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Diesel vs Gas: Which one Should You Choose for your RV?

The urge to reconnect with the outdoors and the open road usually returns with spring and RV shows. Maybe you would like to sell your “old clunker” and replace it with a newer, more polished model. Or perhaps, on the eve of an upcoming retirement, you imagine yourself driving into the sunset at the wheel of your very first RV. When it comes to choosing an RV, it is important to make an informed decision before you buy, and the same age old question has fueled the debate with regard to the type of RV engine: gas or diesel? The answer is not simple as it often depends on many factors such as your travel frequency, maintenance, fuel economy, financial means and floor space needs.

Pros of owning a Gas RV

             If you’re looking to travel only once in a while, then a smaller gas engine RV (35 feet or smaller) could make more sense.
             Since service and fuel stations are common, gas is much more accessible and affordable than diesel.
             Gas engines are also more resistant to cold weather than diesel engines.
             They have higher RPMs (about 6000 RPMs), allowing for a smoother, quieter ride with faster acceleration.

Cons of owning a Gas RV

             Gasoline has a strong odor and a short shelf life due to evaporation.
             Gas engines have weaker towing power compared to diesel equivalents.

Pros of owning a Diesel RV

             RVs with diesel engines are an excellent choice if you are looking to travel frequently and for longer periods of time.
             They tend to offer more efficient fuel consumption, meaning less frequent refills at the gas pump.
             Diesel engines usually have better torque. This means improved towing capability, an important factor if floor space is a priority.
             If well maintained, diesel engines have a longer life than gasoline ones and can still perform reliably after extensive mileage. This means diesel RVs often retain a higher resell value after a few years.

Cons of owning a Diesel RV

             At a range of $2.00 to $3.50 per gallon, diesel fuel often costs more at the pump. However, this is off-set by their superior fuel economy.
             RVs with diesel engines have lower RPMs than those with gas engines meaning slower acceleration and lower top speeds.

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Emily Sullivan
Emily Sullivan
Emily Sullivan is a Content Curator for Trader Interactive, serving the recreational brands RV Trader and Cycle Trader. Her mission is to provide thoughtful, practical content to those who are always on the hunt for their next adventure.

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9 Responses

  1. This must be an older article? In many states diesel is the most resonable choice at the pump. A recent trip through Utah I paid an average of 8 cents a gallon less for diesel. Of course being an Engineer and a past full time RVer I disagree with some other points of this article which to me only leaves your financial position the only reason for not going with a diesel Rig. First I would wish to blow a few holes in the article's reasons for gasoline. In the United States our goods are all transported by diesel which means finding fuel is never an issue with a bit of planning. Truck stops are located on all major roadways and even the smallest towns have a diesel pump or two. When traveling with a RV you just can't whip into any gas station anyway. You must worry about hieght and length. My Rig is 13'2" tall and 54 feet long. I fuel 95 percent of the time in the much easier Big Rig Fuel lanes, note, if you do this please learn proper commercial truck fueling etiquette. I don't only have the proper clearences but also enjoy the superfast delivery system at commercial pumps. The next item is diesels though low reving have much greater torque. Which adds to 0 to 60 acceleration and at 500 hp there is not a gas RV on the market that has better aceleration then my diesel rig. Comfort and smoothness of ride is much more a product of suspension then type of fuel that is in the tank. The arguement of cold weather diesel use is also a non issue with additive I have traveled in -27 degree temperatures in Nevada, no problem with fuel. Holding tanks and water lines are another story. This article could have been much more correct and helpful if it read "If you can afford it buy a Diesel. You won't be sorry!"

  2. With 100 gallon fuel tanks, running out of diesel would require some special effort to ignore the gauges. The economy of running diesel is a given, especially for the generators. They are quiet and low RPM. Non-volativity compared to gasoline is another benefit. Then the exhaust braking for holding on downgrades is a plus. The only downside is the extra price of the engine and some added weight.

  3. There's certainly a lot to consider when it comes to a Gas RV versus a Diesel RV. You bring up some really good points in this article. Here's another posting that compares Diesel vs. Gas that is pretty informative on this topic as well – the more resources to learn from, the better, I say!

  4. My sister would like to look for a gasoline delivery service since this will be needed in starting up her newly bought RV. Well, it’s great to learn that gas engines are more resistant to cold weather. It never occurred to me that it will have a smoother and quarter acceleration too.

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