Gas or Diesel Motorhome?

Hello Campers!

When purchasing a motorhome, it is important to know the Pros & Cons of having a Gas VS. Diesel Engine, below we have listed the pro's and con's to both, we would enjoy hearing your opinions and experience with both engines as an RV'er, feel free to share with us and other readers in a comment below:

Diesel Motorhome:


-Diesels are more efficient: Most gasoline engines convert about 30 percent of their fuel energy into actual power. A traditional diesel converts about 45 percent. And advanced diesels can hit about 50 percent.

- Diesels are more reliable: Because they don’t need high-voltage ignition systems, diesel engines never fail for lack of a spark. They also don’t emit radio frequency emissions that can interfere with a vehicle’s other electronic systems.

- Diesels run cooler: Because they are more efficient, diesel engines release less waste heat while in operation.4. Diesels last longer.

-Diesel engine parts are generally stronger than gas engine components: Diesel fuel has superior lubricating properties. As a result, diesel engines tend to last twice as long as gas-powered ones.

- Diesel fuel is safer: Diesel fuel doesn’t release fumes like gasoline does. It’s more difficult to burn and won’t explode like its lighter counterpart.

- Diesels are more easily turbo-charged: Put under sufficient pressure, gasoline engines will spontaneously detonate. By contrast, the amount of super- or turbo-charging pressures diesel engines can endure are limited only by the strength of the engines themselves.

- Diesels produce minimal carbon monoxide: This makes diesel generators useful in mines and submarines, environments in which gasoline engine exhaust would prove deadly.

- Diesel engines can easily accept synthetic fuels: Non-petroleum-based biofuels will run easily in diesel engines, whereas gas engines need to be significantly modified to accept such alternative fuels.

-Engine Longevity: Diesel engines are generally built stronger than gasoline engines and tend to last longer. Heavy-duty truck engines will often run up to a million miles between overhauls, and diesel cars often go well past 200,000 miles with no major engine problems.

-Excellent for towing: Diesels produce lots of torque (pulling power) at low engine speeds. For example, a four-cylinder diesel can produce as much torque as a six-cylinder gas engine. Horsepower ratings for diesels tend to be lower, however, because horsepower is a function of engine speed and diesels have lower maximum speeds than gasoline engines. In other words, they aren’t a good choice for sports cars.

-Great fuel economy: Diesel cars can deliver fantastic gas mileage often approaching that of hybrid cars. This may be one reason that the Europeans like diesels so much as fuel costs in Europe can be extremely high.

-Can use alternative fuels: Unlike gasoline engines, diesels can run on renewable fuels such as biodiesel with no major modifications. Many manufacturers support operation on biodiesel mixes up to BD20 (20% biodiesel/80% petroleum-based diesel) without voiding the manufacturer’s warranty.

-Mechanical simplicity: Gasoline engines require sophisticated computer-controlled fuel and spark systems to control engine functions. Diesels use a single master fuel pump, and there is no spark system. Look under the hood of a diesel car and you will see a lot less clutter.


Operating noise: Unlike gasoline engines, which produce most of their noise from their easily-muffled exhausts, a good deal of the diesel engine’s noise comes directly from the engine itself. Although manufacturers today are getting pretty good at using sound-deadening insulation in their cars, diesel engines still have a bit of that characteristic diesel clatter.

Initial expense: Diesel engines employ much higher compression ratios than gasoline engines. Therefore, they must be built stronger than standard gasoline engines. This makes them heavier and a bit more expensive to build.

Engine emissions and maintenance: Though the diesel engine was invented well over a century ago, little attention was paid to emissions until recently. Most modern-day diesel cars rely on diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) an exhaust treatment that reduces the diesel engine’s emissions. These cars have a DEF tank which must be refilled every 15,000 to 30,000 miles per EPA regulations.

Diesel Misconceptions:

Fuel availability: Diesel engines require diesel fuel and while it’s true that not all gas stations offer diesel, the infrastructure is still excellent (Remember, most trucks and buses run use diesel fuels). Worst case, when traveling, you may not be able to fill up at the first gas station you see but maybe the next one after that. When driving around where you live, you will be able to identify a station that sells diesel fuel quickly and use that for your diesel fuel “home base”.

Poor cold-weather starting: Older diesels were difficult to start in cold weather. These diesels used old-fashioned glow plugs, which had to heat for 10 to 20 seconds before the engine could be started. Newer diesels feature significantly faster pre-heating systems and will start almost immediately, even in very cold weather.

Smoke: Diesel vehicles have a reputation of being smoky and smelly, a throwback to the low-tech diesels found in older vehicles. Today’s diesels are far more refined and are almost entirely smoke- and odor-free.

Gas Motorhome:


- Gas motorhomes cost less to purchase compared to a diesel motorhome

- The costs of parts and service work on a gas engine are more affordable and are more "Do It Yourself" friendly

- Gas prices are lower than diesel prices

-Gas engines tend to be quieter than diesel engines


- Gas motorhomes have a lower MPG than Diesel motorhomes

- Gas engines lose power with altitude, resulting in a slower speed while going up mountains

- Gas engines and chassis usually have a less towing capacity than a diesel chassis

- Fewer floor plan selections compared to a diesel motorhome

- Gas engines tend to have a shorter life span than diesel engines

What is your experience with Diesel VS. Gas Motorhomes? Do you prefer one over the other? Please share your experience and opinions with us in a comment below

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