With gasoline prices fluctuating greatly over the past few years, many drivers have wondered whether switching to a diesel-fueled vehicle would be more beneficial than sticking with a standard gasoline-fueled model.
The reality is that each fuel type comes with pros and cons. It’s therefore wise to do some research to make sure you’re clear about these advantages and disadvantages in order to make an informed decision.
The Pros and Cons of Diesel Cars and Trucks
Diesel hasn’t historically been the most popular fuel choice in the U.S.
For one thing, it costs much more than gasoline because it’s taxed differently. Even so, many diesel enthusiasts swear that the benefits of diesel outweigh the drawbacks, including the higher price.
The Pros of Diesel Vehicles
Some of the most valuable benefits of diesel include the following:
- More torque and lower CO₂ emissions
- Slower depreciation
- Increased efficiency
- Superior longevity
The U.S. Department of Energy has found that diesel motors can get as much as 35% more miles per gallon than gasoline motors. If you tow things often, the torque is also advantageous because it means you’ll be able to pull more weight.
Lastly, gasoline is a solvent that dissolves oil, which tends to increase wear on the engine. Diesel, however, isn’t, meaning it puts less strain on your engine over time.
The Drawbacks of Diesel
Along with the cost per gallon for diesel being higher than for gas, other cons of diesel include:
- Higher maintenance costs
- Lower top speeds
- Lack of efficiency for city and low-speed driving
- The need for diesel engines to be plugged in in cold weather
Diesel engines perform best when driven for many miles at high speeds. If you do a lot of low-speed driving in town, you could clog the engine’s particulate filter. Diesel cars favor torque over speed, and even though diesel engines require less frequent maintenance than gas engines, the maintenance is pricier.
Pros and Cons of Gasoline
Owners of gasoline-fueled cars enjoy different benefits than those who own diesel vehicles.
Pros of Gasoline Vehicles
A few decades ago, diesel was cheaper than gasoline, but that’s no longer the case. One of the biggest benefits of gasoline is that it costs less up front than diesel. Other pros include:
- Greater speed potential
- Lower taxes compared to diesel
- Better fuel economy with low-speed driving
- Less engine weight
- Lower engine price (on average)
- Easier maintenance
Gas and diesel engines are designed to work differently, so never put one type of fuel in an engine designed for the other.
Cons of Gasoline
If you’re looking for maximum power and torque, you’re not going to find it in a gasoline engine. Other drawbacks of gas include:
- More frequent maintenance
- More CO2 emissions
- Great with in-town driving
- Shorter engine life
As you can see, the benefits and drawbacks of both fuel types hinge on the kind of driver you are and how much you drive. As such, there’s no clear winner — it just comes down to what you hope to get out of your vehicle.