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Diesel RV vs gas RV, which one should you get? This is one of the things RV owners have to consider before getting one. So, what are the things you should know about these two to make a good decision?
The diesel RV vs gas RV has been a long-running debate amongst RV owners. So which one’s better? This is dependent on your RV lifestyle.
What’s your travel style? How important is fuel economy for you? Can you perform regular preventive maintenance on your RV? And lastly, what size of RV are you looking for?
The reason why the diesel RV vs gas RV debate has continued to this day is that there’s no clear-cut answer as to which one is better. Each one has its pros and cons attached to it. You can’t truly say that a diesel RV is better than a gas RV. Where one is better, the other one lacks, and vice versa.
As long as you make a realistic comparison, you’re good. You can’t expect a Class A gas RV to have better mileage than a Class B diesel RV in the same way that you can’t expect the smaller vehicle to provide as much comfort as the larger class.
Let’s go over some of the factors that should affect your decision to buy a diesel RV vs gas RV.
Factors To Consider When Buying An RV
Whether you’re getting a diesel RV vs gas RV, buying one is still a huge investment. This is not a product you can easily buy off a shelf and return if it does not fit your needs. Let’s say you bought one and you decided to return it to the manufacturer, you’ll still have to pay some fees before they release another unit to you.
If you decide you’re not really that invested in the RV lifestyle, whether you get a diesel RV vs gas RV, you’ll still have to pay some fees if you’ve already made the initial purchase and decided to return it.
Needless to say, careful consideration is needed before you finalize your purchase.
So here are some factors to consider before you buy an RV.
Is Your RV Going To Be A Temporary Or Permanent Home?
With the state the economy’s in, a lot of people have made the move to downsize their lifestyle. A lot of new RV owners actually bought their units for residential purposes. This is something a lot of old-timers would advise you not to do. There’s a lot of buyer regret floating around after people found out the RV lifestyle is not for them.
But let’s say you did go ahead and buy one regardless of a diesel RV vs gas RV. Are you going to use it as a temporary or permanent home? Are you living alone, or are you bringing a family along with you? How much room do you need to ensure everyone’s comfortable?
What most people fail to consider before buying an RV as a home is, does it have all of the amenities you need for comfort? Does it have enough space for a comfortable bed? Does it have a functioning comfort room? What about a kitchen? Are there enough windows for proper venting? How easy is it to clean?
The bottom line is when you’re buying an RV to serve as a home, think of everything you would expect to find in a house you’d be comfortable to live in before making the purchase. This is what you should consider first whether you’re deciding on a diesel RV vs gas RV.
How Much Comfort And Luxury Are You Willing To Sacrifice?
Next, comfort and luxury.
If you’re buying an A Class RV, you can skip most of the sections detailed here. We all know there are very little anyone sacrifices when getting a Class A RV, save for fuel-efficiency. These sections are targeted more at Class B, Class C, Towables, and camper vans.
Ok, now where were we?
Oh right, comfort, and luxury. No one likes living in an uncomfortable home. Increasing the amount of luxuries in your RV is one way to make it more comfortable. Don’t believe me? Barring price cost considerations, I have not yet met an RV owner who’d prefer a composting toilet over a regular flushing one.
Do a walk-around, check under the chassis, check the engine, and determine if these fit your needs. Take a look at the exterior. Do you like how it looks? Is it something you’ll be proud of owning and living in? If the outside fits your needs, it’s time to take a look inside.
Does it afford you enough privacy? Does it have a working toilet? What about a kitchen? Are there enough lights in the interior? Do you have curtains for your windows? Are there any extra items inside that could raise your comfort levels, like an air conditioning system and a furnace? Check everything and ask questions.
So, before making a final decision on which one to get, check which RV affords you the most comfort and luxury to make it an enjoyable home to live in. A lot of RVs are abandoned or returned because of the lack of comfort and luxury that owners have become accustomed to in their own regular homes.
What’s Your Travel Style?
Travel style varies widely from one RVer to another. Reasons like visiting relatives, escaping the weather, or living in an RV full-time are just some of those. So, let’s try to determine what your travel style is before we delve further into the diesel RV vs gas RV debate.
