Maintenance Costs Comparison: Diesel vs. Gas Engines

Which engines cost more to maintain, diesel or gasoline? These two engine types are used in many pickup trucks we drive and enjoy every day. When you need more power and capability, the obvious choice is a diesel-powered truck, but will this truck fit into your budget in the long run? Whether you’re running a small company and rely on your truck to be budget-friendly or have a fleet of vehicles to operate and maintain, you need to know how different engines impact your bottom line.

Diesel engines cost more to maintain than gas-powered models

Ford Super Duty with the Power Stroke Diesel Engine. This truck offers impressive towing power
Ford Super Duty with the Power Stroke Diesel Engine | Ford

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We might as well get it out of the way; no matter how you slice it, you’ll pay more to maintain your diesel-powered truck. Vehicles with a diesel engine need more frequent oil changes, maintenance checks, and more expensive replacement parts than gasoline-powered vehicles.

Typically, an oil change for a diesel-powered truck costs between $60 and $80 while gasoline models cost between $20 and $40 depending on the size of the engine. This makes us wonder why anyone would select a model that uses diesel unless they absolutely have to.

Why choose diesel over gas?

Even though the maintenance cost aspect of this conversation is an easy one, there are many reasons why many drivers prefer diesel power over gasoline. One of the most important factors is the durability and longevity of the engine. Vehicle Answers tell us many owners know they will have a diesel vehicle for a long time. In fact, in many trucks with diesel engines, the power plant is the last item to have trouble.

Taking a turn; which engine requires more frequent repairs?

Instead of only focusing on the maintenance costs, we should consider how often these two engines will need repair. This brings us to another reason many drivers select a diesel engine instead of a gasoline model. A typical, well-maintained diesel vehicle could last more than one million miles before the engine fails or needs major repairs. This translates to 20 to 30 years of driving.

Unfortunately, most gasoline models only last a fraction of the driving distance offered by their diesel counterparts. Statistically, even properly maintained gas engines fail at 200,000 miles.

Why are diesel vehicles more expensive?

2022 Chevy Silverado HD with Duramax Diesel engine
2022 Chevy Silverado HD Diesel | Chevrolet

A few factors explain why a diesel-powered vehicle is more expensive than those using gasoline engines. Some of these factors are:

  • The supply of gas models is exponentially greater than diesel vehicles
  • Diesel engines typically power larger vehicles which are inherently more expensive
  • Components for diesel vehicles are more expensive to produce
  • Longevity becomes a factor – owners don’t have to replace diesel models as often

Is it better to have a diesel or gas-powered truck?

The McNally Institute gives us a few things to consider, offering benefits for both types of trucks.

Diesel Benefits

  • Heavier-duty models
  • Greater towing and payload
  • Higher gas mileage

Gasoline Benefits

  • Lighter
  • Faster
  • Easier to handle

What type of engine should you have in your truck?

Promo photo of a Ram 3500 pickup truck in a parking lot, a city skyline bellow.
2022 Ram 3500 | Stellantis

In order to answer this question, you have to consider your bottom line and how long you want your truck to last. Diesel truck models typically cost more but last much longer. These vehicles offer greater fuel mileage, but that fuel comes at a higher price. You’ll pay more for maintenance but less for repairs.

In all cases, simply flip the script for a gasoline truck. These trucks cost less but don’t last as long. They have lower fuel mileage numbers, but that fuel is much more affordable. Maintenance costs less per visit, but repairs are more frequent.

Overall, if you want the most power, greater fuel mileage, and longevity, you’ll want to drive a truck with a diesel engine.

Next, check out the 3D printed parts for the Ford Maverick, or watch the top five pros and cons of diesel vs. gasoline trucks in the video below:

This article was updated on 7/28/2022.

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