Diesel vs. Gas Trucks — Pros and Cons

September 9, 2023

If you’re in the market for a new or used vehicle, one of your most important decisions will be determining whether you should buy a diesel or gas truck. While both engine types are popular, they have drastic differences. Consider how diesel vs. gas trucks stand up to your needs and preferences when making your purchasing decision. 

Many drivers choose their vehicles’ engine type based on power, fuel efficiency and maintenance requirements, but these only represent a partial list of relevant factors. Other examples include increasingly stringent environmental regulations that make vehicle emissions a crucial consideration when avoiding potentially costly violations. 


Do Gas or Diesel Trucks Deliver Better Power and Performance?

Power is often the most important factor buyers evaluate when choosing a truck. Gas-powered vehicles have the upper hand regarding horsepower and acceleration, especially for lighter trucks that aren’t carrying big loads. If you routinely drive in heavy traffic on the interstates, a gas engine can provide the performance and speed you require. 

However, a diesel engine has a significant torque advantage. If you’re hauling or towing heavy loads, these trucks will provide more power for heavy-duty applications. 


Fuel Efficiency

Saving money on fuel is a top priority for commercial and pleasure vehicle owners and drivers alike. Expect a substantial price difference between diesel and gas — the former is significantly more expensive. 

While you’ll pay less at the pump for gas, diesel engines have a higher fuel economy rating. If you drive many miles, diesel vehicles can be more cost-effective, assuming similar driving conditions. 


Emissions and Environmental Impact

At one time, government agencies promoted diesel fuel as more environmentally friendly than gasoline because the engines are more energy efficient. However, these entities have come to favor gas in recent years because of the public health issues caused by the harmful particulate matter contained in diesel exhaust. 

While diesel contains more carbon dioxide per gallon than gasoline, diesel engines may emit less of it over their lifetimes. However, a diesel vehicle generates more nitrous oxide than a gas vehicle. This material can contribute to health issues like cancer and asthma.


Maintenance and Longevity

Diesel engines are renowned for their exceptional longevity — many will deliver reliable performance for hundreds of thousands of miles. The solidly constructed engine blocks accommodate higher compression ratios, contributing to a longer life span. They generally have fewer moving parts, which may reduce the likelihood of costly repairs for worn or broken components. 

An advantage of gas engines is that many service technicians are more familiar with them than their diesel counterparts. This experience can often result in lower engine repair costs and less expensive replacement parts. Diesels On the downside, gas engines often require more frequent service as they age.


Initial Cost and Resale Value

A diesel engine is more expensive to purchase than a gas product — you could end up spending thousands of dollars more for a similarly equipped diesel truck. The price difference in fuel can also lead to higher long-term ownership costs, although the increased fuel economy can offset some or most of these increased expenses. 

Diesel trucks typically have the edge over gas vehicles regarding trade-in and resale value. Because diesel engines last longer, the trucks depreciate more slowly over time. In some cases, a diesel vehicle’s residual value is often higher, making it a better long-term investment. 


Availability and Accessibility of Fuel

While the prevalence of gasoline engines dates back to the origins of the automobile, diesel has only been the fuel of choice for commercial trucks since the late 1960s. Although most gas stations, convenience stores and other fuel sellers now have diesel pumps, you still may have difficulty finding them in certain areas. 

However, diesel engines’ increased fuel economy and efficiency of diesel engines can mitigate any pump shortages because you won’t need to refuel as frequently. 


Noise and Driving Experience

Diesel trucks drive somewhat differently than their gasoline counterparts. Diesel engines don’t deliver an immediate surge when accelerating, making them feel less powerful. On the other hand, you’ll feel more power when hauling or towing a heavy load. 

The rattling noises produced by a diesel engine can be a drawback for some vehicle owners. The clatter comes from the combustion of diesel fuel within the engine compartment, which burns less evenly than gasoline. 


Safety and Regulatory Considerations

While gasoline and diesel engines are safe, the latter has a lower flammability risk. A fire is much less likely if you have an accident in a diesel vehicle, as the fuel requires a sustained flame or intense pressure to ignite. 

Diesel fuel is also more heavily regulated than gas. In 2006, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began to implement rules limiting the natural sulfur content in diesel. Eight years later, the same agency mandated that all diesel sold in the U.S. must be ultra-low sulfur diesel. These and other regulations contribute to the fuel’s higher price. 


Suitability for Specific Applications

Because of the superior pulling power and fuel economy, diesel trucks are usually the better choice for long-distance commercial hauling applications, which is why you see so many diesel-fueled tractor-trailers on the road. Gas vehicles can meet the needs of individuals seeking an efficient, clean-burning fuel option or when speed and acceleration are primary concerns. 


Gas vs. Diesel Trucks — How Can Hot Shot’s Secret Help?

No matter which engine type you choose, Hot Shot’s Secret offers a wide assortment of high-quality diesel and gas additives to enhance your truck’s performance and longevity. Buy online or contact us for more information today.