Mechanic Advisor

Pros and Cons of Diesel Trucks vs. Gas Trucks

Posted April 21, 2014 by Ken Kupchik

Anyone researching a the purchase of a new truck will likely take some time and consider purchasing a diesel. While most people think of Diesel as the name of the tattooed bodybuilder at their gym, there is an very loyal diesel truck fan-base in the world of trucking, and they espouse the benefits of moving on from gas as if it were their religion. But is it a better idea to go for a diesel truck or stick with the tried and true? We wanted to take a look at the intricacies of both to help you make your decision.


1)  Better mileage - Diesel engines provide excellent gas mileage for your truck. A diesel engine will typically get 25 to 30 percent better fuel economy than similar gasoline engines. 

2) Energy density - Diesel fuel contains more useable energy than gasoline, which makes it one of the most efficient and energy-dense. For these reasons, it delivers better fuel economy.

3) Ruggedness and durability - Due to the rigors of higher compression, diesel trucks engined are built more ruggedly, and are able to withstand more abuse. In theory, this means that they should be able to last much longer than a gasoline-powered truck, meaning that you could get more for your money.

4) More torque - A diesel engine provides much more torque to the drive-shaft than a gasoline engine. For a truck, this means you're able to tow or haul more weight without having to sacrifice poor fuel economy in the process.

5) No tune-ups -
Diesel trucks have no spark-plugs or distributors, need we say more?


1) Price of Diesel -
Diesel fuel used to be significantly more affordable than it currently is. Prices have risen and there's no longer a big difference between the two, thereby reducing one of the major benefits of choosing diesel. Even with a higher price, however, diesel is still more fuel efficient.

2) Cost of Repairs - Because a diesel engine is more advanced, and there are specific mechanics trained to work on them, you're likely to pay more for repairs in the event of a breakdown, or other issues. Since there are significantly fewer diesel techs out there, they will charge more for services as they're more in demand and considered specialists.

3) Performance - While diesel engines are tough, they aren't necessarily faster, at least in the conventional sense. A diesel engine is more suited for longer, sustained effort, rather than a drag race. It's like the turtle and the hare, the gas-powered truck is the nimble and quick rabbit, while the diesel engine is the turtle plodding along at a steady pace to win the race.

4) Price of Truck - In addition to paying more per gallon, you're also likely to pay more upfront for the truck itself. A diesel truck can carry anywhere from a $4000 to a $6000 price premium vs. a comparable gas engine.

5) Less choices - One of the least-thought about downsides to buying diesel is the reduction of choices you end up with. You will certainly have less options for trucks to choose from as there are significantly more models available that are gas powered. If you do pick one out that you like, you will then need to deal with finding a diesel gas station. While there are plenty of them out there, it's a fact that not every gas station offers diesel, so you will need to plan accordingly, and also expect to be inconvenienced more than once.