Purchasing a new bus can be overwhelming. Yes, that gasoline-powered bus has a lower purchase price, but will you get anything for it when it comes time to sell? Yes, the propane to run that propane-powered bus is dirt cheap right now, but does this really offset the higher initial cost?
There are so many variables to consider, and it’s virtually impossible to know what truly is the “right” decision. What we can tell you for sure, though, is that it’s important to look at ALL of the variables. Basing your decision solely on the initial purchase price or the fuel cost is never a good idea. It’s important to look at all of the costs that you will incur over the entire life of the bus - the total cost of ownership. Here are five variables for you to consider:
1. Fuel Cost
When considering fuel costs, it’s easy to look at a cost comparison and think that the answer is obvious. We may think that because a fuel option is the least expensive, that it must be the best option. This is often not the case. Fuel costs are ever changing. Just consider the fluctuations in gas prices over the last 10 years. The one thing that we can be sure of is that fuel costs will rise and fall, and if we base our entire purchasing decision around this one variable then we are playing a risky game.
2. Fuel Economy
Another tricky part of fuel costs is that it’s not entirely determined by the cost of the fuel. You must also consider the fuel economy to get an accurate picture of your total fuel cost. Clean diesel is by far the most efficient type of fuel, so it can be easy to get caught up in the cost of diesel and lose sight of the overall picture. Thomas Built Buses states, “On average a clean-diesel school bus engine provides up to 50 percent better fuel economy than any other similar-sized gasoline, propane or compressed natural gas engine. What this means is that other fuels could technically have to cost 50 percent less than clean-diesel in order to achieve fuel cost savings.” Wow! That really changes the math when you consider all of the variables.
3. Bus Purchase Price
The most straightforward of all the variables, the bus purchase price is simply the amount that you must pay initially to purchase the bus. People tend to base a lot of their purchasing decisions on this variable, often opting for less expensive gas-powered buses. While this might feel a little easier on the budget at the time, it is important to remember that lower initial cost and lower cost of ownership are not the same thing. This is something that many people don’t realize until they are knee dip in expensive maintenance bills or they are trying to replace a bus and getting little to no value out of their existing vehicle.
Anyone that’s ever owned any type of vehicle knows that maintenance can be expensive. Buses operating on different fuel types require different maintenance schedules, some of which are more expensive than others. It’s important to do your research and know the associated costs of any regular maintenance items. For example, gasoline- and propane-powered buses need regular ignition tune-ups. This maintenance is much more costly than the DEF fluid and filter changes regularly required of diesel buses. Not to mention the fact that the new Detroit™ DD5™ clean-diesel engines can go up to 45,000 miles or one year whichever comes first between oil changes.
5. Resale Value
Most people plan to sell their buses at some point or another, whether it’s to upgrade to new, safer equipment or to avoid costly maintenance bills. More than any other time, this is when buyers will wish that they had spent the extra money to purchase a clean diesel bus. To put it simply, the thriving resale market for clean diesel buses is non-existent when it comes to buses of other fuel types. With a clean diesel bus you can expect to receive a significant amount of money back at the end of the bus’ life, money that can then be reinvested back into newer equipment helping to offset the higher initial cost.
When you take into account all of these factors, clean diesel buses quickly rise to the top. They may not have the cheapest initial purchase price, but they make up for it in terms of fuel economy and operating range. They also boast the highest resale values in the market. These factors tip the scale in their favor, and make clean diesel buses an extremely cost effective option for your next bus purchase.
So if you’re in the market for a new bus for your fleet, look no further than the clean diesel buses offered at Kerlin Bus Sales. We’ve been helping clients go green and save green since 1927, and we have a wide selection of new and used buses to meet any need and budget. Our friendly staff will help you consider all of the variables to find the perfect match for your school or organization. Drop us a line at (260) 352-2722 today!