The debate over gasoline verses diesel power for your RV has been a hot topic for some decades now. This would include tow vehicles for trailers, or any other manner of motorized recreational vehichle. The question that Russ and Lori get frequently is, which is better?

Apples to oranges would be a similar comparative value. We would like to start with some things to consider if purchasing a diesel unit. A diesel engine does not work as hard as a gasoline engine does. They definitely do last longer. Equal care, liter for liter, a diesel engine can give you hundreds of thousands of miles. Along with that, you get the torque that allows a diesel to operate at a lower rpm. Diesel rigs generally have higher capacity for overall weight and towing. Diesel engines also tend to be a bit more fuel efficient that a gasoline engine. Air suspensions, larger capacity chassis and tires, many units a rear engine pusher, this is a quiet, comfortable ride. There are some heavy duty diesel motorhomes with a Freightliner or other front engine chassis.

So, what are the potential negative sides of having a diesel RV? If you are on a tight budget, you will find that a really nice diesel unit, new or pre-owned, will cost more than a gasoline unit. Back in the day, diesel fuel was much less costly than gasoline. With clean diesel and greater efficiency fuels required, diesel fuel costs are close to that of gasoline. Maintenance on a diesel RV will be a bit more costly as well.

Right now, is an exceptional time to find a new or pre-owned gasoline powered RV. This could be a Class A, B, or C. The market is rich with these. A gasoline powered RV has many advantages as well. First would be cost. You can do really well on the purchase of a gas unit right now. With so many new types of RV types available, many are trading in for something more suitable for them. The majority of these motorhomes are gasoline units, many with very few miles on them. A gasoline engine is somewhat easier to work on, and maintenance costs are lower for the average RV owner. The versatility and efficiency of newer engine packages are really amazing. Transmissions with more gears and greater range used to be reserved for diesel units. Not any more, as there are some sweet transmissions like the Allison that are super dependable. Gasolines engines are quieter, but not by much. New diesels have systems that make them purr now.

To have this gasoline power, you can expect a shorter engine lifespan. Still, with the miles most people put on an RV in a year, miles are not as important as very regular maintenance. A gasoline RV engine will run well over 100,000 miles, probably closer to 200,000 miles with proper care. You can also expect less total gross vehicle weight numbers and less tow ratings. There are systems from Banks and others that make systems for gasoline RV engines and transmissions. These can run a few thousand dollars for a system, but performance will be enhanced.

Which power to choose is certainly something to ponder. Diesel is great, but not for everybody. Tow vehicles come with standard horsepower unheard of 20 years ago. More horsepower, more torque equaled larger travel trailers and RVs. Pretty much every RV out there is computer controlled, as are tow vehicles. Diesel units are no exception. The exhaust system on new diesel vehicles is a miracle of science. Alas, the cost of that miracle appears on the window sticker.

It comes down to what will make you happy. A good rule of thumb with an RV purchase is to make sure you are comfortable with the cost and/or payment. An RV loan can be spread over 20 years or longer. Be it diesel or gas, the scenery and destination are just as sweet. So, saddle up to what suits you and Let’s get Rollin’!

To contact Russ and Lori, email them at