Is It Better to Buy a Used Gasoline or Diesel Vehicle?

Posted Monday, Oct 09, 2023

If you're in the market for a used car and contemplating whether gasoline or diesel is the ideal choice, you're not alone. This is a common question that many people ask before deciding to purchase a used vehicle. Several factors, beyond fuel efficiency, are worth considering to help you make an informed decision.

Let's delve into several key factors you should thoroughly assess when deciding between gasoline and diesel cars.

Understanding How Both Gas and Diesel Engines Work

To gain insight into which engine type might be ideal for your situation, it's beneficial to have a basic understanding of how both engines operate.

In simple terms, an internal combustion engine draws air into the engine and combines it with either gasoline or diesel fuel. The resulting fuel-air mixture is compressed by the engine's cylinders and ignited to drive the crankshaft and pistons, enabling the used car to move.

The distinction between the two engine types lies in the ignition process. Gasoline cars utilize spark plugs to ignite the fuel. In contrast, diesel engines do not rely on spark plugs. This is due to the higher compression ratio of diesel fuels, which allows air to be compressed to such an extent that it spontaneously ignites.

This same process could potentially harm gasoline-powered engines.

As a result, diesel engines tend to be more powerful than their gasoline counterparts due to the ease of igniting the fuel-air mixture.

  • Fuel Efficiency

When it comes to fuel efficiency, diesel takes the lead due to its higher energy content compared to gasoline. This advantage allows diesel engines to be approximately 35% more fuel-efficient than their gasoline counterparts. In certain cases, you may come across a used diesel car with a remarkable fuel efficiency of over 50 mpg.

  • Resale Value

However, these energy savings come at a cost—diesel cars are notably more expensive when compared to gasoline vehicles. The silver lining is that the rate of depreciation is significantly slower for diesel cars. This means that, down the line, you should be able to trade in or sell your diesel vehicle without suffering a substantial loss in terms of its value.

  • Higher Acceleration and Better Towing Capacity

The higher compression ratio in diesel engines equips them to generate greater torque in comparison to gasoline counterparts. This increased torque enables diesel vehicles to boast higher towing capacity and significantly improved acceleration. As a result, you'll experience more power off the line and the ability to effortlessly tow sizable trailers and other equipment.

  • Fuel Costs

Although diesel is much more fuel efficient than gas, it is often more expensive to acquire. Gas is much cheaper regardless of where you’re filling it in the US. You may be able to find gas to be slightly more expensive than diesel, but that’s relatively rare. It doesn’t help that diesel keeps getting more expensive because of higher taxes and environmental restrictions. Depending on where you buy it from, diesel may be 25 to 50 cents more expensive per gallon compared to gasoline cars.

  • Cost of Repair

There is a difference of opinion among experts about which of the two engines is cheaper to maintain. However, most people argue that diesel engines lead to less wear and tear because there are fewer parts to maintain, which also translates into less frequent repairs.

It should also be noted that diesel vehicles comprise a small percentage of cars and trucks, which often means that parts and labor can cost a lot more when you do require repairs.

  • Availability

Whether you're in North America or not, gasoline is available at most gas stations you can find. The same cannot be said about diesel, which isn’t available at all gas stations. If you live in a familiar territory, you will learn where to go for diesel. But if you’re taking longer road trips or going to unfamiliar areas, then having a gas vehicle is more convenient because you can easily pull up to any gas station that you come across.

  • Air Pollution

Although gas engines aren’t as effective as diesel, they are responsible for lower particulate emissions. In fact, studies confirm that 1 liter of diesel will release nearly 13% more GHG emissions than the same amount of gasoline.

However, given that gasoline vehicles represent such a large percentage of all cars and trucks on the road, their overall contribution to air pollution is higher - but that is simply because of their greater number.

  • Noise

Most experts agree that gasoline vehicles are smoother and quieter than diesel engines. Despite all the advances in technology, diesel engines continue to be noisy and will attract attention wherever you go. Because of how both engines work, you will feel less vibration and hear less noise inside a gas car, especially when you start the car from cold.

Diesel engines generate much more noise because of the higher compression ratio of the fuel.

Gas vs Diesel: Which Option is Best for Me?

This answer mostly depends on your driving preferences and how many miles you plan on covering. Drivers who make shorter journeys often prefer gas cars instead of diesel. However, if you make longer journeys, then a diesel engine may be a better solution for you.

It should be noted that many states are gradually phasing out diesel to encourage more lower-emission vehicles as well as electric cars. At the time of writing, however, both gas and diesel cars are great choices for motorists.

There are many high-quality used cars that use gas and diesel engines to choose from. Simply visit Cars of Kentucky Inc. and find one that you like and buy or finance it. And if you don’t know which option is best for you, we recommend contact with our experienced sales professionals here. We’ll match you with a car that aligns with your goals and lifestyle preferences.