When it comes to gas vs. diesel, which one is better? There’s a been long-standing disagreement between those who believe gas-powered RVs are superior and those who favor diesel. About 10 or 15 years ago, it wasn’t really worth the added expense to invest in diesel unless you were partaking in a very specific type of travel. Towing a trailer through mountainous terrain, for instance, would be good cause for the upgrade to diesel. Harder work requires more torque, and gas-powered RVs simply did not have sufficient torque to get the job done.
Within the past decade, however, the gap between diesel and gas capabilities has narrowed, which means the debate has only intensified. Whichever side of the gas vs diesel RV debate you represent likely depends upon several unique factors. Means of use, specific capabilities and cost are chief among them. In this lesson, we teach you about the most important factors, and discuss some of the distinguishing characteristics of gas- and diesel-powered units that should sway you in one direction or the other.
Making the Choice: Gas vs Diesel RV
To help you pick a side in this great debate of gas vs diesel RV, our in-house RV expert Dave Solberg compares the capabilities of each type of RV and highlights some of the downsides that might persuade you. He begins by talking a bit about the standard gas option, which is typically mounted on a Ford Triton V10 chassis, operating at 362 horsepower, and then fills you in on the most common diesel models.
Next Dave takes a deeper dive into the debate by explaining why certain types of towing and travel are best suited for diesel RVs. He highlights the components and capabilities that make diesel vehicles much more expensive (we’re talking thousands, here), and discusses some of the reasons why diesels are less affected by wind and side shear. A heavier chassis, increased airbag protection, larger tires and a more powerful engine with greater torque means a smoother and safer ride. Additionally, the more substantial diesel chassis also allows you to invest in heavier amenities such as marble counters and tile floors. If you’re leaning toward a smaller coach that runs on diesel, definitely do your research to see whether the steep price jump is worth it.
Whether you’re considering a gas or diesel vehicle for your cross-country travels, Dave has some advice for making the decision. The upgrade choice should take into account both the benefits and the costs. If the former outweigh the latter, then take the plunge. It could be the happiest decision you ever make!
Remember that the choice should never depend upon cost of fuel or fuel efficiency, because on these factors the diesel vehicle will almost always lose out in the long run. That’s just the nature of the beast. Per Dave’s advice the decision should, however, depend upon your specific needs. Know what you’ll be doing when you hit the road, the kinds of roads you’ll be traversing, and what you’ll be bringing, and then make your pick!