Car sales may be down, but people who are looking for a new ride would do well to consider diesel and hybrid vehicles if they want a lower cost of ownership in the long-term. IntelliChoice.com has released its fourth annual survey of eco-friendly vehicles and has found that standard gasoline cars, while often less expensive up front, just aren't a good deal when compared to clean diesels and hybrids.
IntelliChoice looked at 2009 model year diesels and hybrids and found that, after five years or 70,000 miles, these powerplants cost less than simple ICEs. The survey looked at overall maintenance costs and resale value in addition to fuel savings. Since hybrids and clean diesels are built and sold as top-of-the-line models, IntelliChoice says, they keep their resale value up. Of the 51 cars tested, 35 "deliver a cost-of-ownership that is somewhat or significantly lower than gasoline versions of the same vehicle," said IntelliChoice editor James Bell. Bell singled out the VW Jetta TDI and Mercedes Benz E320 as diesel vehicles that "perform even better than hybrids in saving thousands of dollars in costs and recouping their purchase premium."
CNBC pulls some numbers from the report that show that, for example, the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI may cost an extra $2,070 up front, but it will save the owner $6,210 over five years compared to the standard Jetta. A 2009 Prius costs $1,805 more than a new Camry, but the savings will be $4,930 during the half decade. You can download the study here (PDF).