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Ford Gas vs. Freightliner Diesel Step Van - Part 1

June 19, 2012

Gas vs. Diesel

In recent years, we have seen a noticeable shift in demand for gasoline powered step van vehicles from FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery independent contractors and ISPs. In our opinion here at ISP Fleet, we think that both platforms have a time and place within the parcel delivery business and it might be helpful to go over some differences as well as similarities of what is available on the market today.

When it comes to step vans, the two readily available options as of the date of this article are Ford step vans and Freightliner step vans. The Ford’s version is offered with three chassis options, which are all gas powered. Freightliner’s FCCC chassis is also offered in three configurations and can be either diesel or gas powered.

We think it’s important to point out that regardless of who the chassis manufacturer is on your step van, if your truck was manufactured within the last eight years, it will most likely have either a Utilimaster or Morgan Olson body.

Strength and Weaknesses of the Ford Gas Step Vans

The most noticeable advantage of the step vans built on the Ford chassis is the price. Typically, the cost of these trucks is $13K - $16K less than their Freightliner diesel counterparts. The savings however, don’t end there. When doing the math on which option is more economical, consider the maintenance part of the ownership equation. Although we haven’t crunched the numbers, but the reality is that maintenance on any gas powered vehicle is generally less costly than a diesel one and when you factor in the number of authorized Ford dealers with the number of Freightliner shops, it’s not hard to see why keeping your Ford step van on the route will be less expensive than the Freightliner.

Another often overlooked advantage is the driver comfort. The Ford gas engine offers a significantly quieter cab and the lighter GVWR of the E350 and E450 chassis translates to a smother and less bouncy ride, which reduces the driver fatigue.

There are however some aspects of the Ford chassis that fall short when compared to the Freightliner FCCC MT35, MT45 and MT55. We will discuss these shortcomings in detail in the Part 2 of this article next month.