Diesel Trucks vs. Gasoline Trucks: Which is Best for Road Trips?

A black truck drives on a country highway.

As long as there have been vehicles, there has been a debate over which is better: gasoline or diesel. Diesel trucks have long been the choice for heavy loads, but how does this option stack up against gasoline vehicles for family road trips?

Can there be a clear winner when the choice is often quite subjective? Outside of personal choices, there are factors to keep in mind, such as fuel efficiency, driving conditions, how much torque is required, range, maintenance, fuel availability and more.

Fuel Cost and Availability

Fuel will likely be the most expensive part of any long trip. Fuel efficiency, therefore, becomes a key consideration. According to this study by The Motley Fool, diesel trucks are 29% more efficient on the highway and 24% more efficient in the city than their gasoline counterparts.

An important caveat about fuel efficiency and cost is the difference in price per gallon. There are times when owners of gas-powered vehicles will look at the price of diesel and wish they’d decided to purchase a diesel truck. However, historically, diesel is the more expensive of the two.

Fuel prices vary from one day to the next. As of this writing, regular gas per gallon is 11 cents more expensive than diesel, so the advantage currently goes to diesel truck owners.

But then there’s availability to consider. When you’re on a trip that spans hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of miles, you need to be more careful about planning your trip if you’re driving a diesel truck. When you roll into a filling station, there is no assurance they’ll have diesel fuel.


If you want to keep your vehicle for many years and rack up the miles on it without worry about it failing, you are going to want to lean toward acquiring a diesel vehicle for the following reasons:

  • Diesel engines have more durable components and fewer moving parts than gas engines
  • Operating at lower RPM also has perks, reducing the stress on diesel engines
  • Diesel engines use combustion just as gas engines do, but it’s more controlled and gradual, producing less stress on engine components
  • Diesel fuel has lubricating properties – more so than gas, reducing friction

While diesel engines last longer than gas engines, they still need their share of maintenance to perform at their best. Before you embark on your next family trip, be sure to have your engine serviced by a trusted provider of diesel maintenance. At Gray Diesel & Equipment Services, we have state-of-the-art maintenance facilities where our knowledgeable staff is ready to address all your needs. Make an appointment with us today.