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Diesel vs. Gasoline Trucks: What Are Their Pros and Cons?

Today's automotive market is bigger than ever before, and countless models are out there for the taking. If you're looking for a truck, you have plenty of options to choose from, both new and used. No matter if you're looking for a compact pickup, a standard midsize, or a full-size crew cab, numerous manufacturers have what you need in both two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive versions. Of course, there are an array of trim levels and technological features available on the latest models as well.

Having said all that, much of your decision will boil down to two main questions. One is whether to go with a new or used truck. Used vehicles are less expensive, and they've already succumbed to depreciation. Those from reputable dealerships come with added reassurance that they'll be dependable. Their taxes and tags are usually less costly too.

On the other hand, many people are a bit leery of used vehicles because they've been subjected to previous owners' abuse. Because of that, people often feel that new vehicles will last longer and be more reliable. Still, that's not necessarily as cut and dried as it might seem, is it? It's not unheard of for people to purchase fairly old pre-owned vehicles that end up holding out for a decade or more only to replace them with new vehicles that have major malfunctions after only a few years.

Deciding Between Gas and Diesel

From there, the next big question on your mind is probably whether to buy a diesel or a gas-burner. Both have their benefits and disadvantages, but which one is better? Read on to learn some of the strong suits and drawbacks of each one and how those factors affect the bottom line.

Digging Deeper Into Diesels

First, let's take a closer look at diesel trucks. Diesel engines were a little slower to catch on in the automotive world than those that use gas. Once they did start to gain popularity, though, they really took off. In fact, they've become even more popular over the last few years with sales surging by double digits even though overall vehicle sales are dropping. That could be a testament to their advantages, which we'll take a look at right now.

Benefits of Owning a Diesel Truck

One of the main benefits of owning a diesel truck would be fuel efficiency. Diesels are generally much more fuel efficient than gas-burners. That means even though diesel is usually more expensive per gallon, trucks that run off of it burn less of it. That might save you a great deal of money at the pump over time. At the very least, it'll balance the scales between the cost per gallon and the cost of driving. Fuel efficiency is only one advantage to consider, though.

Power and Towing Capacity

Another reason people choose diesel trucks so often is their power and towing capacity. Many people who've driven both swear that diesels can pull hills and tow heavy loads better than trucks with gas engines. Many are even officially rated for heavier loads than their closest gas-powered competitors. That means they're more than capable of towing loaded utility trailers, campers, boats, and sometimes even small cars.


Diesel trucks are also famous for being tough. They can take a great deal of abuse before needing major repairs. By design, diesel engines are simpler than gas, and the less complicated an engine is, the less there is to go wrong. At the same time, diesel fuel lubricates engines to an extent to reduce friction and wear. If you treat a diesel truck well and keep up with routine maintenance, it could last for 500,000 miles or more. You don't necessarily have to gentle with a diesel truck to get a lot of miles out of it, but taking care of it will definitely help.

Higher Resale Value

Diesel trucks tend to have higher resale values than gas-burners too. That comes from their durability, longevity, and other benefits. By most standards, you're likely to get tired of a diesel truck and decide to trade it in for a newer one before it actually wears out. When that time comes, you'll get more money for it to put toward a new diesel. From another perspective, if you want to buy a used diesel, you may just get more value for your money.

Drawbacks of Diesel Engines

When it comes to drawbacks, one of the main factors diesel trucks have working against them is their initial purchase price. They're often more expensive than trucks with gas engines. They can also be more costly to maintain and repair. They're durable, and they don't need maintenance as often as gas engines do, but routine maintenance is more expensive overall. Although they may not break down as often as gas-burners, when they do, repairs can set you back quite a bit. Diesel engines are sometimes harder to start in cold weather too.

Taking a Closer Look at Gas Trucks

Now, let's discuss trucks with gas engines. Gas-burning vehicles were the first to become available to the general public, and even today, the selection of gas-powered vehicles is much larger than that of diesels. As mentioned earlier, gasoline-powered vehicles are becoming somewhat less popular considering their recent declines in sales. That doesn't necessarily mean they're not good vehicles; it just means diesels are catching up after decades of being the underdogs.

Exploring the Benefits of Trucks that Run on Gas

Trucks with gas engines have plenty of advantages in their own right. The fact that you have more trucks to choose from in this category could be considered one of them. If you're looking for a compact pickup truck that runs on diesel, you're essentially out of luck. There just not very common in America. Some midsize models have diesel engines, but they're not as common as gas-burners. Trucks with gas engines comes in all shapes and sizes, though.

Smoother, Quieter Rides

Many people insist that gas-burning trucks give you a smoother, quieter ride than diesels. That's largely true, especially when you're comparing older models. Many of the newer diesels don't rumble and vibrate as much as the older ones, but most of them don't run as smoothly and silently as those with gas engines.

Better Cold Weather Performance

Another reason people choose gas-burners over diesels is their performance in cold weather. As noted, diesels sometimes have trouble starting up when it's cold outside. That's not a problem with gas-powered trucks. Gasoline is thinner than diesel, and it doesn't get thicker in colder temperatures the way diesel does. With that being the case, gas engines start just as easily in winter as they do in summer.

More Affordable

By some standards, gas-burning trucks are more affordable than diesels. They don't cost as much upfront, and maintenance is less expensive. Some repairs are less costly as well. On top of that, gas is less expensive per gallon than diesel fuel. Still, gas engines generally require more maintenance and repairs, and they're not quite as fuel efficient, so this could be a mixed bag of sorts.

Disadvantages of Gas Engines

In terms of disadvantages, trucks that burn gas tend to have less power and hauling and towing capacity than diesels. For the most part, they don't last as long, either. In contrast to diesel trucks, they don't hold their value as well, so used models often sell for less even if they're in good condition.

Choosing the Right Truck for You

There's not much of a gray area when comparing diesel trucks and gas-burners. People who've had good experiences with diesels tend to stick with them. Those who've had negative experiences or no experience at all with diesels tend to vouch for gas engines. Keep the points mentioned here in mind to help you decide which one is right for you.

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