Are you planning on living or using your RV full-time, part-time, seasonal, or for weekends or vacations only? Are you planning on driving your RV frequently, or are you planning on parking it for extended periods of time?
What type of terrain are you expected to encounter? Are you RVing in mountainous regions or just driving through flat areas? Will you be towing anything behind your RV? How much cargo are you expecting to carry?
These are things you have to consider. The good thing is, you can foresee these things by checking the map and the orientation of the land. For your cargo, you can always measure everything before loading it into your RV. Add the GVWR, and you’ll know just how heavy you are.
The rest is entirely up to your scheduling efficiency.
How Much Space Do You Need In Your RV?
Now that you know your travel style, how big is that RV that you’re going to need for this? Don’t think about the price yet. Just keep your expectations realistic at this point. Just how much space do you need to make living in an RV worth your while?
When it comes to the size of the RV, how you use it is actually more important. That’s why we discussed travel style first. There’s no point in getting a Class A RV if the camp you’re planning to stay in is out of the way and has soft ground. You’re just going to end up stuck in the mud.
How you use it will also matter. If you’re just planning to park it and live in it the entire time, you’re better off with a trailer RV than a motorcoach. Keeping a motorcoach RV, no matter what size, stationary is just a waste of having a powerful engine under the hood.
The space inside your RV will also determine how much you’re going to enjoy it the longer you have it. It matters more if you live in your RV with your family. So you’ll have to determine just how much space you need for each person or even just for you if you’re living alone.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is storage space. Trust me, an RV can easily get cluttered if you don’t have lockers and cabinets to store loose items in.
Last but not least, base your purchase consideration on the space afforded by the RV that will allow you to live the lifestyle you plan on living in it.
Slide Outs: Yay Or Nay?
One popular RV feature that has really taken off is RV slide outs. RV slide-outs can effectively increase your usable space inside your RV. Since this isn’t a common feature, it is treated as an add-on with a matching cost. RVs with slide-outs will definitely cost more whether you get a diesel RV vs gas RV.
So, should RV slide outs be supported? Here are some questions you need to ask before choosing an RV variant with this feature.
Slide outs present a different set of problems and solutions if you really think about it. These sections are cantilevered against your RV’s side and only supported by opposing rails. The question is: will it be strong enough to handle the weight you put on it. Do you need floor jacks to help support the weight?
Another question is will it be able to withstand strong winds while it is fully extended? Do you need to retract it to prevent it from incurring damage? What about the weather sills? Will they be able to keep water out? What about snow?
Will you be able to keep the rails clean? What preventive maintenance do you need to ensure it continues to be in good condition?
Before buying an RV with slide outs, make sure you test it and see how smoothly it operates. Extend and retract it several times and take note of how long it takes to complete the process. Is it flush against your RV when it is fully retracted?
Last but not least: is it worth the extra dollars to get slide outs or is the space inside your RV enough for your needs?
So, slide outs: Yay or nay?
How Much Cargo Space Do You Have?
Do you need more cargo space? Have a roof rack installed. RVs are well-equipped to handle loads of cargo atop their frame. Just try not to get overboard with adding stuff onto these roof racks. There’s still a vertical limit that you have to consider for all vehicles on the road today. Check this article out: The Top 10 Roof Racks For Your Vehicle
Before leaving, take stock of your inventory. How much are you bringing along with you? will your roof rack be able to handle the weight? More importantly, will your roof attachment be able to handle the total weight of the cargo plus the roof rack?
Are the things you’re planning to put on top of your roof rack weatherproof? Do you have a way to seal it from water exposure?
Here’s the bottom line: make sure you get a roof rack rated for your RV and load enough cargo appropriately.
Will You Be Able To Perform Preventive Maintenance On Your RV?
One of the things RV dealers fail to inform their customers is the amount of preventive maintenance work you’ll need to do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis. You’d think this amount of preventive maintenance was too much, right? But then again, this isn’t a regular vehicle you just drive from point A to point B and leave parked in between.
This is an RV. This is your home on wheels.
Like a regular home, you’re always doing something to it. And that’s how it is with an RV.
