Should You Choose A Gasoline Engine For Your Next Commercial Truck?

For many commercial fleet owners, diesel engines have been the default choice when purchasing new and used vehicles. But with recent improvements in gasoline engine technology and rising concerns about total cost of ownership (TCO), many medium-duty truck buyers are opting for gas-powered vehicles. The following explains some of the advantages and disadvantages of opting for a fleet powered by gas engines.

The Price is Right

Cost is a significant factor for buyers choosing between diesel and gas-powered medium-duty trucks. With budget outlays for fuel and running expenses to consider, the following factors can make gasoline engines an attractive alternative to diesel:

  • Lower purchase price - It's no secret that diesel powered vehicles tend to hold their resale value longer than their gasoline counterparts. By choosing gasoline over diesel, used truck buyers can capitalize on steeper depreciation costs, enabling them to save money during the purchase.
  • Lower maintenance costs - When compared to diesel engines, gasoline engines typically have lower maintenance costs for a variety of reasons. For starters, gasoline engines do not require the specialized expertise that is often needed for repairing diesel engines. Most parts for gasoline engines also tend to cost less than those needed for their diesel counterparts.
  • Lower fuel costs - The cost of diesel fuel in the US has historically been higher than that of gasoline. As a result, fleet buyers who choose gas-powered vehicles may see significant cost savings during times of higher diesel fuel prices.

Fewer Worries About Emissions

Fleet buyers who choose gasoline-powered medium-duty trucks over their diesel powered counterparts can also skirt concerns over the latest in emissions equipment and how it affects their vehicles. Recently mandated devices used to help control particulate and NOx emissions, including Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and diesel particulate filters have come under fire from many diesel owners for robbing some diesel engines of their performance and fuel economy. Switching to a gas-powered fleet sidesteps many of these concerns while eliminating a potential maintenance and repair expense.

Potential Caveats and Pitfalls

Although gasoline engines offer plenty of advantages over their diesel counterparts, there are a few areas where gasoline engines can be at a potential disadvantage. For instance, gasoline engines often produce less torque than comparable diesel engines. In addition, usable torque ranges for gasoline engines are often at higher engine speeds than on diesel engines, resulting in less usable pulling power and higher fuel consumption in some cases.

In addition, diesel engines tend to be more robust than their gasoline counterparts thanks to their heavy-duty design and use of heavy-duty components. Although most modern gas engines are capable of lasting beyond 200,000 miles without an overhaul, diesel engines can easily double that number without breaking a sweat. However, most commercial truck fleets won't keep their medium-duty trucks long enough to fully capitalize on diesel longevity.  

Fuel economy is also another advantage that most diesel engines have over their gasoline counterparts. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the average diesel vehicle can go up to 35-percent farther on a gallon of fuel than a comparable gasoline engine. This can make a significant difference for vehicles commonly tasked with pulling or hauling heavy loads.

Other Factors to Consider

When considering gasoline engines over diesel engines in your next medium-duty truck, it's important to consider the value that such vehicles will offer to your current fleet. For example, gasoline engines often require more frequent maintenance and offer shorter lifespans than comparable diesel engines. However, the lower cost of maintaining and using gasoline engines may help offset such expenses.

In addition to your current budget for procurement and maintenance, it's also important to consider projected life cycles, engine availability in certain vehicles and resale value. Keeping these factors in mind can help you make the best decision when it comes to choosing between used gasoline or diesel-powered commercial trucks for sale.