• Diesel or Gas HD: Which Truck Is Best For You? (Video)

    Diesel or Gas HD pickups

    Initial Cost

    A new turbo-diesel heavy duty pickup truck will cost between $8,800 to $11,000+ more than a comparable gasoline V8-powered HD pickup truck.


    The diesel trucks weigh 700-900 lbs more than their gas counterparts. This weight difference is counteracted by the monstrous torque the diesels produce. These truck are very quick, but they have lower payload rating because of the heavier diesel engines and transmission.

    Maintenance Cost

    Diesel trucks are more expensive to maintain over time. The fuel filter needs to be checked more often. The oil changes are more expensive. After-warranty injection system, turbocharger, DPF and DEF exhaust system repairs can get outrageously expensive.


    Diesel trucks are more fuel efficient than gas V8 trucks, especially while towing. We have proven this many time on the Ike Gauntlet and the highway towing MPG loops.

    If you plan to tow heavy weights on a regular basis, a diesel HD truck would be the right choice if you can afford it. If you tow occasionally, a gas V8 HD truck will save you a lot of money.

    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov
    Andre Smirnov is an Automotive Enthusiast, Producer, Reviewer, Videographer, Writer, Software Engineer, Husband, Father, and Friend.

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    28 thoughts on “Diesel or Gas HD: Which Truck Is Best For You? (Video)

    1. Diesel for me for towing my fifth wheel, but I’ll give each of the new gas HD/SD’s are very capable, and a good alternative.

    2. I looked at buying an HD truck and considered the diesel just because the truck is already so heavy, you need or want that low end torque even running empty. Now if they boosted a gas V8 motor you would have that low end torque like what is in the F150 3.5EB and HO version of the V6. Do this to a V8 in the HD class and you would have a winner. The gas may burn more fuel but in the end the capitol costs will be close and even if it is more you have more motor because of the superior HP gas has over diesel and when you boost the gas motor you can closely match or even beat the torque

      1. Gen 2 direct and port injected 5.0 ecoboost will accomplish those objectives. Comparable towing performance to the scorpion (not Comparable fuel economy) at a significantly cheaper price and maintenance

        1. And as proven with the V6 3.5 non boosted F150 it gets the same mpg as the boosted 3.5EB so these HD gas trucks would likely get the same or better mpg empty and hold rpms a lot lower which may save fuel if they boost the motors instead of revving them to their limits.

      2. The HD gas engines are ancient and need to be updated to direct injection and cylinder deactivation so they have power more like diesels in the low end of the res. Until they do this, DIESEL ALL THE WAY.

          1. Ford’s gas engine is not direct injected and needs to be modernized. It is very inefficient ad does not have the power it could at the low end. Poor engine for work.

            1. I personally wouldn’t want a direct injection engine, port injection has worked perfectly for decades. I’ve seen too many DI only engines with clogged intake ports and problems with the high pressure fuel system. A few makers now have a hybrid system with port and DI but I don’t see it as a night and day improvement just more effort to hit CAFE standards

            2. Kyle, I have a 6.2 F250. It’s an honest engine that does what it is supposed to. It could be better, but it is by no means a bad choice.

            3. The direct injected engines that also have port injection are not just for mileage. They clean the engine too. Plus, automakers are now putting recirculating bypasses that also keep the top of the engine clean.
              IT is a bit of a misconception that direct injected engines gunk up the engine. It is not the direct injection. It is the tight tolerances of the newer engines (coincidentally) that cause oil to get up behind the valves.
              I wouldn’t want misconception spread on this site.

    3. So three weeks ago tomorrow, I had one of the best days of my life. On that day, Nissan bought back my Titan XD under the lemon law for multiple issues, to include severe shifting issues, heated/cooled seats didn’t work, and a dead pedal. That afternoon, I took deliver of my new 2017 Denali HD with Duramax Diesel. Prior to the Titan XD, which I highly recommend no one buy, as one of my close friends has the same truck I had and he is in the process of a lemon law buyback as well, I was always a Ford guy. I had a 2012 SD King Ranch with the diesel and I loved it, until I ended up on the receiving end of the death wobble. I traded that truck in for a new 2015 F150 King Ranch, but it wouldn’t handle my enclosed trailer very well. The trailer actually blew the F150 all over the place on the road at highway speed. So, I bought in to the heavier XD with the Cummins. Big mistake for me. Now, I am the proud owner of another 3/4 ton diesel. Where am I going with this? Well, here it is. Duramax plus package on my Denali was $9500. Now, when you consider the increased cost of maintenance over the life of the truck, and slightly increased price of fuel (less than 10 cents per gallon here in VA), it may seem like quite a substantial difference. But, look at it this way. Diesels hold their value, way better than a gas. Second, their life is infinitely longer than a gas. Third, a diesel is snappier and more pleasant to drive. Last, if you tow, even a little bit, a diesel will give you far better fuel mileage. That being said, consider 10K over a 60 mos or 72 mos term. It is about 150$ difference in payment. For $150, I will take the diesel. I know this is just my opinion, and not everyone is in my situation or looks at things the way I do. But, IMO, a gas engine is a complete waste of money. In the long run, if you plan on keeping your truck, diesel is a better way to go. As for my Denali HD, I just finally hit the 1K mileage mark, and plan on towing very soon. I drive to and from northern Virginia every day to work, so I constantly deal with traffic. The Allisson trans and new Duramax make my commute very enjoyable. They work in harmony, not like that POS Titan XD which beat the piss out of you and seemed to want to fight you every chance it could. I am very happy with the new Duramax, and would highly recommend it to anyone considering a new diesel pickup. Good luck in your truck decisions, but just remember one thing. Real trucks don’t have spark plugs!!!

