If you’re about to buy your first motorhome or trailer, the one question that will come up is: “What’s better, gas or diesel RVs?” It seems like a straightforward question but when you dig a little deeper you’ll discover there really is no one answer that applies to everybody. Here’s why:
Gas or Diesel RVs Each Have Pros and Cons
It doesn’t matter if your dream RV is a Class A motor coach or a tricked-out toy hauler. Trying to decide whether a gas or diesel RVs is better or worse is a losing battle. Toss aside the debate about which kind of fuel is better for RVs and you’ll still find many pros and cons for each engine type, such as:
The pros of gas-powered RV engines include:
- The RV costs less to buy, whether new or used.
- They usually have less expensive maintenance costs.
- Finding fuel on the road is easier.
But a few cons of gas-powered RV engines include:
- They can’t tow as much cargo as a diesel engine RV.
- They simply don’t last as long as a diesel engine before major overhauls are needed.
- Recouping costs is much more difficult when you decide to sell.
RV diesel-powered engines have advantages that include:
- Higher engine torque to conquer steep passes.
- Better fuel economy, whether towing or not.
- Higher resale values, thanks partly to diesel engine longevity.
But, diesel-powered engines have their share of challenges for RVers, such as:
- They cost more money to buy and maintain.
- Finding capable diesel mechanics is a bit harder.
- Protecting your diesel engine from cold weather is neccessary.
Your Lifestyle is the Biggest Factor
Stop asking yourself “What’s better, gas or diesel RVs?” Instead, take a careful look at your camping and recreation preferences. Let’s start with how you want to use the RV.
Are you drafting plans for a full-time RVing lifestyle? Do your toys go everywhere with you? If so, then a diesel engine might be your best choice. The towing capacity and fuel economy of a diesel engine can’t be beat.
Do you live for weekend excursions to nearby campgrounds? Is a full-time RVing lifestyle a faraway dream? If so, a more cost-effective choice would be a gas-powered RV. Whether towing a trailer or driving a snappy little Class C motorhome, you’ll find gas-powered RVs friendly to your wallet and lifestyle.
You can research all day long and discover that RVers endlessly debate the gas or diesel RVs question in RV Discussion Forums. But more than anything else, lifestyle is the biggest factor in choosing your perfect rig. This wise iRV2 Discussion Forum member put it best when he said:
IMHO, too many focus on the wrong things (gas versus diesel). I’d suggest deciding how you are going to use your motorhome and then picking the appropriate rig. IMHO, this is not just frequency and distance. It is also the weight and volume of stuff you plan to haul (bodies, toys, toad, clothes, junk, hobbies, etc…) and the mode you plan to “camp” (always full hookup versus weeks of boondocking). – iRV2 Member JFNM
Many RVers find it takes a few tries before getting their choice right. In the end, RV ownership is just like a road trip as it’s all about the adventure.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.