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Gas or diesel: Let's do the math

Old Jan 31st, 2003, 01:37 PM
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Michael
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Gas or diesel: Let's do the math

Without having exact specifications for the car, I tried to figure out which is a better rental, gas or diesel. Here's what I come up with.

A Renault Mégane diesel costs $999 for the first 17 days and $22 for each subsequent day (American dollars).

A Mégane gas costs $829 + $20.

Assuming that diesel costs .80 euro per liter and gas .90, with the tank holding 50 liters. If you travel 8000 km., the cost of fuel will be 400 euro for the diesel and 720 euro for the gasoline, a differential of 320 euro. 5000 km, and the cost is 250 and 450 euro respectively for a differential of 200 euro. A car rental for 27 days costs $1219 for a diesel and $1029 for a gas driven car, for a differential of $190; longer rental, bigger differential.

My conclusion is that if you drive less than 5000 km., it probably is not worth getting a diesel except for the convenience of tanking up less frequently. It's also a choice of pollution; are you more worried about global warming or about particulates in your lungs?
 
Old Jan 31st, 2003, 01:38 PM
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Michael
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I forgot one assumption: 800 km per tank of diesel fuel, 500 km per tank of gasoline.
 
Old Jan 31st, 2003, 02:09 PM
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I've rented diesels several times in France and assuming the fuel costs are correct, the other possible variable would be km/ltr. I don't know if they are the same and it would take a significant advantage with diesel to overcome the gap you cite, but I was impressed with the efficiency of the diesel vehicles that I rented. Anyone out there know if the relative fuel economy is the same with diesel and gasoline?
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Old Jan 31st, 2003, 02:11 PM
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You can figure all you want but when the rental car agent says, "this is what we have left." I take it.
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Old Jan 31st, 2003, 02:17 PM
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I took the diesel efficiency from my experience last summer, but it is only an approximation. I only guesstimated the gas mileage. Yes, the distance between gas stations is impressive, but offset by the higher charge for a diesel, at least when it comes to long-term leases. I do not know if daily and weekly rentals have such a differential is rental price.
 
Old Jan 31st, 2003, 02:26 PM
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Two other points, Michael. That is a lot of difference in cost for the Renaults, but as I recall the price difference between a Peugeot 307 gas and a 307 diesel from AutoFrance was much, much less than that, which was one of the things we considered before leasing the diesel. Also the other day a woman was posting here about the diesel/gas question and she finally stated that the rental prices (on a regular rental, not a lease) were the same for the gas as the diesel.

Also Auto France told us we'd get approx. 50 miles to the gallon with our diesel. I thought they probably meant 50 KM, but with all the math conversions from litre to gallon and kilometers to miles, I actually found out they were right. I don't think the mileage would be anywhere near that with the gas version.
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Old Jan 31st, 2003, 06:41 PM
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Usually there is no difference in the rental price of a diesel car vs a gasoline car. With a diesel car around 30% more fuel efficient and diesel fuel costing around 30% less, you are close to halving your running cost by driving diesel.
When leasing a car over longer period, other costs come into equation. There is sometimes a diesel premium on the retail price of a car, but that's disappearing. And in many countries diesel cars are more highly taxed for excise duty (i.e. tax paid to keep car on the road). It is sometimes presented as environmental tax, but the true reason is to compensate for loss of government revenue as diesel cars use less fuel - so generate less fuel tax - for given mileage.
I've owned diesel cars for over 10 years now and there's no way I will go back to gasoline, even though in UK where I live diesel fuel costs about the same as gas. With more torque I find driving more enjoyable and stress-free as I can keep it in high gear most of the time, even if it's heavily laden.
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Old Jan 31st, 2003, 09:32 PM
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When I rented a car from AutoEurope last year, I was given a price. I then requested a diesel with no charge increase and even got an upgrade for no additional charge. It definitly was cheaper driving a diesel and the performance was fine.
 
Old Feb 1st, 2003, 01:06 AM
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Michael:
for Belgium, The Netherlands and France your fuel prices are not correct. The difference between diesel and gas is minimum 0.3 euro.
Gas at this moment (in Belgium) is 1.074 euro ; diesel 0.786 euro.
We've rented in Spain and in Italy and have never paid extra for a diesel.
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Old Feb 1st, 2003, 03:56 AM
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I may be the person to whom Patrick is referring. We rented a diesel 4 x 4 from AutoEurope at no additional cost. We also had the option of a hybrid, at no additional cost.

