Difference Between Diesel and Gasoline

Most cars on the road today use diesel or gasoline. In fact, there are over 1 billion registered vehicles on the planet with only 1 million (.1%) being electric. That means there are a lot of cars, trucks, RVs, motorhomes, and motorcycles out there running on either gasoline or diesel. But with all these vehicles out there, how much do you know about diesel vs petrol? Better purchasing decisions can be made when you understanding the fuel types and implications to the vehicles that operate on them. When it comes to diesel vs regular gas, it pays to know more.

Diesel vs Gas – Miles per Gallon

When it comes to fuel efficiency, diesel is a clear winner. Per the U.S. Department of Energy, vehicles with a diesel engine can expect 20-35% greater fuel efficiency compared to gasoline engines. Part of this is because diesel fuel is engineered to higher density allowing it to generate the same amount of output with less fuel than gasoline. Another factor is that diesel engine combustion is more efficient than gasoline engines. Air is compressed to heat up for fuel ignition vs using a spark plug. Combined, diesel engines are much more fuel-efficient than gasoline engines.

Diesel vs Gas – Fuel Costs

Don’t go buy a diesel engine vehicle just yet. On August 15, 2019, as provided by AAA, the current national fuel costs are as followed:

Current Avg.$2.641$2.968$3.225$2.956
Yesterday Avg.$2.642$2.969$3.227$2.958
Week Ago Avg.$2.684$3.011$3.268$2.977
Month Ago Avg.$2.792$3.105$3.360$3.010
Year Ago Avg.$2.853$3.148$3.398$3.150

Currently, diesel is roughly 12% more per gallon than regular gasoline. This is definitely a benefit for gasoline in the battle of diesel vs petrol. Additionally, not all fuel stations have diesel as an option. Gasoline does enjoy additional tax benefits looser environmental restrictions that diesel does not. Should these benefits go away, diesel could be a cheaper option. For now, though, gasoline is the cheaper and more readily available option.

Diesel vs Gas – Vehicle Costs

Between fuel efficiency and fuel costs, overall, you’re ahead with diesel fuel. The cost to purchase a vehicle must now be considered. Let’s look at diesel vs gas for trucks in Golden, CO. Using a major truck manufacturer, two trucks were built with the exact same features except for the engine. The model that came with a diesel engine was priced 9.16% higher. Additionally, the base model of the truck did not offer a diesel engine as an option. The difference between the base model and the entry diesel model was an increase of $28,495 for the base to $47,690 for the entry diesel.

Diesel vs Gas – Longevity

In general, diesel engines last longer than gasoline engines. The combustion process in diesel engines requires sturdier parts. And as we now know, the sturdier parts cost more. The good news is with the stronger engine, the diesel vehicle lasts longer and has higher resale value. When evaluating the cost of ownership between gas vs diesel, this must be considered. This is particularly true when considering diesel vs gas for RVs due to higher costs compared to passenger vehicles.

Diesel vs Gas – Performance

Not all decisions are financial. Sometimes, there is a job to be done and you are willing to pay for performance. In general, diesel-powered engines provide more performance under the hood. One of the questions we get is diesel vs gasoline for towing. More specifically, which engine is better for towing capacity. The diesel combustion system creates torque at lower RPMs than gasoline. Higher torque at lower RPMs is particularly advantageous for towing heavy loads up steep grades. This also saves fuel and increases the longevity of the engine.


There is much to consider when comparing diesel vs regular gas. Diesel engines are more efficient, last longer, have greater resale value, and perform at higher levels. They also have higher upfront, maintenance, and fuel costs. Gasoline engines are more readily available, can cost significantly less, and fuel is easier to find than diesel. However, petrol-fueled engines don’t last as long and have inferior performance.

When considering the difference between diesel and gasoline, having a firm understanding of the purpose of the vehicle is of utmost importance. Regardless of what you chose, we can help with everything from a differential repair to diesel transmission performance upgrades. Call us at (303) 279-7033 or come by the shop to find out how we can help.

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