Diesel vs. Gasoline Engines 101

When should you have a truck with a diesel engine, and when is a gasoline engine a better idea? What are the biggest differences between the two options, and are the differences really that big of a deal?

Yes! Diesel engines – you guessed it – burn diesel fuel, whereas gasoline engines burn gasoline. Diesel fuel and gasoline burn differently.

Vintage TruckGasoline Engine Basics

Gasoline engines, in comparison to diesel engines, tend to have more horsepower, which means trucks with gasoline engines are usually able to accelerate more quickly as a result. Since gasoline engines can reach higher speeds more quickly, trucks with these engines tend to have lower towing capacity. But since they accelerate and reach higher speeds more quickly than diesel engines, a truck with a gasoline engine may be more ideal if you do a lot of city or highway driving.

Trucks with gasoline engines don’t generate as much force to pull and haul heavy loads – like an RV, for example – because gasoline has a lower energy density than diesel fuel. When gasoline burns, it does not generate as much energy compared to diesel fuel, which means diesel engines tend to have a better fuel economy since they burn less fuel.

The Low-Down on Diesel Engines

Diesel BackgroundDiesel engines, on the other hand, have more towing capacity and generate the torque necessary to pull heavy loads up steep inclines. Trucks with gasoline engines are at a disadvantage here. Diesel engines are also designed to be more efficient than gasoline engines, because they inject fuel directly into the cylinder. This means diesel engines waste less fuel, because they burn more fuel. However, the fuel injection system requires special maintenance, and is costly to fix if this system breaks down.

Trucks with diesel engines are a better bet if you want a truck with better towing capacity. If you frequently do a lot of hauling, diesel engine trucks are built to stand up to any task.

Trucks with gasoline engines may be right for you if you don’t require a vehicle with optimal towing capacity.

Performance Trucks & Auto Repair in Montgomery, AL can help you with all of your automotive needs. We provide experienced and affordable automotive care, and can help with any repairs or tune-ups your truck may need.

Call us today at (334) 245-6600 for more information!

Proudly serving Montgomery, AL and its surrounding areas.


  1. Thanks for sharing this advice on the right engine for you. I agree that it is good to get a diesel engine if you have a larger vehicle. It is definitely a great way to make it easier to haul heavy things. In fact, I think that anyone who has a trailer should get a diesel engine to increase their truck’s power.

  2. I’ve been debating over the past little while whether or not my next car purchase should have a diesel engine or not. I didn’t know that they have more towing capacity, as you pointed out. That may very well be the biggest selling point for me. Though, I would wonder if diesel engines are as easily reparable as gasoline engines. Do you know if this is something I should worry about?

  3. It’s actually really interesting to know that diesel engines are more efficient than gasoline ones. I’ve been thinking about getting a truck that runs on diesel for a while now, mostly because it’d be nice to have something that’s better at hauling things. The fact that it doesn’t waste as much fuel is a compelling argument to trade in my old car and make the switch.

  4. Thanks for the information on the difference between gasoline and diesel engines. I need my truck to be able to tow large loads, so it seems that a diesel engine would be a good choice. Do you have any other information for me? Great article!

    • Rhys, I have an SUV and it seems to pull my trailer just fine. I would like to know if I could convert the engine to run on diesel though, it’s so much cleaner. I wonder if my friend could recommend something in this area, he’s a mechanic. Do you know anything about converting a gas engine to diesel? If I can do it, I would like to figure out exactly how to go about it.

  5. The thing I’ve always wondered about diesel engines, If they’re so efficient, how come companies just simply don’t do away with regular gasoline engines and just produce diesel engines. I’ve seen that a lot in Europe a lot more though. Anyway, thanks for sharing the helpful post.

  6. It’s really interesting that diesel engines have more towing capacity than gas engines. That would explain why my dad told me to take his car to tow his trailer instead of my car. I have a gas engine, so it seems like his car with a diesel engine is better equipped for the job. I’ll keep that in mind next time I need to tow something. Thanks for the information!

  7. Knowing the mechanics on engines can be really helpful. I own a truck with a diesel engine, and to be honest, I don’t really understand much of the mechanics for it. However, I am trying to change that, so thanks for the information!

  8. I didn’t know that diesel engines actually generate more torque than a gas engine. This must be why a lot of trucks run on diesel. I think that trucks are super useful, so I’ve been looking at my options. It seems like diesel is the way to go if I want to haul or tow heavy objects. Thanks for explaining the advantages it has over gas, it was really helpful.

  9. Thanks for the information about diesel engines. I thought your comment about how trucks with diesel engines have better towing capacity. I’ll have to remember how they’re supposed to be more efficient than gasoline engines since they inject fuel directly in the cylinder. That will help me choose the right truck.

  10. My brother and I both have F250’s his is gas and mine is a diesel. We have arguments over who’s truck is better all the time. I tell him that diesel is more powerful when towing and gets better fuel millage. He never listen to me. I am going to show him this article. Hopefully he will finally learn diesel is better.

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