Diesel Vs Gas RV

Last Updated on February 16, 2024

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Gas Vs Diesel RV

Key Takeaways:

  • Diesel vs. Gas-Powered RVs:
    • Diesel engines offer longevity, torque, and towing power but have higher maintenance costs.
    • Gas engines are cheaper upfront and easier to maintain, suitable for shorter trips.
  • Benefits of Diesel-Powered RVs:
    • Longevity, lower maintenance, better torque, and fuel efficiency.
  • Drawbacks of Diesel-Powered RVs:
    • Rising fuel prices, expensive repairs, and lower RPMs.
  • Benefits of Gas-Powered RVs:
    • Easier maintenance, higher horsepower, lower purchase price, and suitability for short trips.
  • Drawbacks of Gas-Powered RVs:
    • Weaker towing power, shorter lifespan, and higher RPMs.
  • Considerations Before Buying:
    • Choose based on personal preference, travel habits, and budget.
  • Cost of Ownership: Diesel engines have higher upfront costs but offer long-term durability and better resale value.
  • Fuel Type Misuse: Using the wrong fuel type can damage the engine.

Living the RV full-time life allows me to travel from one place to another without any obligation to rush and drive each day.

Though it seems that an RV life is really an admirable way to live, especially for people who love travel and adventure like myself, there are important things that you have to consider when planning to buy a motorhome.

One of the most asked questions when purchasing an RV is what type of RV to buy. Should you settle for a gas-powered RV or the diesel one? Let’s find out the pros and cons of getting a gas or diesel engine type for your new motorhome.

The Difference Between Diesel and Gas-Powered RV

Diesel and gas engines for RVs both have advantages, but it’s crucial to know the differences so you can choose the best option for your needs. Diesel engines often last twice as long as a regular gas engine, but they also cost more to maintain and repair.

With the price of diesel fuel on the rise, it’s easy to see how the costs of running large trucks may quickly pile up. On the other hand, when it comes to fuel efficiency and noise, you may be amazed at how much better the new vehicles perform.

Moreover, the RV size is also an important factor. Using a diesel pusher may be your best bet as your motorhome reaches the 35 ft length or more since the RV’s own weight becomes a huge consideration.

On the other hand, gas engines may be able to get you to your end destination, but they’ll take a lot more gas to get you there in the first place.

The Diesel-Powered RV

Greater power, improved brakes, air-ride suspension, and the ability to tow more weight are some of the advantages of using a diesel engine. Since these engines don’t use a high-voltage electrical ignition system, they are exceptionally dependable for a longer period and can quickly adapt to wet conditions.

Diesel engines also employ internal combustion, but instead of a spark, they use compression heat to ignite. Moreover, diesel-powered RVs provide a wide range of great attributes when it comes to comfort and convenience.

Imagine having bigger storage compartments, a bathroom, and a spacious area inside your RV. That’s almost perfect comfort and convenience! Not until you have to deal with fuel. Diesel engines’ high fuel economy might help you save money on fuel, especially if you want to own a large RV.

Benefits of Diesel-Powered RV

Surely, you are now more invested in knowing the more detailed benefits of having a diesel-powered RV. To help you decide, here are some of the advantages of owning a diesel RV.

  • It Lasts Longer

A diesel engine may easily last twice as long as a gas-powered one. The longer life, greater compression ratios, and efficient burn rates of diesel engines, as well as their lubricating characteristics, are all advantages of diesel power. In fact, heavy-duty trucks benefit from diesel engines because of their greater torque and hauling capabilities.

  • Less Maintenance

For diesel engines, routine maintenance is often more infrequent than for gas engines. Even though diesel engine repairs and maintenance are more expensive, the RV’s engine is likely to require fewer repairs.

  • Better Torque

The term “pulling power” is most frequently used to refer to torque, a measurement of an engine’s rotating force. Compared to gasoline engines, diesel engines provide more torque. Its beneficial while traveling over mountains, towing a car, and managing the weight and luxuries of a bigger RV.

  • Efficient Fuel Mileage

Diesel fuel has roughly 10% to 15% more energy and burns considerably more effectively than gas. Therefore, a diesel RV can go 20% to 35% further per gallon of fuel than a gasoline RV.

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  • Better Braking and Suspension

Air brakes and air suspension are standard on diesel RVs. That said, diesel-powered RVs feature better suspension and braking than gasoline-powered RVs.

The Drawbacks of Diesel-Powered RV

Aside from knowing the pros of owning a diesel RV, it’s essential to learn the drawbacks of having one to come up with a well-informed decision when buying one. Here are some disadvantages of diesel RVs.

  • Rising Diesel Fuel Price

Diesel Fuel used to be less expensive than gas, but the price has lately gone above gasoline costs. Depending on how high diesel prices go, they might potentially nullify diesel’s better fuel mileage.

  • Expensive Repairs

There will be a higher cost for repairs. You’ll need to take your RV to a truck stop service facility for any engine problems. Diesel-powered RVs are more expensive than their gasoline-powered counterparts in every way. For example, a big diesel pusher RV tires can cost more than a hundred dollars each.

  • Lower RPMs

Slower acceleration and lower peak speeds are the results of lower RPMs in RVs with diesel engines than those with gas engines.

