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Gas VS Diesel RV which is Right for You?

A class A RV at a gas station getting ready to pump fuel

Gas vs Diesel RV? That is the Question

Is a Gas vs Diesel RV or tow-vehicle right for you? Below are the Pros and Cons of Gas-powered RVs and tow-vehicles and Diesel-powered RVs and tow-vehicles which should help you make this major decision.

Gas Engine Pros and Cons

Gas powered Class C RV at gas station getting ready to fill up with gasoline

PROS

  • A gas-powered Motor Home or tow-vehicle initially costs less to purchase (saving money is always a good thing).
  • A gas engine is cheaper to maintain (parts and service cost less).
  • Gas powered Motor Homes or tow-vehicles are more do it yourself friendly (if you are comfortable working on gas engines, you will be better able to perform routine maintenance yourself)
  • Gas Motor Homes and tow-vehicles are quieter than diesel (some folks debate this, but it has been our experience that they are quieter).
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CONS

  • Gas powered Motor Homes and tow-vehicles have a lower lifespan than Diesel powered vehicles.
  • Gas powered vehicles are not as fuel efficient as diesel, on average they have a lower MPG rating.
  • A gas Motor Home or tow-vehicle does not retain its value as well as a diesel-powered vehicle (shorter lifespan and less MPG equals less value retention).
  • Gas engines produce more CO2 emissions (CO2 is considered to be the catalyst to global warming).
  • Gas engines lose power with altitude (when you are climbing hills the diesel Motor Homes will be passing you by).
  • Gas engines and chassis have less towing and carrying capacity than a diesel engine and chassis.
  • Gas Motorhomes have fewer floor plan choices than diesel Motorhomes. They also do not have the luxurious interiors that are reserved for diesel Motorhomes (but, with the money you save on initial purchase you can always add this stuff yourself)
  • Gas motorhomes do not ride as nice as Diesel Motorhomes. Diesel Motorhomes have beefier chassis and suspension systems that usually provide a smoother ride.

Let's move on to the Pros & Cons of a Diesel RV or Tow Vehicle.

Diesel Engine Pros and Cons

Diesel powered Class A RV at gas station getting ready to fill up with Diesel,

PROS

  • Diesel engines are more fuel efficient than gas engines, you can expect more miles per gallon (don't expect a dramatic difference).
  • Diesel engines, if properly maintained, have a longer lifespan than gas engines.  It is not unheard of for diesel engines to go well over 200,000 miles before requiring a rebuild or overhaul.
  • A diesel engine provides more torque at lower RPMs (in laymen's terms it will get up a hill faster than a gas-powered vehicle).
  • Diesel Motorhomes have a wider selection of floor plans available.  They traditionally have more luxurious interiors than gas powered Motor Homes.
  • The chassis of most diesel Motor Homes are beefier than the chassis of gas motor homes. So, the carrying and towing capacity is greater (this is why a lot of Full-timers prefer diesel over gas).
  • Altitude does not affect the power of a diesel engine (you will have better acceleration in the mountains).
  • Diesel powered Motorhomes tend to have a smoother ride than gas powered motor homes. This is due to the availability of air ride suspension and the heavier chassis.
  • Diesel powered Motor Homes and tow-vehicles retain their value better than gas vehicles (better MPG and longer lifespan contribute to this price retention).
  • Diesel engines produce less CO2 emissions (CO2 is considered to be the catalyst to global warming).

CONS

  • Diesel powered Motorhomes and tow-vehicles initially cost more than gas powered vehicles.
  • The maintenance cost for diesel engines is higher than for gas engines (service costs more, parts cost more).
  • Unless you are comfortable working on diesel engines, there is not a lot of do-it-yourself maintenance that you can perform (you might be able to replace the air filter).
  • Even though Diesel Fuel used to be less expensive than Gasoline, the price has recently risen above gasoline prices and depending on how high the price of diesel goes, it could eventually nullify the increased fuel mileage that diesel gives you.
  • Neglecting the routine maintenance on a Diesel engine can result in some very costly repairs.

Hopefully, the above gas vs diesel RV information will be helpful in steering you in the right direction.  Once you have decided what engine type is the right for you, you should now head over to the Buying a RV section of this web site to get some more helpful hints.  One thing is for sure, you will never regret becoming an RVer regardless of the type of engine you choose.


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If you have written an article about RVing, Camping or the Great Outdoors and you would like us to publish it on Everything-About-RVing.com, please visit our Submit An Article Page.

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