      1. True, cant beat the Duramax for performing the task best by far. Just put an moving sprinkler under each corner of the truck for 15 minutes every once in a while to wash the salt away.
        The Cummins 1 ton will last the longest if you wash the underside like that, but it just doesn’t perform the task as competently as the Duramax.
        The Ford, well, the Ford’s body will last. Not really because it is aluminnum. The Fords body always lasted longer to Ford throwing more metal at their trucks–making them heavy as a pig, but they held up against rust better. But Ford’s mechanicals and quality of engineering is the worst of all the auto companies. They just don’t have the brain power at Ford.

      2. I did the math and decided to go with the gas burner in my F250 when considering the potential diesel injection pump repair costs. It appears that a gas crate engine is cheaper than a Bosch injection pump which is common for the Cummins, Duramax, and powerstroke. They are extremely vulnerable to water and fuel contamination. I’m not knocking your choice, but it was a deal breaker for me. I live in the flatlands and at sea level so the 6.2 does fine for me.

      3. @ J-Bone:

        Care to tell us about the titan xd and what went wrong? I for one am interested. I also agree on the diesels too.

        1. @Lohchief
          I would love to tell you what all was wrong with my Titan XD. Please see below.
          First, my local Nissan dealer refused to work on or service the truck because I didn’t buy it from them. They outright told me that I needed to go back to the dealership where I bought the truck. See below list of issues. I had to take the truck back to Nissan that was 4 hours from my house on 9 separate occasions. The issue they ended up buying it back for was transmission shifting and accelerator dead pedal. Below are the issues that I complained about since the day I took delivery. Every single issue, they were unable to address or fix. If anyone wants to discuss in greater detail, email me at jaybone69698@gmail.com

          Accelerator pedal goes “dead”: This has happened to me almost every day that I have driven it. Whenever you go to take a turn at moderate to low speed like through an intersection or changing lanes in traffic and the need to accelerate immediately after your foot comes off the brake, the truck will wait a hard 2-3 seconds before even making an attempt to shift or accelerate, the truck is literally dead for those few seconds. This has almost caused a rear-ending while on the highway, and 3 near misses (T-bone) while trying to turn through an intersection. My wife drove the truck to work last week as I needed to go into DC for the day, and she told me when I got home that the truck literally died in the intersection and she almost got hit. She then informed me in wife speak (shes 8 mos pregnant) that she will not ride in or drive that truck again until the issue is fixed. There is a Nissan Service Bulletin (NSB) for this and it has been attempted to be remedied twice so far.

          Transmission shifting extremely hard: On two separate occasions, I have been accelerating under normal conditions, then had a need to stop moderately hard in traffic. Both times, the transmission has downshifted so hard that it triggered the TCS and ABS, preventing me from stopping as the system was engaged. All i felt was the pedal vibrating but was unable to stop the vehicle. On one of those two occasions, I had to make an emergency maneuver to the left and into the grass median to avoid hitting the car in front of me. They have no idea what is causing this.

          Transmission surging engine RPMs: When cold, the engine RPMs will surge 300-500 rpms higher between gears, similar to if you held your foot on the gas and pushed in the clutch at the same time. This fades over time, but causes the transmission to slam into each gear, causing the sudden power to break the rear tires free on slippery roads then engaging the TCS. This has an NSB as well, they have tried to address twice so far, still continues.

          Heated/Cooled seats dont work: The seats in the titan are the new zero gravity seats, which are, according to the window sticker, heated and cooled. There is a heating system in each seat, separate from the trucks heater, that heats air as it passes through. The cooling simply pulls air from a vent under the seat. The mechanic has looked at these seats twice, and states that the fans are engaging and the seats are operating as designed. They actually dont work at all, as you cannot feel any air come through the perforated seats. I have a close friend with an identical truck and you cannot stand the high heat setting for more than a few minutes without having to turn it down. Nissan touts this about their seats on their website, and links this article to the article touting the zero gravity titan seats. http://www.nissan-global.com/EN/TECHNOLOGY/OVERVIEW/qch.html

          Diesel exhaust smell in cab: Both during regen and throughout the cycle, when traveling at lower speeds, you can smell exhaust in the cab. There is apparently an NSB for this but the dealership has yet to address it.

      4. That “infinitely” longer is just not the case anymore between gas and DSL. I had v-10 I got over 350,000 miles on it never had any major problems. Over half them miles had a trailer on its back. I know guys that had DSL and they had alot of problems. I don’t know how long you will keep your DSL, but these gas engines will go as far as a DSL anymore than you will with yours.

