Diesel vs. Gas Trucks

Comparing diesel vs. gas trucks can be confusing if you don’t know the difference. Diesels have many advantages over gas-powered trucks. It is important to consider your options to make the best decision. Each offers advantages and limitations. When it comes to work trucks, there is no definitive answer to whether diesel trucks are better than gas trucks. Here are some points to serve as a guide:

Man pumping gas in truck

Fuel Economy

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, diesel engines offer 30% to 35% greater fuel economy than gasoline engines.
Diesels have better fuel economy, though it may take around 150,000 miles before the fuel cost-benefit makes up for the initial price premium. They make sense if you plan to tow a lot or put a lot of miles on your truck. It is worth noting, however, that diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline. However, even with the increased cost of diesel, you can expect to pay less in fuel costs each year.
Diesel fuel also contains more energy than gasoline; a gallon of diesel fuel has up to 30 percent more energy than a gallon of gasoline. Considering this, diesel fuel has a price advantage when considering fuel economy.

Longevity and Maintenance

Another differentiator between gasoline and diesel engines is life expectancy. Diesel engines typically last longer than petrol engines because diesel is a light oil that lubricates the engine when burned. Additionally, in diesel engines, the castings and cylinder walls are built thicker, the oiling system has a higher volume, so they can handle higher compression ratios than your average gas engine. A gasoline engine will turn twice as many revolutions per minute than a diesel truck, meaning the diesel truck wears at half the rate of the gas truck. Less stress on the engine will result in a longer life expectancy. Although diesel engines typically last longer, they are more costly to repair. Repair costs increase as truck ages.

Mechanic fixing engine

“Over time, regular maintenance on a diesel generally will cost more than a gasoline engine, the diesel engine has components that are either not found on a gasoline engine or require servicing more often. The oil reservoir is larger in a diesel engine and the water separator and fuel filters will require replacement more often. Gasoline engines have longer service intervals for engine oil, spark plugs, and engine coolant.”

– Jansen of Donlen.

Capability, Off-Roading, and Efficiency

When considering renting a diesel or gas truck for the daily grind at work, you should think about efficiency. Diesel engines deliver exceptional MPG. This is something to keep in mind if you’ll be making regular long commutes.
As for capability, a diesel truck will generally work best for towing while gas trucks will work best for lighter duty jobs. If your work takes you off-road, gas trucks are a better option since they rev faster and redline higher.

Towing

A diesel engine is a more practical choice if towing capacity is critical to your business needs. A diesel truck has a torque advantage that is better suited for pulling heavy loads up steep grades. Diesel trucks have a lot of torque at lower rpm. Diesel trucks also have integrated exhaust brake, that uses the back pressure from the turbo to slow the engine down. This exhaust brake gives diesel trucks an advantage on towing heavy loads up. The exhaust brake also alleviates stress on braking system and reduces the likelihood of breaks overheating. Diesel trucks also have a larger towing capacity. For example, the 2020 RAM 1500 Laramie has a tow capacity of 11,610 lbs and the 2020 RAM 2500 Laramie has a tow capacity of 19,680 lbs. Diesel trucks are superior in towing due to their torque advantage, exhaust braking system, and larger tow capacity.

Man in truck

“It’s all about using the right tool for the job,” he said. “While appropriate for certain demands, using a gasoline truck for heavy towing in most cases will result in significantly reduced engine life and increased gasoline consumption.”

– Macik of ARI.

Should I rent a Diesel or Gas Truck?

If you’re going to be driving long distances or using your truck for heavy-duty towing on a regular basis, a diesel pickup truck rental might be your best bet.
The typical gasoline engine might be the way to go if you plan to go off-roading, haul lieghter items in your cargo bed, or drive through less populated areas. Gas trucks have a wider range of availability and models, which highlights the diesel’s role as a specialty truck.

Lastly, consider if your towing requirements when choosing a diesel vs. a gas truck. Does your work necessitate a diesel engine or will a gas engine suffice?

transparent background, Ram 2500 pickup truck
3/4 Ton Pickup Diesel Engine
transparent background, Ram 1500 pickup truck
1/2 Ton Pickup Gas Engine
Fuel Economy
  • Higher energy density per gallon
  • Less carbon monoxide produced
  • Higher levels of soot and nitrogen
  • Fuel cost is lower
  • Faster ignition
  • Fuel is more readily available
  • Higher levels of carbon monoxide
  • Lower levels of soot and nitrogen compounds
  • Fuel cost is higher
Ignition
  • Relies on compression to ignite fuel rather than spark plugs
  • Utilizes spark plugs to create combustion
Power
  • More horsepower and torque generated at lower RPM’s which translates to more pulling power from a complete stop
  • More horsepower and torque generated at higher RPM’s which translates to better speed
Efficency
  • Gives maximum 35- 40% efficency
  • Gives maximum 25% efficency
Maintenance
  • More expensive to service
  • Less expensive to service
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