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5 Reasons to Avoid a Gas Truck

With so many truck options on the market, how do you know the right model for you? The numbers and jargon can get confusing, from fuel efficiency and towing capacity to horsepower.

If you want to tow your new 14,000 lb fifth wheel, you’ll need a diesel truck. You may still have to figure out what make, model, year, etc., but you don’t want to get a gas truck when towing heavy loads.

Let’s look at five reasons why you might avoid a gas truck.

What Is a Gas Truck?

A gas truck operates with an engine that runs on gasoline. Different engines have various horsepower and torque that affect how much they can tow or haul. But all gas trucks will have a gas engine. The spark plug starts the combustion process that ignites the engine.

A diesel engine doesn’t use a combustion process.

Instead, diesel engines use highly pressurized air to ignite the fuel, called a compression process. The difference in these two greatly affects the engine’s overall performance, maintenance, and longevity.

Pro Tip: Have you heard of a dually truck? We uncovered what exactly it is and The Advantages of a Dually Truck.

Why Are Diesel Trucks Better Than Gas Trucks?

Diesel trucks beat out gas trucks in several different categories. If you need to tow a lot of weight, seriously consider purchasing a diesel truck. They may cost more upfront, but they’ll last longer and have a higher resale value.

Diesel trucks get better gas mileage because of their fuel efficiency. If you tend to do only city driving, this won’t be much of an advantage. But if you plan on traveling, the 25-30% increased fuel efficiency will be important.

They also have more torque, which means better performance when towing. Horsepower isn’t what determines how heavy a load you can throw in the back of the truck. Torque is what gets the job done and prevents wear and tear on the engine. 

Again, if you plan on using your truck to commute to work, torque doesn’t matter much. But if you plan on towing a boat or trailer up steep inclines, go with diesel.

Woman sitting in truck
There are many pros to getting a diesel truck instead of a gas truck.

5 Reasons to Avoid a Gas Truck

Gas trucks don’t measure up in their towing capabilities. You can find older used diesel trucks, even with 200,000 miles, that will still out-perform new gas trucks. Let’s look at five specific reasons you don’t want to buy a gas truck.

1. Less Power Than Diesel

As already mentioned, diesel engines produce more torque essential for pulling heavy loads. Horsepower allows you to accelerate quickly but isn’t very important when towing.

Gas engines may have more horsepower than diesel engines, but if you tow a 40-ft fifth wheel, you need power, not speed. Torque gives you that power and gas trucks don’t measure up.

2. Maintenance

You may have higher maintenance costs with diesel engines because they have more expensive parts. Not every repair shop carries diesel parts either. However, you don’t have to do as much work to maintain a diesel engine as you do a gas one.

This is because gas engines run at a higher RPM, which means it has to work harder. Gas trucks also have more parts that require frequent upkeep.

Since diesel puts less strain on the engine, you’ll have fewer trips to the mechanic.

3. Fuel Efficiency

Diesel fuel has about 15% more energy than gasoline. This is because diesel contains large hydrocarbons and not small molecules. Diesel engines also have a higher thermal efficiency than gas ones. Basically, more energy in the fuel becomes mechanical energy. All of this means fewer trips to the fuel station. Even though diesel costs more than gasoline per gallon, it will last longer because of its higher fuel efficiency.

Pro Tip: We uncovered Why Is Diesel More Expensive Than Gas? to help you better calculate your next trip to the gas pump.

Truck being filled up with gasoline
While it might seem like diesel costs more than gasoline, it will last longer because of its higher fuel efficiency.

4. Underperforms Against Diesel Truck

Although some owners dispute this, the data supports diesel engine performance over gas. Gas engines have higher horsepower but lower torque. Towing requires more torque, especially up inclines or on rough, uneven terrain. As mentioned in number one, torque is the power, and horsepower is the speed.

According to Carfax, “The Ford F-250 (with single rear wheels), for example, can tow up to 15,000 pounds with a gas V8 engine but can tow 20,000 pounds with the 6.7-liter turbodiesel V8.” 

5. Depreciation Rate

Diesel engine trucks are more expensive upfront, especially dual rear wheel ones; however,  they’ll keep their value. Diesel engine trucks can run for 300,000 miles or more. In contrast, gas engines usually last about 200,000 miles.

The way diesel engines operate leads to a much longer lifespan since they don’t have spark plugs, timing belts, pumps, and other components that gas engines have that are prone to failure. As a result, their durability and longevity mean a higher resale value.

Woman cooking in front of her red truck at campsite.
It’s best to avoid a gas truck if you’re looking to tow heavy loads like horse trailers, RVs, or large boats.

Which Is Better for the Environment Gas or Diesel?

Neither gasoline nor diesel is as environmentally-friendly as electric cars. Both release harmful emissions into the air. But of the two fuels, diesel has the upper hand. Diesel has a lower sulfur content, and modern diesel engines have better emissions systems. 

The extra filtration components reduce the number of carcinogens emitted. Also, they emit less harmful emissions into the air because of their superior fuel efficiency. In fact, diesel emits 40% less carbon dioxide than gasoline.

Is It Better to Get a Diesel or Gas Truck?

Opt for a diesel truck if you want superior performance when towing heavy loads like horse trailers, RVs, or large boats. Their power far exceeds gas trucks. Plus, it can save you money on maintenance and reduce emissions.

 However, if you want to go from zero to 70 in two seconds, a diesel truck might not fit best. So after looking at your specific needs, which will you look for? Are you joining the diesel engine team?

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