On The Long Long Honeymoon (LongLongHoneymoon.com) we’re launching a new series of video questions that you can discuss around the campfire. On the menu today: gas or diesel? Those of us who have towable RVs must confront this issue head on.

Quite frankly, when we bought our Airstream I had little knowledge of diesel engines. I just knew that we needed to buy a big honkin’ truck. So I started shopping, and quickly learned that this decision is one of the fundamental choices one must make when purchasing a tow vehicle.

Diesel engines operate a little differently than gasoline engines. Without delving too far into Engine Construction 101, let’s consult our old friend Wikipedia: “The defining feature of the diesel engine is the use of the heat of compression to initiate ignition to burn the fuel, which is injected into the combustion chamber during the final stage of compression. This is in contrast to a petrol (gasoline) engine or gas engine, which uses the Otto cycle, in which a fuel/air mixture is ignited by a spark plug.”

Ummmm, okay. While that’s good to know, it’s also not necessary to know.

I guess the main question is “Why buy a diesel?” After all, diesel engines are noisy, the fuel is sometimes a hassle to locate (usually when you are running on “E”), and they generate copious amounts of smelly exhaust.

For me, there were a couple of compelling reasons.

First, in addition to all that smelly exhaust, diesel engines also generate copious amounts of torque. Our beloved truck SEEMORE is a turbocharged diesel that kicks out 570 foot-pounds of torque on a bad day. You can yank redwood stumps with this thing (although I’m not sure why you’d want to do so). The factory claims that our truck can tow 20,000 pounds; for comparison, our fully loaded Airstream Classic (with water, clothes, and gear) is about 8000 pounds. So we’ve got more than enough towing power. In fact, I believe the excess power enhances our safety on the road.

Second, although they cost more up front, diesel engines get better fuel economy. We get about 12 MPG when towing our Airstream. In the days before low sulfur diesel, the fuel itself was cheaper than gasoline. (As soon as I bought our truck, diesel fuel began costing a little more than gasoline.) So there have been historical financial advantages to diesel. While you might pay more for the engine on day one, after a few years you would actually be saving money.

Finally, if you are into green technology, biodiesel is becoming all the rage. With some modifications, a petrodiesel engine can be converted to biodiesel. This allows your truck to be fueled by recycled vegetable oil. If you go this route, not only is the fuel cheap, but it smells like cooking french fries. Pretty cool, huh? While SEEMORE presently feasts on petrodiesel, maybe someday we’ll convert him to the veggie stuff.

So that’s why we chose diesel. But I suspect that we diesel drivers are in the minority. After all, the newer gasoline engines boast a robust towing capacity, and are less expensive. Plus, they don’t sound like a 1962 Bluebird school bus.

So what about you? If you chose gas (or diesel), tell me WHY.

Leave a Reply


  1. E-Zigi

    Hört sich vielversprechend an. Woher hast du diese Infos?

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  16. Megan

    I am in the looking-to-purchase boat right now. My fiance and I are looking into buying a 28-30 foot gooseneck horse trailer with living quarters. (not sure if we can afford the living quarters but it will definitely be a gooseneck besides.) We will need a bigger truck to pull it so we’ve been in the gas vs. diesel conversations. This WILL BE an every day vehicle for one of us. The majority of the towing we’ll be doing will be within the same town and only maybe 5 or 6 times a show season. Do we really need a diesel engine for in-town towing 5 or 6 times a year?

  17. Brian, I can only speak with regard to my own experience. Our diesel Ford F250 has logged almost 40,000 miles in 2 years — most of it towing — and without skipping a beat. This truck is my first Ford vehicle.

    I have also heard good things about the GMC Duramax/Allison combo, but have never owned one.

  18. Brian

    Hey guys, very insightful sight. My wife and I did things different. We actually bought our 5th wheel first before buying a truck (up here its a lot harder finding a reasonable priced trailer compared to a truck).
    I’ve been going back and forth with my decisions on whether to go diesel or gas. I have friends who have all 3 major truck brands(diesels) and Ford gas. Now depending on how you were raised, you’re pretty much that guy for life.
    I personally like the look of the Dodge the best, but have heard their tranny isn’t the best. The Chev supposedly has the best marriage, duramax and allison, and pretty much everyone told me to stay away from the ford power-joke (now that I alienated a third of the group with that last comment). The new ford 150 gas however, i recently test drove the other night and was quite impressed with the power and towing capabilities.
    I wouldn’t be using my truck for anything else but towing really, so I’m just unsure if its worth spending that extra $8 – 10k for a diesel over gas.

