If you’re going to buy a pickup truck, you’ll need to choose between diesel and gasoline. Heavy-duty hauling machines tend to run on diesel fuel, but gasoline trucks tend to dominate the market for various reasons. Both kinds of trucks have their place on the road, but one isn’t necessarily cheaper than the other. Learn how to calculate the true cost of owning a diesel vs. gas truck to find the right vehicle for the task at hand.
Let’s start with the listing price. You will need to pay more upfront for a diesel truck compared to a gas-powered vehicle. Most diesels cost around $5,000 to $11,000 more because they are heavier with more towing capacity and torque for hauling heavier loads. They also use complex emissions reduction technology to reduce the spread of harmful toxins that pollute the environment. Gas trucks don’t have to worry about reducing emissions, which reduces the initial price of the vehicle.
Diesel fuel is more efficient than gas, which can help you save money at the pump, but regular unleaded is usually anywhere from 25 to 50 cents cheaper than diesel, so how do you choose between the two?
Owning a diesel truck can help you make the most of your fuel, but you will also have to find a gas station that offers diesel fuel, which may mean driving out of your way. Make sure there is a fill-up station near you when going with diesel.
You can recoup the extra cost of driving a diesel using the added fuel efficiency if you drive over 30,000 miles a year. If you surpass this number, diesel usually makes the most sense. Consider how much you plan on driving before choosing a truck to get the best deal.
Diesel engines tend to incur fewer maintenance costs compared to gas-powered trucks. The latter will break down more often, but the repair costs tend to be less expensive.
Unlike gas trucks, diesel engines do not use spark plugs, which reduces their dependence on the vehicle’s electrical system. You don’t have to worry as much about not being able to start your engine because you left the lights on overnight. Instead of using an electric spark to ignite the fuel, diesel trucks use glow plugs to warm the air-fuel mixture as it comes into the combustion chamber. Spark plugs need to be replaced every 20,000 to 30,000 miles, while glow plugs can usually last up to 100,000 miles or more.
You will need to change the oil regularly on both types of vehicles, but the oil is even more important in a diesel engine. This type of truck uses a high-pressure oil pump to keep the injectors lubricated while operating under intense pressure. Maintain a strict oil change schedule when driving a diesel truck. Gas trucks need more frequent oil changes, usually every 3,000 miles, while diesels only need them once every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
You will also need to replace your diesel oil filters regularly to keep the oil clean, as it will become less effective overtime. This will help your oil last even longer.
Diesel trucks tend to last around five times longer than gas-powered trucks, so you don’t have to worry about trading in your new vehicle any time soon. The former will usually last beyond 100,000 miles, while the former only gets around 200,000.
Diesel engines are designed to operate under immense pressure while carrying heavy loads. They usually contain fewer parts than gas trucks, which reduces the chances of the car breaking down, as well as built-in technology to help the vehicle maintain itself over a longer period of time.
For example, diesel engines use oil coolers to reduce the temperature of the oil, which makes it more efficient. They also come with more filters and better cooling technology to prevent ash and carbon from building up inside the vehicle. Maintain and replace the diesel oil cooler as well, to prevent the oil from overheating, especially when towing heavy loads for long periods of time.
All the extra money you spent on a diesel truck is about to pay off. A used diesel truck will sell for several thousand more than a used gas truck, depending on the make and model. Diesel trucks also degrade much slower than their gas-powered counterparts, so you can charge more when you decide to put it on the market. Selling a used gas truck can be a challenge. You’re bound to get at least 200,000 miles out of your truck, especially if you use it for work, so it might not have much of a life when you’re done with it.
Buying diesel is a great investment at any stage. New diesel trucks come with improved emissions reduction technology to prevent the engine from breaking down. You might still want to go with a gas truck if you plan on driving less than 30,000 miles a year and don’t plan on trading in your truck any time soon. Keep these considerations when shopping for a vehicle to save as much as possible.