Most of the time will be spent on keeping it clean. That’s where a vacuum cleaner and other professional cleaning tools will come in handy. You might also want to invest in a power washer to keep the exterior free from dust, dirt, and grime.
Most trailer parks will have cleaning tools that you can rent, but owning your own set will help you save money in the long run.
Your tires will also need looking after. Keeping your RV on jack stands if you’re parked too long and covered will lengthen its lifespan.
You’ll find a selection of floor jacks, and jack stands to lift your RV with here: Lift The Biggest Vehicles With The Best Floor Jack Professionals Use
For tire covers, you’ll find out more about that here: Do RV Tire Covers Really Help?
You’ll also need to winterize your RV when it gets cold outside. You don’t want burst pipes when you’re out on the road or keeping your RV in your garage.
Here’s how to do it: Can You Winterize RV Without AntiFreeze?
For other performance maintenance tasks, bring it into a service center and let the professionals do it for you.
How Important Is Fuel Economy To You?
This is probably where most of the debate on diesel RV vs gas RV stems from. So, how important is fuel economy for you?
You can expect a diesel RV to give you a range of 8-14 miles per gallon in normal conditions. A gasser, six to ten. That’s a huge difference if you’re thinking about fuel economy and efficiency between a diesel RV vs gas RV.
But then again, what are you planning on using your RV for? What type of terrain are you expecting to encounter on your journey. This is a huge consideration if you/ have to choose between a diesel RV vs gas RV.
You can refer back to the previous section, “What’s Your Travel Style?” to help you choose between the two.
Knowing how you drive, where you drive your RV, and what you intend to do with it is one of the best ways to improve your fuel economy. Making the necessary adjustments to improve your fuel economy further will increase your savings in the long run.
Unless we’re talking stock RVs, no two RVs are exactly the same.
One of the biggest markets in the RV niche is the accessories niche. There’s always something for someone to help personalize their RV to their taste and needs. It can be anything from curtains to RV awnings to space heaters and everything in between.
Are you looking for an RV toilet to replace your stock toilet? Read this before making a decision:
So, consult your dealer first before buying one. Try to find out what they can add in for you to increase your comfort and luxury once you have it delivered. You’ll find most of them will happily replace some basic aspects of your RV for a small fee.
Ask if you can have a dashcam system installed for safety. Not only will this make your RV look and feel ultra-modern, but it will also increase the safety aspect of your rig. Here’s a list of the 12 best in the market today: The 12 Best Dash Cam Systems For Your Car Today
The best time to have these customizations done is before driving off in your brand new RV. Try to make it a one-time thing because adding more can void your warranty. Installing everything before making the purchase makes it part of the RV and is covered by the basic warranty.
You have to understand that these add-ons will drive the basic price of the RV up. It doesn’t matter if it’s a diesel RV vs gas RV that you’re getting, customization will cost money.
Finally, We Come To The Price Of The RV
We purposely made this the last item to consider simply because price should never be your sole basis for choosing an RV. It’s better to spend more on an RV you will actually use than one you’ll just end up regretting getting in the first place.
What use is there for owning the latest Class A RV model when it’s just going to spend the majority of its lifespan parked in your garage? On the other hand, saving a ton of money by getting the cheapest pop-up trailer and having a miserable time living in it isn’t a good trade-off.
Some people find that the initial cost of buying an RV is a restrictive factor. Here’s some good news: you don’t have to pay in full when you get one. You can always get a loan and pay it off in more affordable installments. As long as you have a good credit score, you’re good.
Price varies between a diesel RV vs gas RV. You’ll find that the diesel variants are priced higher than gas RVs. But the resale value between these two is reversed.
Ok, here’s a tip: if you’re the occasional RVer, get a gas model. If you’re thinking of living the RV lifestyle full-time, get a diesel RV. That’s one way to settle the diesel RV vs gas RV debate.
At the end of the day, it’s still your decision which one you’re getting.
Now let’s talk about the difference between a diesel RV vs gas RV in the next sections.
Pros And Cons Of A Diesel RV
Let’s delve a little into the diesel RV vs gas RV debate by understanding the pros and cons between each variant. Let’s start with diesel RVs.
