Top 5 Pros & Cons of Getting a Diesel vs. Gas Pickup Truck

What are all of the considerations when selecting a diesel vs. gas pickup truck? What are the pros & cons of each? Kent “MrTruck” Sundling, Nathan Adlen, and Andre Smirnov discuss the top 5 topics that have to do with this decision. This and many other complicated pickup truck topics are in our new book “Truck Nuts: TFLtruck’s Guide to Pickups”.

The Gas vs. Diesel topics is covered in Chapter 7 of the book. The book is already available for pre-order, and it will launch on Sep 27th, 2016.

Check out the cover below.

You can pre-order the Truck Nuts Book here:

Here are Top 5 topics to consider when choosing between a gas or diesel pickup.

5. Initial Price

Turbo-diesel powertrains are more expensive to begin with. The engine block is heavier to handle higher combustion pressures, the turbocharger is included, the transmission is beefed up to handle the high torque output, and then there is all of the emissions control equipment. The turbo-diesel price premium can range from around $3,900 in a Chevy Colorado, all the way to $11,000+ in a Ram HD with the high output Cummins. Diesels are still better than gas engines on fuel economy, but it may take around 150,000 miles before the fuel cost benefit makes up for the initial price premium. Diesel trucks make sense if you plan to tow a lot, put a lot of miles on your truck, or keep it for many years.

4. Fuel Efficiency

TFLtruck has tested dozens of truck on our 100-mile highway MPG test loop. Turbo-diesel pickups are still better than their gasoline-powered counterparts, but the gap is getting more and more narrow.

3. Emissions

This factor may not be a big part of the decision process for many consumers, but it needs to be discussed. Government emissions regulations are tough on both the gas and diesel engines. However, the emissions control systems are more intrusive on the owner of a diesel pickup. There is the need to refill the Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) on a regular basis in order to avoid the truck either going into limp mode or shutting down. The “regen mode” is another inconvenience. Diesel trucks periodically clean the particulate filters by overfueling for a short period of time to raise the temperature of the exhaust system. The driver of the truck may not even know the truck is in the “regen mode”, but this has a slight negative effect of fuel economy and power delivery.

2. Maintenance Costs

Diesel truck maintenance is more costly than that of a gasser. The oil changes and fuel filter draining or replacement add up to a higher cost. There are further potentials repairs down the line that will test your check book. All of the components that make diesels powerful towing monsters are expensive. Turbo, injector replacements or transmission repairs can add up to many thousands of dollars each. Of course, major component replacement on gas engines is also high. Still, regular maintenance of a diesel powertrain is higher.

1. Towing and Payload Capability

Diesel pickup truck are heavier than gassers, as such gas-powered trucks are rated higher for payload capacity. However, maximum towing capacity and capability is the realm of a diesel pickup. Towing trailers across town can be done with a gas truck, but if you plan on towing long distance and crossing mountain ranges – then diesels come into their own. Not only do they have more torque, but they also have exhaust brakes, fuel economy and longevity to help get the long hauling job done.

Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.