        Keep in mind guys DSL fuel prices do go up in the fall, especially in the Northeast. It might be cheap now in VA but will it be the same in Nov or Dec? My guess higher.

        Enjoy your Jimmy.

    4. Andre and Nathan – – –

      I already made that choice:
      * 2017 Ram 2500 Heavy Duty Crew Cab, with Cummins 6.7-liter Diesel engine: 400 HP / 650 lb.-ft of torque.
      * Has a Daimler (Mercedes Benz) G56 6-speed manual transmission! (but what else??)
      * Weighs over 7500 lbs.
      * Has a 6 and 1/2 ft sprayed-liner box, with 3-section folding tonneau cover.
      * Seats 6 people nominally: 4 VERY comfortably; 5 with the middle-rear person included; 6 with the middle-front person to be small-ish.
      * Has the “Big Horn” accessories and options package; and full-length side steps.
      * Exterior Color is Granite Crystal Metallic.
      * Interior color is Canyon Brown CLOTH, with “Light Frost” (tan/beige) appointments.
      * Has a receiver for Class-4 towing (2.5-inch), which is ~17,000 lbs.
      * Can Haul ~ 2950 lbs by nominal spec, but is sprung for much more.
      * Has Coil Springs all around, and rides like RR tracks/potholes don’t exist.
      * Went up the a local park’s main hill in 3rd gear at 1100 RPM, without its even noticing it!
      * Started from a red-light-turned-green in 4th gear, without my even noticing it!
      * Is estimated to get 20-22 MPG, unloaded, at moderate speeds (I’m told).
      * Uses DEF urea-exhaust fluid; particulate filters; EGR; vapor recovery; and dual catalytic converters to produce fewer pollutants than a 2016 Mercedes Benz “Bluetec” E-Class!

      Yes, I could have gotten a Hemi gas engine. But then I would have had to endure one of these miserable inventions created by a GM engineer who had a bad dream one night in the 1930’s, — called an “automatic” transmission. Can you imagine (^_^)?


        1. Scott – – –

          Good question. Was away today. Called in to another dealer open in the evenings, who said it “should” be around 395 HP and 660 lb.-ft (not 400 and 650). “Should”? Are there different states of detune that FCA may have used for the G56 manual during its production cycle?

          BTW: I already have some website info that early Daimler G56 manuals were not all that robust under severe stress and the “chipping” used to increase torque, — and can suffer from cracked casing and gears. So, I’ll have to be a bit careful with it, even if I have a later version.

          BTW: if FCA went down a “discovery pathway” on failure modes of the G56 over several years, then that may explain why sever different HP and Torque numbers are floating around. I don’t know.

          The older more expensive N5600 was tough and strong, but shifting it was awkward; the Daimler G56 shifts smoothly right for the git-go, and requires no break in, but is apparently not as capable.

          ref: http://www.pirate4x4.com/forum/tow-rigs-trailers/905881-can-handle-more-torque-nv5600-g56.html


          1. Bernie, I know I’m a few days behind but if you build your truck online once the transmission is selected, the HP rating is updated. 350HP for the manual transmission version.

    5. Being one that only tows a heavy 5th wheel 6-8 times a summer within 20 mile radius of home, the gas 6.2 super duty is perfect for me. When it comes to power needed in hilly/mountainous regions than obviously any of the big 3 brands of diesel trucks would be a no-brainer.
      Awesome, informative videos guys, keep them coming, because there are lots of people out there that just don’t realize these important facts.

    6. If it’s rated to carry your weight requirements. And has a manual transmission.
      That is the best truck for for you.

      For a run about. Trucks should be your last choice.

      You can hire out a truck 4 or 5 times a year for a lot less than 8 to 10 thousand a year.
      But trucks are not just meant for heavy loads. But also for bulky or messy loads.
      My 37 year old Ford provides a value many times the 140 dollar cost of registration and a few hundred dollar insurance fee. I gladly pay those costs.

      The cheapest I found even a gas 3/4 ton was over 450/month for 72 months with 10% down.

      There are a lot of great touring cars at that price.

      Except as a daily work vehicle you really can’t justify any new truck.

      A jeep style vehicle is a much better, for fun, 4×4 vehicle.

      It’s almost impossible to justify a new car unless its main purpose is to impress someone.

      New cars cost the price of a, around the world trip for 2. With enough money left over to send the mother in law around the world in the opposite direction. 💲🍝💰💵. 🙂

    7. I was referring to the cost of a 4×4, 3/4 ton truck with the options I would want on a work truck.

    8. LJM
      I live in California. Lots of 7% interstates here. But few over 10 miles long. Your not going to save much fuel or time on 10 miles of road. Especially in a state with a 55 mph speed limit while towing.

      Most of the final miles of the roads I camp along could be driven in granny low without losing much time.

      And with all the hairpin turns. Nothing gets over 4 mpg. Your always in a low gear no matter how much hp or torque you have.

    9. As you all know I would get a gas engine and not even thinking about that high dollar DSL. I don’t use that much to tow , but for what I tow I don’t need to DSL to do the job at hand.

      Waiting on 6.2 gas engine to show up at tfl world hq.

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