Trucks & SUVs

Are Diesel Trucks Really Better for Towing?

There’s a general consensus that diesel trucks are better for towing. But is that consensus actually true? After all, several gas-powered pickup trucks are more than capable of pulling an impressive amount of cargo. 

Ford's 2011 F250 Super Duty Power Stroke Diesel pickup truck is photographed pulling a 17,000-pound utility trailer up a mountain grade during a media unveiling in Yarnell, Arizona, U.S., on Tuesday, March 2, 2010.
Ford Super Duty Power Stroke Diesel pickup truck. | Mark Elias/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The advantages of buying a diesel truck 

There are several reasons to buy a diesel truck. According to the Auffenberg Dealer Group, while diesel fuel tends to be more on the expensive side, diesel trucks are often more fuel-efficient than gas-powered ones. For many, that means less time spent at the pump. 

According to Hot Shot’s Secrets, diesel trucks tend to last longer than gas-powered trucks too. Hot Shot’s Secret reports that there are a few reasons to explain why diesel pickups last longer. Overall, though, it comes down to better oil flow and better engine lubrication.

Of course, there are some downsides to purchasing a diesel pickup. Trusted Choice explains that diesel trucks are often more expensive. Maintenance costs tend to be higher too. According to Diesel Power Gear, diesel trucks tend to deliver a rougher ride as well. Though, this will vary by model.

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Do diesel trucks really tow more?

Now, fuel efficiency and longevity aren’t the only advantages to buying a diesel truck. Remember that general consensus? The one about diesel trucks being better for towing? Well, that’s perhaps one of the biggest reasons pickup shoppers opt for a diesel truck.

But are diesel pickups actually better for towing? After all, that is the question. As it turns out, while plenty of diesel trucks can pull pretty incredible amounts, they aren’t always better for towing.

Take, for example, the 2021 Ford F-150. This year’s model is available with several engine options, a Power Stroke turbo-diesel engine included. With its available diesel engine under the hood, the Ford F-150 can pull 12,100-pounds. Opt for the F-150 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 instead, and this year’s F-150 boasts a maximum towing capacity of 14,000-pounds. That’s a huge difference. 

It’s the same story with the 2021 Chevy Silverado too. With a Duramax 3.0-liter turbo-diesel engine under the hood, this year’s Silverado can tow up to 9,500-pounds. Consider its 6.2-liter V8 instead and this year’s Chevy Silverado can tow up to 13,300-pounds. Again, that’s a pretty massive difference.

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Diesel pickups with the most towing power

Now, there’s no denying that diesel trucks aren’t always going to be able to tow more. The 2021 Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado did an excellent job of proving that. But if you’d still prefer a diesel pickup? There are plenty of options more than capable of towing upwards of 10,000-pounds.

In fact, according to U.S. News & World Report, much like the 2021 Ford F-150 Power Stroke turbo-diesel, the 2021 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel is strong enough to haul over 10,000-pounds. For even more towing power, however, U.S. News & World Report suggests taking a gander at a heavy-duty diesel pickup.

Take, for instance, the 2021 GMC Sierra HD, which can tow up to 36,000-pounds when properly equipped. According to U.S. News & World Report, the GMC Sierra HD offers some pretty nifty features too. Consider its available In-Vehicle Trailering App, which lets the driver create custom trailer profiles, get trailer tire pressure status updates, and receive maintenance reminders. 

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Is buying a diesel truck worth it?

There are several reasons to consider choosing a diesel pickup. However, if you’re in the market for a truck that offers serious towing power? You’re going to want to consider both diesel and gas-powered pickups. Much like the Ford F-150 and the Chevy Silverado, there are plenty of gas-powered pickups capable of out-muscling their diesel-powered counterparts.