The Gas-Powered RV

Due to the lower cost of components and services, a gas engine is usually more cost-effective to maintain. In addition, gas-powered cars are less expensive to buy and maintain in the beginning.

Fuel prices have risen so much that the extra miles per gallon you gain from using diesel have almost completely vanished. Also, if you want to travel only once in a while, a smaller gas engine RV would be ideal.

Benefits of Gas-Powered RV

Perhaps, you are now excited to know more about the advantages of a gas-powered RV. Here are some of the perks of owning a gas RV to help you decide.

  • Easier Maintenance

When compared to diesel engines, gas engines are simpler to maintain and repair. Even though gas engines aren’t as long-lasting as diesel engines and require more regular maintenance, the good news is that they’re fairly affordable to fix.

Repairs and maintenance on gas engines may be done by anybody with a basic understanding of the mechanics.

  • Higher Horsepower

It is easier to accelerate and sustain high speeds with gas-powered engines, which have more horsepower but less torque.

  • Affordable Purchase Price

In most cases, gasoline-powered engines may be purchased at a lesser cost than diesel-powered engines since gas engines require less maintenance.

  • Perfect for Short Trips

Gasoline is the fuel of choice for motorists that travel small distances regularly. In fact, gas engines use less energy in urban areas than diesel ones. That said, a gas-powered RV is perfect for shorter trips.

  • Higher Volatility Point

The volatility and flashpoint of gas engines are significantly different. In a gas engine, the ignition is controlled by a spark. Technically speaking, when the piston hit the peak of its stroke and the tension is at the desired level, a spark ignites the fuel and air combination, which is what drives the engine into motion.

  • Higher RPMs

Gas engines have higher RPMs. At higher RPMs, the ride is less jerky and quieter, and the car accelerates faster, but they require more regular servicing.

Drawbacks of Gas-Powered RV

Likewise, it’s critical to understand the negatives of owning a gas RV to make an educated purchase decision. Here are some of the drawbacks of gas RVs.

  • Weaker Towing Power

When compared to diesel engines, gas engines’ hauling capacity is weak. A vehicle’s towing capacity may be summarized as the maximum amount of weight that the RV is capable of pulling.

  • Shorter Life Span

Compared to diesel engines, gas engines are said to have a shorter life span. This factor affects the price of a unit, especially when you plan to resale it.

Things to Consider Before Buying an RV

It’s possible that none of these mentioned features will play a major role in your decision to buy a diesel or gas RV. For several full-time RVers, the heavier chassis, higher load factor, and long-term reliability of their diesel engine were the most important considerations in their choice of vehicle.

Other RV owners, on the other hand,  preferred the peace that a diesel rig’s rear engine provided. With the capacity to sustain pace on difficult terrain, many people found this feature to be very useful.

It is important to keep in mind that the best RV engine is a matter of personal preference. It’s always going to come down to what the person wants.

For instance, a diesel engine would be a better choice for an explorer who likes to travel throughout the country, from state to state, because diesel engines operate best when they are constantly in use, and they function less well when parked for long periods. On the other hand, gas-powered RVs may be more suitable for those who travel fewer miles.

How RV Fuel Type Affects Cost of Ownership

Diesel engines are more pricey than gasoline engines. That’s certainly the most important difference, but you also get a considerably longer-lasting engine and a greater resale value for the extra money.

Let’s take this scenario as an example: after 150,000 to 200,000 miles, a gas-powered vehicle may require a new engine. A well-maintained diesel engine, on the other hand, may typically last for more than 400,000 miles.

Additionally, a diesel engine is more powerful. That said, it is easier to climb slopes and maintain your vehicle’s speed while doing so. It outperforms its gas cousin in this regard.

The cost per mile of a diesel engine may be lower than the cost of a gasoline engine, even though diesel fuel is normally more expensive. It is considerably more expensive to service a diesel engine, although it requires less regular repairs.

Gas-powered RVs are easier to maintain than diesel-powered ones, although many RV owners are capable of doing much of the work themselves. Keep a record of the servicing you’ve done on your vehicle.

Regardless of your engine type, it’s always best to not cut corners when it comes to maintaining your RV. You can always use a cloud-based tool to keep track of your upkeep.

The Consequences of Using Gas Oil in a Diesel Engine and Vise Versa

One of the main differences that were mentioned above is the current price of fuel oil for both gas and diesel engine. So before the idea of putting unmatched oil into your engine comes to your mind, let’s discuss the possible consequences of doing such.

If you own a diesel-powered RV and intentionally or accidentally put gas, you’ll hear a clicking noise beneath the hood as your automobile first consumes the remaining diesel, and then begins to “gasp” when it receives gasoline. Your engine will experience mechanical asphyxia. If this is the case, turn the engine off and replace the oil.

On the other hand, if you own a gas-powered RV and put diesel in it, it would be less harmful, but can be hazardous if the amount of diesel surpasses 10%. Your engine is at risk of squealing and smoking if it falls below this level. But if your tank is more than 10% full, you must drain it to avoid damaging your engine.


The advantages and disadvantages of diesel and gas motorhomes, as well as other information provided here, can help you make an informed decision.

Then again, there is one certain thing. Living in an RV life will be the best decision you’ll ever make, especially if you love to travel from one place to another.

Last update on 2024-05-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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