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Diesel Trucks Vs Gas Trucks

Unfortunately, determining whether a gas or diesel truck is right for you is not a cut and dry question. Each comes with it’s own advantages and drawbacks. Here’s a look at some of the most common areas you may be considering and which engine is better suited towards each.

COST TO BUY

 
Winner – Gasoline

Gas trucks are typically $5000-$8000 cheaper than diesel trucks for class 3 and 4 trucks. Diesel trucks make more sense for those driving a lot of miles each year. This number is often set around 30,000 miles annual. Above this number and a diesel truck may be more cost effective for you.

COST PER GALLON OF FUEL

 
Winner – Gasoline

As of 2011, the previous 14 years saw the average price of gasoline nearly 14 cents lower than diesel fuel.

FUEL EFFICIENCY

 
Winner – Diesel

The US Dept of Energy states that diesel engines can be 30-35% more fuel efficient than their gasoline counterparts. Diesel fuel has a higher density of “energy” within the fuel itself which means that less fuel is needed to generate the same power as a gasoline engine.

MAINTENANCE COST

 
Winner – Gasoline

Typically, diesel engines cost more to maintain than gas motors. This can be attributed to the extra components on a diesel engine that are not found on gas engines, as well as the need to change filters more frequently. Diesel motors also tend to have a higher oil capacity meaning more is needed during each oil change.

ENGINE LIFE

 
Winner – Diesel

Diesel motors are designed to last many more miles than a gasoline motor. It’s not uncommon to see diesel trucks still on the road with 500,000 miles or more, whereas the design life of a gasoline motor is closer to the 200k range.


TOWING CAPACITY

 
Winner – Diesel

Diesel trucks are the clear winner in terms of towing. It’s not that gasoline motors can’t tow or haul as much of a payload, but diesel engines just do it better. Since diesel motors generate all it’s power and torque at low RPMs, this give the diesel an advantage at pulling heavy loads especially up steep grades. Also, if you plan on repeatedly towing heavy loads with a gasoline engine, it may reduce engine life.

RESALE VALUE

 
Winner – Diesel

Since a diesel truck often last twice as many miles or more as a gas engine, a diesel truck with 200k miles will command a much higher price than a gas truck with the same number of miles. After all, the diesel truck has plenty of life remaining while the gasoline engine is nearing the end of its expected lifespan. For that reason, buying will pay more for a used diesel truck than a gas truck with comparable miles.

ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

 
Winner – Similar, no winner

Diesel trucks used to pollute the air more than gas trucks, but the two are pretty even these days. Recent regulations by the EPA have made this much less of an issue today. For new trucks that meet the latest emissions standards, neither has a clear advantage.

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