Diesel vs Gas Vehicles: The Pros and Cons

Diesel vs Gas, Fuel Efficiency, Hauling, Towing, Diesel Vehicles, Maintenance The diesel vs gas debate is as strong as ever. Both camps will argue their points at great length, but is there an actual answer to the question? Well, yes and no. Not all diesel vehicles and gas vehicles are created equal. Motorists have needs, and the automobile type that is best for those needs depends on many, many factors. As a vehicle owner, you must compare fuel efficiency, hauling and towing capacities, and maintenance requirements to find the best fit for your needs. Keep reading for a simple breakdown of the pros and cons of each.

Diesel vs Gas

Diesel Vehicles

Diesel vehicles are known as workhorses in many sectors. Diesel engines exist in commercial vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, light-duty trucks, and passenger automobiles.

Longevity and Durability

In general, diesel engines use more robust engine components due to the higher compression ratios required for combustion. These durable, heavy-duty engines can operate under harder working conditions (for longer durations) than their gasoline engine counterparts. It is common for diesel engines to operate reliably for several hundred thousand miles.

Fuel Efficiency

The fuel efficiency of a diesel engine can vary between light-duty and heavy-duty vehicles. Diesel engines are known to perform best when heavily loaded and for longer distances. For example, a heavily loaded diesel vehicle usually returns a higher mpg than a heavily loaded gas vehicle. 

Fuel prices can certainly affect the efficiency of your vehicle. In the past, diesel fuel was the cheapest option by a large margin. However, diesel fuel can be the same price (or higher) per gallon as gasoline, depending on the time of year and your location. 

Hauling and Towing

Diesel engines provide a lot of torque at low rpms, which is vital when towing heavy loads. Diesel truck engines also have an integrated exhaust braking system. This system helps control the truck and trailer in steep declines or stop & go traffic. The exhaust brake slows down the engine using back pressure from the turbo, which slows the vehicle’s speed. In addition, this extra braking method reduces premature wear on the brake system. Finally, it helps reduce overheating the brakes. 

Maintenance & Repairs

Most diesel engines utilize more specialized components, filters, and fluids than most gas engines. They also have a larger oil reserve which costs a bit more for routine oil changes. Therefore, diesel maintenance can be more involved. However, since diesel engines run at a lower rpm, they experience less wear & tear on the moving components. Less wear on components means replacements are required less frequently under ideal operating conditions.

Diesel Vehicle Performance Summary

There are many benefits to owning a diesel vehicle, but there are a few drawbacks as well. Let’s look at the highlights:

The Pros

  • Very durable, and they run forever
  • Most fuel efficient when heavily loaded and traveling long distances
  • Excellent for towing heavy loads
  • Requires fewer replacement parts
  • Retains a higher resale value (over equivalent gasoline options)

The Cons

  • Can be more expensive to purchase (compared to equivalent gasoline options)
  • May cost more in fuel if infrequently used or only driven for short trips
  • Routine maintenance can be expensive

Diesel vs Gas

Gas Vehicles

Gas vehicles are evolving yearly, with stricter emission regulations and hybrid options becoming the norm. Let’s look at the common attributes of the all-gas vehicles currently in use today.

Longevity and Durability

With proper routine maintenance, gas vehicles can last a long time. However, since gas engines run at a higher rpm, engine components wear out faster than their diesel engine counterparts. The lighter-weight aspects of the gas engine help with size limitations (think of the tiny ‘economy’ cars), but it does come with the cost of more frequent repairs on worn parts. The need for frequent maintenance and replacement parts tends to reduce the longevity of gasoline engines.

Fuel Efficiency and Power Output

The lighter-weight gas engine provides greater fuel efficiency on light-duty vehicles and around-town driving. The gas engine also has fewer emission components than a diesel engine, so that vehicles can be considerably smaller and lighter overall. This can mean more power output in the short term over a similarly sized diesel vehicle. Your driving needs and style may benefit from a gas vehicle if you make frequent short trips and never haul or tow heavy loads.

Maintenance & Repairs

Routine maintenance on gas vehicles is fairly straightforward. Many people change their own oil, replace filters, and perform tire maintenance themselves. There are fewer components to service in a gas vehicle, and the parts are usually less expensive than diesel parts. Unless you drive a high-end, high-performance automobile, you can expect routine maintenance and replacement parts to be less expensive than a diesel. Of course, you may need to perform regular maintenance and replace components more frequently, which can add up over time.

Gas Vehicle Performance Summary

There are many benefits to owning a gas vehicle, but there are also a few drawbacks. Let’s look at the highlights:

The Pros

  • Generally durable with proper maintenance
  • May be cheaper as an initial investment/purchase
  • Most fuel efficient when driving short distances without a heavy load
  • Maintenance is easy to DIY and is less expensive (compared to the equivalent diesel option)

The Cons

  • Resale value may be lower than a diesel option
  • May cost more over time in maintenance and repairs
  • Not the best choice for towing and hauling heavy loads

Finding The Best Vehicle: Diesel vs Gas

When looking at diesel vs. gas, getting the best automobile depends on your needs and expectations. There are good and bad points to all types of vehicles. Your best bet is to weigh your options based on how you plan to use your vehicle and stay within your budget. It would help if you viewed the initial expenditures and maintenance costs over the entire time you plan to own your vehicle.

Diesel vs Gas: Getting The Best Service

A reliable auto service station is key to maintaining your vehicle. Scheduling regular maintenance and making necessary repairs will increase the longevity of any vehicle. So whether you have a diesel engine or a gas engine, bring it to Wentworth Automotive for a comprehensive service. Our ASI-certified technicians have extensive training in all foreign and domestic makes. Visit us online or call us at (858) 541-1044 for more information.