It’s a known fact that diesel engines last longer than gas engines. They’re more robust and easier to maintain. This also means you can drive your diesel RV for longer periods before bringing it in to the service center for a check-up.
However, this does not necessarily lead to a higher resale value if you want to trade up or just sell your RV for whatever reason.
Diesel Engine Are Built To Last
One of the major benefits of owning a diesel RV vs a gas RV is having a robust engine under the hood. This is why full-time RVers almost always choose the diesel variants over gas variants.
Superior Low-End Torque
You’ll need a lot of torque for towing and climbing mountains. With a diesel RV, you’ll be able to maintain your speed without adding too much throttle to the engine.
This is also important if you’re getting a large RV like a Class A or Class C. you’ll need all that torque to move heavy loads or tow large objects behind your RV. The torque will also help you move and get up to speed faster and easier.
Compared to a gas RV, you have a more usable powerband in the lower RPM range.
More Expensive To Own And Maintain
Diesel RVs are more expensive than their gas counterparts. How much this affects your decision will be impacted by your budget and likely the size RV you want. Diesel maintenance is also more expensive due to the specialized parts and labor required. However, a diesel RV will require less-frequent maintenance, so some consider this an acceptable tradeoff.
A new diesel RV costs an average of $170,000 to $200,000, which is a huge difference when compared to the $80,000 to $150,000 list price of a gas RV.
You’ll Need A Complicated Brake System For Stopping Power
Because diesel RVs have increased torque, a more powerful braking system is needed. Larger brake drums and calipers are needed for effective stopping power on these large machines. It’s not uncommon to find air brakes on Class A and Class C RVs, given that their GVW is well over 4500 lbs.
If you’re not comfortable about having air brakes on your RV, you’re better off with a smaller type or, better yet, get a gasser instead.
How’s The Fuel Economy?
Although diesel fuel is more expensive, this is where the diesel RV vs gas RV is justified. Although diesel fuel costs more, a diesel engine will burn less fuel than its gas counterpart. Diesel also burns cleaner than gasoline and is not as volatile. The only downside is that diesel isn’t as widely available as gasoline across all refueling stations.
Maintaining A Diesel RV? Call A Professional!
It’s more difficult to maintain a diesel RV vs gas RV. You may need to call a professional diesel engine technician to take care of your RV for you. The good thing is that you won’t have to perform this engine maintenance as frequently as you would with a gas engine.
So, after knowing the pros and cons, if you’re still dead set on getting a diesel RV, by all means, get one.
Pros And Cons Of A Gas RV
And now for gas RVs. This is where the diesel RV vs gas RV debate becomes more exciting. Personally, I’d go for a gas RV. But then again, I’m not on the road all the time.
There Are More Gas Variants Available Than Diesel RVs
Gas engines are relatively cost-effective to produce. This means more gas RVs make owning one easier since there’s always one available to buy.
Gas Is Cheaper Than Diesel
If you want to save on the initial cost of buying fuel, then you’ll be happy to know that gas is cheaper than diesel fuel. But is the trade-off worth it? Gas burns faster than diesel therefore you’ll need to constantly refuel to keep going.
The good thing is, there’s always a gas station around the corner that you can stop and fill up at. In the long run, will you be able to justify the total expenses put into buying gasoline over diesel?
Another good thing about gasoline is that it performs better when it’s cold. If you’re RVing on higher altitudes, you’ll be better off with a gasoline RV than with a diesel RV.
Gas Engines Are Easier To Maintain
This is something anyone can do in their own garage. You won’t need overly-specialized tools to perform basic maintenance on your gasoline engine.
Since gas RVs operate at a higher RPM, there is more stress on the engine. This leads to more stress on the engine. So make sure you perform preventive maintenance on your engine every 1000 miles or so.
The Uphill Struggle Is Real
Gas RVs operate at a higher RPM rate than diesel RVs. On the highway, you can speed up with ease and not have to worry about a thing. The real challenge comes when you’re faced with an uphill climb.
Since gassers have low torque, you’ll be forced to press down harder on the pedal to achieve the necessary power to get over the hill. This expends more fuel than needed. If you’re fully loaded, this will pose even more of a problem.