I drive a diesel here in the U.S. and, while I can get about 50 m.p.g., there are a lot of things that can affect this--city driving (most of my driving is freeway), using the A/C, having a bike rack, tires and proper pressure, and road conditions. In other words--your mileage may vary.

And while particulates are still higher than I'd like them to be, they are much lower with a car (especially direct injection) than with a diesel truck or bus. You'd be most at risk if you were behind the car, not in it.
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Old Feb 1st, 2003, 04:08 AM
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Driving a diesel is OK, but having to be behind one that isn't perfectly tuned is absolute hell.
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Old Feb 1st, 2003, 04:09 AM
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Yes, elle, you are the person, but I couldn't remember the name. I knew you had said that it was no additional charge for the diesel. I'm amazed at that extra charge by Renault if the two Megane are the same except for the diesel vs. the gas. I know several years ago when I compared the Renault lease program with the Peugeot one, I vastly favored the Peugeot one and I think price was a big part of it.
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Old Feb 1st, 2003, 02:12 PM
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diesel fuel is 30% cheaper in fr.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 12:51 AM
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Patrick, I just got a quote from auto-france on the 307, both diesel and gas. Yes, the 307 is cheaper than the Mégane, either because Renault charges more for an equivalent car or because the Mégane is considered a different and higher category car. The difference is about $200 on a 31 day lease. On the other hand, you will be surprised that the quote I received between the gasoline and diesel 307 is $384 for a 31 day lease. I still say that I possibly broke even on a 8000 km trip last summer, but for any lesser distance, financial savings are not the reason why you lease a diesel car. I might add that it took two months and 3 back and forths between Paris and the south of France plus two other long trips to add up to that distance. I think that my fuel prices were reasonable, but if a French reader can go to the next Champion and check on the prices of regular gas and diesel, we can then do the math more accurately.
 
Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 05:05 AM
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Here you go:
(from http://www.le-plein-malin.fr/statistik3.asp)
gazole (=diesel): 0.80 euro
sans plomb 95 (=unleaded gas 95 octane): 1.02 euro
sans plomb 98 (=unleaded gas 98 octane): 1.03 - 1.04 euro
super (=leaded gas): 1.10 euro

Prices are from the last 3 days (i.e. Jan 31 to Feb 2, 2003)
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 05:51 AM
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But now, Michael, do you know the actual mileage you'll get with the diesel compared with the gas? Without that, the rest of the math seems pointless.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 06:15 AM
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Here you go again:
From the Renault website (as I prefer Renault over Peugeot):
Renault Mégane II Berline gas: average 6.8 to 8 liter per 100 km
Renault Mégane II Berline diesel: average 4.6 to 5.4 liter per 100 km

Take the highest values for your calculations. I'm a Renault driver myself and these values are quite accurate.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 09:26 AM
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Michael
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MyriamC, thanks for tbe information on the price of fuel. I'll recompute for myself, and let others do their own math. But I figure that the Mégane diesel gets, according to your figures, about 36 miles to the gallon. The 307 is officially rated at 50 miles per gallon for its best mileage. But fuel efficiency is not the only consideration when choosing a car.

Patrick, I rarely went 50 miles to the gallon with my 307. Going 150 km/hr on the autoroute kills fuel efficiency, as does twisting around small mountain roads. As with American EPA mileage figures, the fuel efficiency of a European car tends to be optimistic compared to real driving. As indicated in the first posting, I assumed 800 km (500 mi.) per tank for diesel and 500km (300 mi.) per tank for gasoline. I don't think that the figures are way out of line although I occasionally managed 900+ km. with the 307 diesel, which holds more than 10 gallons of fuel in the tank.
 
Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 11:02 AM
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Michael, you bring up a good point. At home I always figure I get my best gas mileage on the interstates. But the worst mileage we got in Europe was a very long autostrata trip from Bari to Trieste. I thought I had made a mistake in computing, but I don't think so. And one of the best mileage tanks we got was on some mountainous backroads of Corsica. Guess those are characteristics of diesel cars?
But overall, we really did average very close to 50 miles per gallon with our 307.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2003, 11:31 AM
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Michael
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Patrick,

I do not get my best mileage going 70mph on the Interstate; I get my best on Forest Service dirt roads that limit you to 40 or 45 mph cruising in fifth gear. I believe that the 307 has a 50 liter tank. So you must have gone more than 1000 km. (600+ mi.) on a tank of diesel.
 
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