An old saying goes “different strokes for different folks” and this is especially true when you’re deciding whether to go with a gasoline-fired engine or diesel power for your next truck. Given there are distinct advantages to both choices, should your pickup truck be gas or diesel? Let’s look at the arguments for each.
Right off the top, you will pay more to get a truck with a diesel engine than with a gasoline powerplant of similar displacement. Further, in most parts of the country, you’ll pay less for a gallon of gasoline than you will for a gallon of diesel. Ironically, it used to be the other way around. On the other hand, diesel engines return better fuel economy, so depending upon how much you drive, this could work out to be a savings in the long run — even at the higher price per gallon.
Diesels do cost more on upkeep though. Oil changes are more expensive, you have to add diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) to keep them smog legal and the truck’s performance potential will be compromised if it runs out of the fluid. Generally speaking, you’ll need to top up your DEF tank at about the same time you’ll need to change your oil, so that adds an additional layer of expense to that oil-change visit.
On the other hand, Ram lease deals are pretty strong, so you could save some money going that route — particularly if you need the truck for business. However, those leases tend to be on the gas-powered models rather than diesels.
Again, this depends on how you use your truck; but by and large a diesel engine is more durable than one designed to run on gasoline. All the parts are heavier duty, which means they can stand up to use much longer. Plus, diesel engines turn slower than gasoline engines, so a well-maintained diesel will experience less wear.
That said, a lightly used gasoline-powered pickup can also go a million miles (with proper maintenance) no problem. So again, it really comes down to how you plan to use the truck.
Towing and Hauling
You must give proper respect to the diesel in this area. They can pull and haul more weight. This is because diesel engines produce more torque lower down in the rev range. You must get a gasoline engine spinning pretty fast to make good power, meanwhile a diesel has lots of grunt at low speeds. This makes them better at setting a heavy trailer into motion from a rest.
Diesels also have integrated exhaust brakes, which makes slowing down with a heavy load easier to accomplish — and with less wear and tear on the brakes. By the way, if you are looking for a full-size diesel-powered pickup with a manual transmission, your only current choice is a Ram with a Cummins, in either a 2500 or a 3500.
So, should your pickup truck be gas or diesel? It really comes down to how you use your truck. If you are doing a lot of towing and hauling and putting a lot of miles on the truck, you are going to come out ahead going diesel. If maintenance and acquisition costs are your primary concerns, gasoline power will put you where you want to be in terms of cash outlay.
The best advice we can offer is to take some time to really examine your needs and decide accordingly. You are far more likely to come out ahead approaching the decision in that fashion.