Here’s the bottom line, when it comes to diesel RV vs gas RV, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. There’s hardly any difference when it comes to the living space. Both have their unique strengths and weaknesses. What matters most is what you plan to do with your RV.
Now For The Most Important Part: Mileage
One of the reasons why there’s a debate over diesel RV vs gas RV is mileage. This is a concern for RVers since there is a continuous skyrocketing of fuel prices in the country today.
Traveling with an RV is a good way to cut down on your expenses. There’s no more need to make hotel accommodations or buy expensive plane tickets. Instead, all you have to do is make sure you have enough supplies and fuel and just go.
The most expensive thing you’ll be spending on is gas or diesel to keep your motorcoach running. And you’ll still be saving more as opposed to staying in a hotel or flying within the same amount of vacation time!
So, to maximize your savings, let’s delve into the mileage diesel RV vs gas RV fuel-saving tips.
Plan Your Trip Ahead
What’s the one thing that rapidly depletes one’s fuel reserves? Unnecessary detours.
Now I know you’re going on a vacation, and seeing the sights is fun but is it worth seeing an out of the way shop for the amount of fuel you’ll use up while in transit?
Where are the fueling stations along the way? Will you have enough fuel in between stops? Can you skip one or two before needing to refuel?
How much fuel are you expected to expend throughout the entire trip? You can determine this number by finding out the total distance from point A to point B and your miles per gallon ratio.
Mind Your Gross Vehicular Weight (GVW)
Information about your GVW can be found inside your user manual. This is the recommended limit to how heavy your vehicle can be with you and your cargo in it. Any accessories added to your RV also need to be taken into account. Last but not least, the weight of the fuel in your tank.
Knowing your GVW will help you calculate how many miles per gallon you can cover with your vehicle regardless of which variant you chose between a diesel RV vs gas RV.
So what’s mileage can you expect between a diesel RV vs gas RV? As a general rule of thumb, diesel engines are more fuel-efficient than gas engines. On a regular motorcoach, you can expect a diesel RV to achieve 8 to 14 miles per gallon, while a gas motorcoach will give you six to ten miles per gallon.
This is based on a Type B RV motorcoach.
The Relationship Between Size And Fuel Efficiency
This is very basic information for everyone who owns a vehicle: the bigger the vehicle, the more fuel it will consume. So, if you have a 40-foot Class A RV, it will definitely consume more fuel than a Class B or C RV. This concept also applies to towables.
Learn more about RVs and Towables here: Living In An RV: What To Expect In The New Normal
Another fuel-saving technique that you should consider is limiting the amount of cargo you have with you, whether it’s inside your motorcoach, towed behind on a trailer, or stored on your rack. Every little thing adds up to your total weight, so bring only what you need.
Should I Get A Towable Or Trailer RV Instead?
Is there a third option? Can I get something else instead of choosing between a diesel RV vs gas RV?
Well, if you still can’t decide which one to get, your best option is an RV trailer.
RV trailers come in all shapes and sizes. If you need a big one, some variants reach lengths comparable to the largest Class A RVs. If you’re looking for a smaller one, there are RV trailers around 18 feet in length.
Trailer RVs have all the features you can find inside a motorcoach sans an engine up front. This means the only difference is that trailer RVs aren’t self-powered like motorcoaches. You’ll need a tow vehicle to lug it around.
For some people, this may seem like a disadvantage, but for full-time RVers, a trailer RV is a practical solution. Parking a motorcoach for extended periods of time is a waste of having a powerful engine under the hood. You’ll have to pack up whenever you need to go to the local grocery shop for supplies.
With a trailer RV, you have a separate vehicle to tool around in. There’s no need to pack everything up for a short supply run. The only real hassle is jacking your trailer and lining it up to attach the hitch when it’s time to go. That’s only going to happen once or twice during the entire trip.
Here’s a list of the Best Trailer Hitch Per Class For 2020
So, if you’re not dead set yet on getting a diesel RV vs gas RV, consider getting a trailer RV instead.
Will You Be Able To Maintain Your RV In Tip-Top Condition?
