RV Gas or Diesel: What is the Difference?
If you tend to use objective reasoning rather than feelings to make important buying decisions, you might be curious to learn about the pros and cons of gas vs diesel motorhome RVs. That’s what we’ll talk about here.
|Average Purchase Cost
|Average Fuel Efficiency
|Average Fuel Capacity
Diesel RVs Cost More Because You Get More
As stated above, a Class A diesel pusher motorhome will most likely cost more than its gas counterpart.
What is a diesel pusher? These heavy-duty motorhomes have their engines in the back, making for a much quieter ride. Virtually all class A diesel motorhomes are diesel pushers.
These beasts are typically built on a heavier chassis and have higher-end appointments and features to go along with their more expensive price tag and diesel engines have a reputation for running for 500,000 miles, something many tout as their main selling point. Another one of the biggest benefits of diesel RVs? The fuel efficiency of diesel engines.
Note: Diesel class C motorhomes are not diesel pushers, but do tend to be beefier and more expensive than their gas counterparts.
Fuel Efficiency is an Advantage of Diesel
Diesel engines get much better mileage than gas engines. On top of that, a diesel RV will have a greater range between fuel stops. Over time, this fuel efficiency will add up to a significant savings, particularly for RVers who plan to be on the road frequently.
Fuel Prices do Fluctuate
At this point, some of you might be thinking about the fact that diesel fuel is often more expensive than traditional gasoline. The thing is, this isn’t always the case. Fuel prices fluctuate based on time of year, where you are, and a variety of other factors (check current comparisons here). Sometimes diesel costs less than gas, and even when this is not the case, the fuel efficiency of diesel engines does usually balance things out.
That said, we do not think one should purchase a diesel RV based on fuel efficiency alone.
Better Fuel Efficient RV Options are Out There
If fuel efficiency is your main concern when looking at RVs, there will be even better options than the diesel motorhome in the very near future. Winnebago’s eRV2 and the Thor Vision Vehicle are both electric campervans that are likely to be released soon.
Want something now? Lightship RV is an incredible aerodynamic travel trailer that uses electricity to propel itself, meaning those towing with a gas vehicle will not lose any MPG and those towing with an electric vehicle won’t see any range loss.
Gas RV May Be a Better Choice in Some Instances
Diesel motorhomes are ideal for those who want a super tough option, and the aforementioned electric options are excellent for those who will cover a lot of miles and have extra money to spend. That said, spending significantly more on a diesel motorhome or a greener RV may be a waste of money for some RVers.
If the RV will only be used intermittently there’s no way the RV will ever get close to the engine’s full potential operational range, nor will a fuel efficient vehicle be driven enough to offset the cost of the electric engine. Furthermore, diesel engines perform best when they are used constantly. If the intended use will be sporadic then a high-end gas RV might be a more logical decision.