East Coast this appears to fluctuate from +10% to +36% higher depending on time of year)
3. driving 17,500 miles/yr (70/30 hwy/cty driving based on our twice yearly long distance family treks)
Scenario: year one of driving 17,500 miles:
Diesel consumes 761 gallons x $4.40/gal + 5.25 gallons of DEF fluid @ $3/gal = $3364
assuming 2 fuel filter changes at $150 a pop = $300 (DIY)
2 oil changes 11.6 qts x $8.37/qt = $97.09 x 2 = $194.18 (DIY)
total cost to drive 17,500 miles in a Diesel = $3859
Diesel option cost ~22 cents/mile
3.7 V6 consumes 1029 gallons x $4.00/gal = $4118
assuming 2 oil changes 6.9 qts x $8.19/qt = $56.51 x 2 = $113.02
total cost to drive 17,500 miles in a 3.7 = $4231
3.7 V6 option cost ~24 cents/mile
Diesel savings = $372 /yr or ~2 cents/mile
Even with these very generous assumptions, it would take, at a minimum, over 7yrs (~128,000 driven miles) to recoup the initial $5111 (at invoice) diesel mark up!
Case closed; the diesel option doesn't appear to make much fiscal sense for my family's relatively light duty needs.
However, we need to dig a little deeper:
Consider that a single 42 US gal barrel of crude oil yields about 19 gals of gasoline, 10 gals of diesel, 4 gals of jet fuel, & another 9 gals of other oil products (LPG, plastics, lubes or heating oil). Granted, refineries can tweak their operations to change these numbers a little here & there, but generally speaking, this is what the average 42 gal barrel of oil yields in the US.
So, even though the PowerStroke consumes just 761 gallons of diesel to travel 17,500 miles, the US would have to import 76.1 barrels to produce that much diesel fuel.
Conversely, while the 3.7 V6 consumes significantly more fuel: 1029 gallons of gasoline to drive the same distance, the US would only have to import 54 barrels of crude to produce that much gasoline.
A difference of 22 barrels, or +40% more imported oil for the diesel. That seals the case against a diesel option in our family's light-duty hauler. But wait, there's more... Whether 76 barrels for the diesel or 54 barrels for the 3.7, we haven't stopped importing oil- have we? (& yes, I am aware that most of the US' imported oil comes from the Western hemisphere, namely Canada & Mexico. Yet as the second largest oil consuming nation, our imports deeply impact global prices. Global prices are affected by supply issues, which is why I've spent most of my career helping to "maintain the free flow of 'commerce' through the Straits of Hormuz.")
What is a tired patriot to do? Tired because he & his buddies have spent countless tours & most of their careers protecting & indirectly enriching oil sheiks & their often unsavory benefactors (who we are currently fighting abroad & at home). Sadly, a few of my buddies have paid in life & limb.
There has to be another option. If only the US had an abundant source of clean(er) fuel. Perhaps energy independence would be possible & then we could tell these oil sheiks to literally pack sand.
We do, it's called CNG & the US has more proven reserves than you can shake a stick at!
And lo & behold, Ford offers an optional CNG prep package for the 3.7 V6 for about $300! Sure, it'll cost over $7k to complete the conversion (& you lose some interior space), but I rather have my money stay in the US rather than go overseas. (Did I mention that I'm tired of deploying abroad?)
That the conversion pays for itself within a few years at current CNG vs. diesel vs. gasoline prices is just icing on the cake.
Perhaps if folks all did a little bit more, then maybe my kids (& yours) won't have to deploy overseas as much as we have?
Last edited by RunningtheRace; 06-05-2015 at 05:14:AM.