Whatever you choose after reading this diesel RV vs gas RV article is entirely up to you. The most important thing is, will you be able to maintain it? Now it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to do all the repairs yourself, although that’s one way to save a lot of money.
Here are the most common things you’ll need to take care of that you can learn to do independently.
Taking Care Of Your Paint
Your RV’s paint is your first line of defense for the metal underneath it. Your RV’s paint is also exposed to all types of damage because of this. Dust and grime can accumulate on the surface and, if left unattended, can lead to a chemical reaction causing rust.
You should immediately attend to your RV’s exterior if you spot any peeling or rust.
Keep your RV in good condition by taking care of its paint. Get a professional cleaning set to wash everything off without adding on to the damage. Here are some tips and tricks to do that: The Nautical Reason Most RVs Are White
Learn Some Basic Plumbing Skills
Unlike most vehicles on the road, RVs have internal plumbing, much like a house. If you’re handy, you can take care of most of these things on your own. Here are some tips for doing that: RV Water Pump Won’t Stop Running? Here’s What To Do and Do RV Toilets Have P Traps?
Want To Stay On The Road? Keep Your Tires In Good Condition
Your RV is your house on wheels. You’ve already taken care of the exterior and the plumbing. Now it’s time to do something about the tires. If you want to stay on the road, you’ll have to ensure that you have tires capable of accomplishing the task.
Clean your tires every chance you get to remove any accumulation of dust, grime, salt, and other chemical substances it might come in contact with. After cleaning it, apply a coat of tire protectant to help fortify its exterior.
Check your tires every 1000 miles for any visible signs of wear and tear. Refer to the owner’s manual to check how much weight each tire can efficiently handle and how much pressure is needed to inflate it. Rotate your tires regularly to get even wear and extend their usable life.
Last but not least, check for its expiration date as well and replace them immediately to prevent anything from happening while you’re out driving. Here are some more tips on how you can care for your tires: Caring For SUV Tires: What To Do, Why And When
Last But Not Least: Safety Should Always Be A Top Concern
As a vehicle and a home, you should always put safety as a top concern. This means ensuring everything from the inside and out are safe.
You may need a professional to check your electrical system and engine to ensure it is in tip-top condition. For complicated plumbing maintenance, there are certified RV plumbers always on hand. If there’s any damage to the exterior or paint, a body shop can take care of it for you.
So what can you do?
The least you can do is make sure everything’s been turned off or shut off before leaving your RV. One of the most important things to turn off is your furnace when it’s not in use.Table could not be displayed.
Other maintenance things you need to do is to make sure you winterize your RV when the cold season comes rolling in and bringing your RV to the service center for regular preventive maintenance checkups.
Remember: Keep your RV in good condition, and you’ll have many years to enjoy it!
The diesel RV vs gas RV debate continues to this day. Reading this article should help you decide which one to get. The bottom line is: they’re not that different. The diesel RV vs gas RV is built on opinions and beliefs and nothing more.
So go ahead and choose the right RV depending on your needs. If you’re just RVing on flat, paved roads, you’re better off with a gas RV. If you’re planning some light off-road activity, then the torque delivered by a diesel engine is what you’ll need.
That’s it! Happy trails!
Does It Matter If I Use Gas Or Diesel If I Have A Towable RV?
It only matters depending on how the terrain you traverse. If you’re only planning to drive your RV on flat roads, you’re better off with a gas tow vehicle. If you’re expecting changes in the terrain or the orientation of your vehicle, use a diesel tow vehicle. The low torque will help you get out of sticky situations effectively.
Is Diesel Fuel Flammable?
Diesel fuel is classified as a combustible or highly flammable substance in vapor form. In its liquid form, diesel is safe to handle. Compared to gasoline, diesel fuel is less flammable. Tossing a match onto a puddle of diesel fuel (in open air) will put the flame out. Do not try this at home as this is very dangerous.
How Long Can You Store Diesel Fuel?
You can keep diesel fuel in a tank for years, and it will not spoil. During this storage period, minimize the instances of opening or closing the fuel tank to avoid any contaminants from entering the tank. The best scenario is to keep fuel tanks filled with diesel in cool, dark places away from sunlight and other potential hazards.