Gas Vs Diesel Fuel economy

Hi everybody! I'm new to this forum. We are moving up from a travel trailer to a motor home. With todays fuel prices I think the Gas/Diesel topic has become less clearly defined. I would appreciate any feedback that any member would like to send me. We are looking for a 32' to 36' Class A. My uncertainty revolves around fuel economy, towing capacity, and engine life expectancy. Weighing all three of these factors prior to a purchase is my goal. Tell me your personal experiences and please include adequate details regarding engine make, mod, year,displacement, trans, length of MH, approximate weight, and towed weight, approximate MPG, and repair history. Any verified second hand reports are welcome as well. Since Gas is now cheaper than Diesel by a significant margin has the fuel economy issues become moot? Is the greater cost of a diesel offset by lower maintenance costs over the long haul? Gas units appear to be about half the cost of Diesel units for like quality and features. Do the newer Gas engines deliver enough torque and power for towing an average sized SUV when the coach is fully loaded?

Thanks for your replys,

Gas Vs Diesel Fuel economy

Welcome to the forums Andy. We spent 4 yrs full timing in a 36' Winnebago Chieftain with a Ford V-10 equipped with a Banks performance package. Averaged 7 mpg with the unit weighing 19,000# pulling a 3700# Jeep. This is a well built unit with lower than average maintenance/repair & operating costs. Unit had plenty of pep and pulling capacity and was a joy to drive.
It is pretty hard to justify the addl cost of a diesel which adds approx $25,000 above the gas version. You have to drive a lot of miles annually to pay that nut off. As a full timer, you will not be running much more than 10-15,000 mi/yr as you are not in a hurry to get anywhere and you can stop and enjoy or rest as you see fit.
Keep doing your research and look thru the internet and you can find some great deals on slightly used motorhomes. Take your time and look around and learn. Good luck :laugh:
Gas Vs Diesel Fuel economy

I don't own a diesel MH but here are just a few points to consider.
All things being equal a diesel will last 3+ times as long as a gas engine but parts are 2-3 times the price. I have yet to see deisel cheaper than gas per gal. Power for power, with less cubic inches a diesel will get 2+ times the fuel mileage and better power when pulling a load...Yes a MH is considered pulling a load.
Diesel engines cost more than gas up front but generally will go much longer between engine related problems.
If you travel on flat ground and/or not very miles per year gas will stay chaeper to operatein including the purchase price for years to come. Diesel oil changes are quite a but more.
A friend mentioned something that happened to him a couple years ago while towing a Jeep on a 18' car trailer up Vail pass in Colorado with his new 8.0 litre (488 ci)gas engine. He said he was feeling pretty cool flying up the hill towing the jeep passing people when a new Ford Powerstroke 6.0 litre (366Ci) flew past him pulling two Jeeps on a goosneck trailer. This is not a Ford vs Chevy argument but trere is a reason Semis use diesel not gas.
Gas Vs Diesel Fuel economy

Here is something to think about Andy,

*** Diesel fuel cost more than gasoline but gives better mileage
*** Gasoline is cheaper but gives poorer mileage compared to diesel

So just "Generally Speaking" the good part of one cancels out the bad part of the other.. or in other words the cost of fuel per mile will come out pretty close to the same for either one..

That being the case, I would look at the other factors between diesel and gasoline powered trucks.

The diesel engines of today are a thousand times better than their predecessors.
Todays diesel vehicle can "come off the line" as quick as most v-8 gasoline vehicles can.
The diesel is built stronger than a gas engine.
The diesel engine will last longer than the gas engine when both types are given proper maintenance and upkeep.

The diesel will produce more strength (horsepower, torque) than the gas engine will.. and that gives more pulling power with a lot less strain on the engine.

Please don't get me wrong, I am NOT against gas engines, they have their place in the scheme of things.
But in my opinion,, a truck should have a diesel engine and the gasoline engines are great for the family car..

Somewhere I read that in America only one out of every twenty vehicles is a diesel.
In Europe, only one out of every five vehicle is gasoline..

The Europeans have known for decades that the diesel is the better way to go.. We Americans are slowly catching up to the modern world.. and one day everything will be diesel powered.. using alternative fuels made from corn, soybeans or other oil producing plant life..

I personally don't want any truck that is not diesel powered.

Once again,,, just my opinion, and to each their own



Senior Member
Gas Vs Diesel Fuel economy

The down side of John's diesel is that diesels do not do well when parked too much. Gas engines tolerate intermittant use much better. Diesels also cost far more. In a truck the difference is $5-6K, but in a motorhome the increase is more like $35K. You will never save enough to offset the price difference so be sure that it is worth the extra cost. I would rather have a diesel with air ride for my motorhome but I was able to pay for a gas chassis. And since most time spent in an RV it is stitting still, I chose to buy what I could pay for in cash!

C Nash

Senior Member
Gas Vs Diesel Fuel economy

Floor plan without the engine hump is a plus. really don't think the house would last 300,000 anyway. That being said my next will probably be a deisel for the CCC, floor plan, ride, quitness and never expecting to overcome the price difference.

DL Rupper

Senior Member
Gas Vs Diesel Fuel economy

Next time you see a motorhome conked out on the hill your climbing, check and see if it isn't gas powered. 9 out of 10 times it will be. If you plan on traveling only on the flat, then gas is the way to go. If you want to travel where the senery is beautiful, then you want a diesel. If you can't go the extra 35k for the diesel pusher, consider paying 35k for the diesel pickup and an extra 40/70k for a very nice 5th Wheel and pocket the change for traveling. We have been full timing for 11 years and have never regretted purchasing a 5th Wheel Trailer. They have more room and less wasted space. Have you ever tried to watch TV in the uncomfortable positions provided by the chairs/couchs located in Motorhomes? Also when considering the overall cost of RVs, you need to think about servicing/maintaining 2 motor vechicles for the motorhome/car opposed to 1 vechicle with the truck/5th Wheel. Just something to think about. Diesel is the best way to go if you can.
Gas Vs Diesel Fuel economy

We just decided to buy a diesel and here's why... While diesel's have more power to climb the mountain, it really more important to be able to use their engine brakes for coming down. Secondly, after having a gas engine unit with the "dog house" between us, we didn't want to shout over the engine noise anymore. Gasoline may not be cheaper than diesel. On recent trips through Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas, we saw consisent diesel prices between $2.24 and $2.29 a gallon. However, gasoline went from $1.99 to $2.42. Use to decide where to fuel up. Also, even though the gas units are cheaper to purchase, you get less during resale, so that mitigates part of the cost. The upshot is this, if you will drive a lot and travel mountains, go diesel. If you drive then park for weeks go gas.
Gas Vs Diesel Fuel economy

hi i had a 2002 chevy 1500 with the 5.3 and i have a 25' fifth wheel that weight's about 6,500 and with my old truck it pulled it fine untill you go up a grade and plus i didnt feel safe in it because the fifthwheel was heavier than the truck and my buddy has a big 2500hd duramax pulling a 29' and when i go camping with them they always are in front of me so i try to catch up but the little gas motor couldnt do it so i went out and bought me a 05 2500hd duramax/allison and now i have no trouble it feels like your pulling jet ski's with my 6,500 pound fifthwheel :) hope that helped alittle!