    Yoou’re guys comments would greatly be appreciated.

  19. Buy you a $ seat Volkswagon Dune-Buggy & Be done with it! they are so light one person can pick-up the Front-end & turn it around & you still Have you a Grocery Getter or a Senery Looking Machine plus good gas milage! Rick Vogel U.S.Army Retired!

  20. I can purchase 4 more years of “bumper to bumper” Ford factory warranty coverage (up to 100k miles) for our diesel for $2k.

    I have to make the decision whether to purchase TOMORROW, because we are pushing up against the 36,000 miles mark on our truck. But I think I’m gonna do it.

    Hmmm, extended warranties… Guess what next week’s Campfire Question will be? Stay tuned… 🙂

  21. GMAs

    oNE MUST remember that the diesel is nothing without its turbo… add the same to the gas engine for the hills and watch who is suddenly in the rear view mirror… I thought it was interesting to read about the ones with the diesels claiming .. go .. go… but when we were younger.. the diesels were around… problem was we got better performance out of the gas engine with a supercharger than with turbo…

    So if you want to compair apples to apples.. you have to take the turbo off the diesel to be comp with the gas engine.. or add a turbo to the gas and then be oranges to oranges with the same…

    That being said.. most of the diesels only exibit the ability to have a higher torque… most of the time much higher than what one needs…

    While Sean and the rest are grinning about the fact that they can pull the wheels out from under the airstream trailer… one really doesn’t need that much to ENJOY the movement down the road… after all what goes up… comes down… and to that end… one with a smaller engine suddenly can have the advantage over the big old HEAVY diesels… that require more braking… or the addition of another feature.. (features cost money remember) of a Jake brake. which uses the compression of the diesel to slow the HEAVY weight of it down…

    So how much torque do you need… depends… on how heavy and how fast you want to pull… most of the 6.0 gas engines will do a excellent job… we have a friend who has a small ford engine in his truck… 4.6L… and he pulls his 5th wheel all over the place… when un-attached makes 20 mph on the road.. and doesn’t use smelly diesel either… but he does have a 4.10 rear axel to pull with… gives him 13,000 lbs pull but he is limited to 9600 lbs due to the brakes… thus the extra is just a waist…

    I pull with a 460 v8… that is quite comp to the diesel… a little short on the torque compairison.. but not my much.. and the HP is about the same… when it comes to hills… I slow down… but then again… I do pass the semi’s and a lot of diesels belching black smoke as they labor up the hill… gas mileage is about par with ’em…… towing I get 9-13 on the average… but, before you go running out and look for one… they quit making the 460 engine some time back… replaced with the 6.0 gas. V10… which has 10 pistions… running up and down… very smooth.. and lots of power.. but… again short by just that much… ours now turns out 492 ft lbs torque…with 375 hp @ 4000 rpm…dyno tested… which is more than enough to get up any hill… that is why most of the oldies that were pulling big airstreams… 31 ft’er… which were then common… used either the 460, 440 or 454 engines…

    It was only within the last 15 years that the car companies started putting diesels in the trucks… but were they around during the 70-80’s .. yep… perkins was a good canadate… for the dodge and fords.. but they were heavy and had little power to pull with.. most had to be stick shift… and gave good vibro masages… not until the avent of the turbocharging did they even come up to the line necessary to pull a large trailer… next came the com-mins 6 being added to the dodge… ford had one in the shop… but went with the V8… GM tried to convert a gas engine to diesel… and had it in a few vans and trucks… poooo.. never worked that good… till they got into the duramax… ford still is having problems with getting more hp out of them… and went to dual turbochargers..( 2 of them in series… more gadgets to replace eventually)

    Yet we still toodle along with old technology that could be upgraded to a higher torque and hp.. but the question then becomes.. why…

    What we had does the job.. is cheap (our truck cost used only 3K)… yes we put a few things into it to make it just a little better… (about 2500 bux) and shazamm were happy… after having been throught the diesel hype… that really is a eye opener when you hooked… and have to keep going to the bank to make the beast run…

    That being said.. again each to their own liking… and flavor of smell or fuel…one must remember though… only 50% of the time are you going uphill…the other 50% its a downhill run and no matter what you have… its good to go… what difference in time… well if you want to keep up with the diesels.. add a torque multiplyer to the rear wheels… (go with a gear reduction… from 3.50:1 to 4:10:1 rear axel… and you can pull the trailer with a 6 cyc gas engine almost as fast up the hill as the big boys are going… you just won’t be getting the gas mileage on the flat land though…)

