The Difference Between Gas Vs. Diesel

Posted Monday, Mar 20, 2023

gas pump in car

Since diesel has gained popularity over gasoline for an increasing number of automobile owners in the United States, more auto dealers have begun to sell diesel vehicles. This has resulted in an increased debate on gas vs. diesel.

Well-known automakers, including Cadillac, Audi, VW, and Subaru, are now selling diesel-powered vehicles in the US. So, if you are confused between gas vs. diesel cars, keep reading for information on both fuels to see which option is better.

What's the Difference Between Gasoline and Diesel Cars?

One key difference between gas and diesel is that compared to diesel, gasoline can be more refined, making it denser and increasingly volatile. Therefore, gasoline can burn quicker and generate more horsepower.

Additionally, diesel evaporates slower compared to gas while having a heavier density. Greater density also allows diesel to produce approximately 20% extra energy compared to a similar quantity of gasoline.

Hence, diesel engines are generally preferred in large machinery because they generate higher energy at reduced RPMs and offer greater torque. On the other hand, fuel-powered cars require lower torque and much more horsepower to move sharply.

Moreover, gas engines possess an increased volatile point. However, they do have a lesser flash point. In a vehicle with a gas engine, the combustion is controlled through a spark.

The engine compresses the fuel with air, and once the piston reaches its top stroke and the compression is where the manufacturer wants it to be, the engine begins to run due to a spark igniting the air and fuel mixture.

On the other hand, a diesel engine works differently and doesn't use a spark. Instead, diesel-powered engines are labeled as compression combustion engines, with a higher compression ratio than gasoline-powered engines. The fuel and air mixture is compressed to a level in diesel engines that explodes it.

Engine Life Expectancy: Diesel Vs. Gas

Life expectancy is another significant difference between diesel and gas engines since it can vary significantly in both types of engines. Typically, when a gas-powered engine reaches anywhere between 120 to 150 thousand miles, it will exhibit signs of wear and tear and decreased efficiency.

In contrast, diesel engines are known for their increased life expectancy, with some engines lasting over a million miles. How long your diesel engine will last depends on factors like care and maintenance.

Although gas and diesel engines have a similar design, the one major difference that makes diesel engines last much longer is the removable liner on the cylinder of diesel engines. When a diesel engine hits the two to three-hundred-thousand-mile mark, vehicle owners can conveniently replace the liner without worrying about replacing the entire engine.

This can help vehicle owners with diesel cars maintain their engines for much longer and not worry about the costs of replacing an engine.

Diesel engines provide tremendous torque yet lower RPM. When traveling on a highway, a gasoline-powered car's engine will spin double the revolutions each minute compared to a truck with a diesel engine, which means the diesel-powered truck will wear out half as quickly compared to the car, leading to a longer life span.

Lastly, the extraordinarily sturdy construction of diesel engines enables them to survive longer. The cylinder walls, oiling system, and castings on a diesel power engine Castings, cylinder walls, are manufactured with greater thickness. Therefore, diesel engines are genuinely made for long-term use.

Ownership Costs of Gas vs Diesel Cars

Comparing gas vs. diesel, the ownership costs for owning a diesel-powered vehicle are lower. This is because diesel cars are known to be more durable, and fuel-saving and generally require fewer maintenance measures. In short, it can be challenging to break down diesel-powered engines.

The efficiency of diesel engines can be determined by the fact that diesel engines have lasted over 30 years without requiring significant repairs. In comparison, gasoline-powered engines are known to need frequent maintenance, consume increasing fuel, and require special attention after they hit the 150,000-mile mark.

The science behind the engines working is primarily responsible for the improved efficiency figures in diesel-powered engines. A gasoline-powered engine must ensure it doesn't hit the self-ignition temperatures during the compression stage to avoid damaging the engine. Therefore, a gas-powered engine must maintain a lower compression ratio.

Moreover, a diesel-powered car will cost more at purchase than a similar gasoline-powered car. In addition, the repair and maintenance expenses for a diesel-powered engine exceed those of a gasoline-powered engine.

However, you would save far more money with a diesel car in terms of requiring less maintenance, not having to worry about expensive engine repair costs, and the ability of diesel-powered vehicles to conserve fuel. Therefore, these savings compensate for the factors like high maintenance costs or slightly increased vehicle prices at the time of purchase.

Gas Vs. Diesel: Which Engine is Best for Me?

Both gas and diesel-powered engines have their own set of pros and cons. Ultimately, the best choice depends on your needs, requirements, and other factors. A gas-powered engine will be suitable if you are willing to compromise with low efficiency and drive less than 12000 miles yearly.

However, diesel-powered vehicles are your best choice if you drive more than 15000 miles yearly and want a highly efficient vehicle with low-maintenance requirements.

Since diesel engines don’t have spark plugs and the electrical components needed to power them, they contain fewer components that can fail. Hence, this allows diesel-powered vehicles to offer more mileage and operating time before requiring costly maintenance and servicing.

Final Verdict for Gas and Diesel Cars

Now that you know everything there is to know about gas vs. diesel, which one do you choose? If you still need clarification about which car to go with or have a vehicle in mind that you want to purchase, feel free to check out our lists of Used Cars. We are your leading auto dealer for used cars in Richmond, KY and can help you buy a vehicle that fits your needs.

Get in touch with us now!