Choosing between a gas or diesel truck

Choosing between a gas or diesel truck
Published Tuesday, March 30, 2021
by Feature Staff

When it comes to buying a truck, there are two basic fuel choices: diesel vs. gas. Whether you're buying a truck for work, to tow a boat or RV, or haul camping gear into the mountains, you'll have to decide between a gas or a diesel engine. Read this guide for choosing between a gas or diesel truck to learn more about which fuel is right for you.


You'll see that diesel vehicles are much more expensive than their gas counterparts. Perhaps as much as $11,000 more on some modern makes and models. It should be noted that diesel engines will be offered on heavier duty trucks, with a few exceptions. The key is to know whether you need a heavier duty truck with the higher payload and towing capacity numbers or if the lighter duty gas model will suffice for your needs. However, there are other costs beyond the initial sticker price.

Fuel Economy

Diesel engines in passenger cars offer significantly better mileage than gas engines, but it is a very different story with diesel trucks. The difference comes in when you are hauling or towing, especially if driving long distances. The difference can extend to eight to ten miles per gallon. In fact, if you're only traveling short distances and have to idle more in traffic, diesel engines are actually far more expensive to operate. Most of the time, gas engines and meet load and towing requirements.


There are times that gas trucks will meet your needs, and there are certain times when they won't. For towing heavy trailers, constant hauling over distances, and frequent hill-climbing, diesel engines' added torque is exceptionally desirable and often a necessity. This is because diesel engines can take more turbo boost than their gas counterparts. Twice as much turbo boost on average and aftermarket turbos can output much more than that.

Heavy Duty Parts

The extra turbo is one of the reasons diesel trucks come with heavy-duty parts. The truck needs them to handle the engine, like diesel exhaust bellows. That is a part only required on a diesel engine because of the power difference between gasoline. Also, diesel fuel contains 11% more energy than a gallon of gas. And a diesel, quite simply, has a higher capacity to produce torque than a gasoline engine. If you need towing power and hauling off the line, then a diesel-powered engine is the right choice for you.

Only you can answer which engine is right for you. While initial costs are higher, maintenance, repair, and fuel costs come out about the same. We hope this guide on choosing between a gas or diesel truck has helped you come to a buying decision no matter what your truck needs. may earn an affiliate commission if you purchase products or services through links in an article. Prices, when displayed, are accurate at the time of publication but may change over time. Commissions do not influence editorial independence.

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