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Old 05-15-2015, 08:57 AM   #1
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Fuel Economy

So, in case you didn't read my intro thread, I'm shopping for a bus. I think I found a good Oklahoma bus and am thinking of taking a look at it next week when I'm up there. The problem is that it runs on gasoline.

I'm trying to do a quick break-even analysis and wanted to run some numbers by yall to see if I'm on track.

I'm assuming that a 6 window diesel bus (GVWR under 26k) will probably get around 12 mpg. The same bus with a gas engine I'm assuming will get 8 mpg. I'm also assuming a gas cost of $2.50/gal and a diesel cost of $3/gal. I think I'll probably put around 2,500 miles on the bus per year.

That equates to the gas bus costing ~$150 more per year in fuel. I assume that after parts and maintenance the gas bus will cost about as much as the diesel (maybe less).

Am I out of line with my assumptions? Any input would be appreciated.

Thanks,


-Austin


PS: I'm a newbie, so I don't think it'll be easy to post a link. But take a look at the 1989 Chevy bus for $2,500 on the Oklahoma City Craigslist page. It looks like it's built on a medium duty truck chassis. I'm not talking about a van-bus here.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:09 AM   #2
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Don't have any specific stats to offer but can assure you that given reasonable maintenance, the diesel will prove to be much more cost effective than that. Most of the v-8 gas buses I have seen were doing well to get 4-6 mpg and required much, much more in maintenance costs over time. A properly tuned diesel (most likely a 6 cylinder in that sized bus) can get around 14 unless lead footed. I have "heard of" a number of similar rigs put together by mpg fanatics that can get about 20 with the right gearing and tires.

Bottom Line: If the economic benefits weren't real and compelling, most commercial OTR operators would be driving gasoline rigs instead of diesel.

My two cents.
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Old 05-15-2015, 09:56 AM   #3
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My 1985 Thomas/Ford got about 3 or 4 mpg. On the highway even.
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Old 05-15-2015, 10:43 AM   #4
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I have had a lot of experience going thousands of miles in buses over the last forty years.

I know that fuel mileage numbers vary with experience but I think you are way over optimistic on fuel mileage expectations. The spread between gas and diesel in a medium duty will be about the same but you need to revise both down about 2 MPG.

I have seen some Blue Bird TC2000 buses with the 5.9L and AT540 that got 10-11 MPG. But those were relatively light buses running on relatively flat routes going less than 35 MPH. On trips they would actually use more fuel per mile--frontal area and speed eat up a lot of fuel.

The best fuel mileage we ever experienced with a gas powered bus was a 1979 IHC S-Series with the MV404 and 5-speed direct with a 12-row Carpenter body. On trips it consistently got 7.5 MPG. It was geared to a top speed of 67 MPH and would cruise easily at 55-60 MPH. The same bus with an automatic got 5.5 MPG doing the same stuff. The same basic bus with an MV446 got 4 MPG doing the same stuff.

Most DT466 equipped buses with a top speed of 57 MPH got 7-8 MPG.

Most 5.9L equipped buses with a top speed of 70 MPH got 8-9 MPG.

Most Cat 3208(T) equipped buses with a top speed of 70 MPH got 7-8 MPG.

Most 6.9/7.3/T444(E) equipped buses with a top speed of 65 MPH got 7-8 MPG.

As with everything else, your results might be different.
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:03 AM   #5
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Right on, all drivers are different regarding fuel mileage.

On a trip I drove my brother's PU after he got tired and got 1/3 better MPG, slower speed though.

Our 5.9 powered TC1000 is at 11.5 right now avg. I am a very conservative driver and cruise at 55. Most miles have been towing 4500 lbs. with very little long hwy. runs. Our TC weighs just under 20K.
I have a Scan gauge D and watching the current mpg really helps make you aware.
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Old 05-15-2015, 11:21 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input guys. I think I'll pass on the gas bus. Using the assumed fuel prices and Tango's estimates I got about $1,000 more expensive per 2,500 miles driven with the gas bus. Using Cowlitz's more optimistic numbers it was more like $400. I'd venture to guess that the real number is somewhere between the two.

I'll keep looking.
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Old 05-15-2015, 03:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cowlitzcoach View Post
I have had a lot of experience going thousands of miles in buses over the last forty years.

I know that fuel mileage numbers vary with experience but I think you are way over optimistic on fuel mileage expectations. The spread between gas and diesel in a medium duty will be about the same but you need to revise both down about 2 MPG.

I have seen some Blue Bird TC2000 buses with the 5.9L and AT540 that got 10-11 MPG. But those were relatively light buses running on relatively flat routes going less than 35 MPH. On trips they would actually use more fuel per mile--frontal area and speed eat up a lot of fuel.

The best fuel mileage we ever experienced with a gas powered bus was a 1979 IHC S-Series with the MV404 and 5-speed direct with a 12-row Carpenter body. On trips it consistently got 7.5 MPG. It was geared to a top speed of 67 MPH and would cruise easily at 55-60 MPH. The same bus with an automatic got 5.5 MPG doing the same stuff. The same basic bus with an MV446 got 4 MPG doing the same stuff.

Most DT466 equipped buses with a top speed of 57 MPH got 7-8 MPG.

Most 5.9L equipped buses with a top speed of 70 MPH got 8-9 MPG.

Most Cat 3208(T) equipped buses with a top speed of 70 MPH got 7-8 MPG.

Most 6.9/7.3/T444(E) equipped buses with a top speed of 65 MPH got 7-8 MPG.

As with everything else, your results might be different.

Do you have estimated numbers for the DTA360, Cowlitz? I know a guy around here absolutely loves them. Underpowered, but supposedly they sip on the fuel likes its a 20 year Scotch.. savouring every drop
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Old 05-15-2015, 08:39 PM   #8
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Your gas bus will get a solid 8-9 MPG...if you leave the engine off and push it off of a cliff. LOL. Sorry, couldn't help myself. I think the message is clear that a diesel will give you much better fuel mileage. There are so many buses out there with good engines, why compromise only to get bled dry every time you take a trip.
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Old 05-16-2015, 07:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jazty View Post
Do you have estimated numbers for the DTA360, Cowlitz? I know a guy around here absolutely loves them. Underpowered, but supposedly they sip on the fuel likes its a 20 year Scotch.. savouring every drop
i have that engine. got 13mpg from south louisiana to northeast oklahoma. at545 and 478 gears in 66 passenger IH bus.
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Old 05-16-2015, 11:47 AM   #10
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I have no personal experience with the DT(A)360.

What I have been told is it performs pretty much like the Cummins 5.9L.

I would guess it would be in the 9-12 MPG range depending on load, speed, and terrain.
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