    See torque comes in two flavors.. that produced at the engine.. and evetually at the rear wheel… and that produces by multplying the amount produces at the engine… through gear reduction at the rear wheel… . So if the diesel guys have a 500 ft lb wheel rating… and you little whizz has only 300 one trick is to use a gear in the rear end… so lets say they both had a 3.0:1… to get the same as the diesel guy… one would need 1.66:1 greater gearing… so going to the 4.66:1.. guess what.. your whizz has the same 500 ft lbs at the rear wheel… only thing different is your whizz is turning up 4-6000 rpm… and they are only at 2200 rpm…

    Nothing is free… and don’t think they are getting something for nothing either… as they have to have a heavier (LBS) engine to support that torque they develop… which cost them going up hills… while your little light whizz only added a couple of lbs to the total.. and doesn’t have to push the heavy weight up the hill… thus the real reason you see the downsizing of the big blocks.. ahd high hp engine…

    The last issue is how often do you need all the torque… We have seen diesel PU rv’s blow tires off rims because they can’t stand the high torque… but they do pull up the hill with the turbo’s a blareing and while they sit inside with the AC on and the radio playing ‘ happy days’.. you can bet they will not be grinning when it comes to the final maintenance and repair bill… as them diesel part are .. yikes expensive.. we know…

    So to put the ribbon on our side… diesels are good on road contenious power producers… expensive for our liking.. but others think it not bad to spend 50-70,000 bux to get down the road in style… (the length of mileage.. is debateable of a diesel vs a gas…as yet)

    Gas is more useful for local… as well as … frequent trips…

    Gas doesn’t smell as bad…nor is it as expensive right now…

    Gas engines are cheaper to maintain… and parts are more common when you need ’em…

    the rest we will let the diesel guys tie up on the other side… grin…

    (we just had a friend have a glow plug go out… and no you can’t get the engine to run right without it being on… he had to have the exhaust collectors removed to replace them… that then required the studs replaced as they broke a few that were rusty… and then they found a cracked one… so again replaced that too… finally after two weeks they got the right glow plugs for ALL THE CYC… and got it back togeather again… only to find that they had a piston knock… because it ran without the fireing… which had to have the head removed… final bill… a whopping 4,000 dollars… yikes… you can buy a whole new airstream used almost for that price Diesels are not cheap engines to maintain… so we have seen… but, others I am sure have had good luck with theirs…

  22. Pingback: RV Weekly Round-Up (April 25-May 1, 2009) : blog.rv.net

  23. Chet, those King Ranch interiors are extremely nice (some of the best leather work I’ve seen in a vehicle, period). And with a F350 dually, you can probably tow a mountain as well as climb one! They really are exceptional tow vehicles.

  24. Chet

    Diesel all the way for me!! Had a 1997 F-250HD and it was great except for the transmission. Now have a 2004 F350 dually King Ranch 4 x 4. It is an exceptional tow vehicle! It tows our fifth wheel with ease and goes up hills and never misses a beat. It is so nice my Dad says it is like riding in a fine car. He can’t believe it is a 1 ton four wheel drive truck.

  25. Thanks to all for your comments. Even though most of us have already made this choice, there are many others reading the blog who are seeking information…. a wondering which way to go: diesel or gas? There’s a lot of collective wisdom in this community, and all first-hand opinions and reports are helpful.

    I must concede that our diesel is pretty noisy. We have an ’07 Ford F250… Subsequent years boast a newly designed engine that’s more quiet (and, I’m told, more problematic!).

    With regard to the smell, I don’t really have any problem with our diesel. Maybe I just don’t have a sensitive sense of smell, but our diesel doesn’t seem radically different from gas in this respect.

  26. G Shea

    Opps. our 2500 is a 2005, and we are told that they are queiter than earlier models. We cannot hear the engine from inside the truck. G Shea

  27. G Shea

    Wow, I have been running a Dodge 2500 1997 diesel with way less noise than any gas engine, and much more power. We used to tow with a gas van and when it became clear that we wanted more power in the mountains I test towed our 6000 lb trailer with the best of several trucks, all three brands. We towed our trailer during my tests up a steep grade, and the diesel easliy out performed the gas. Our milage is 15mpg avg, even when towing. We find diesel fuel prices avg 20cents per gallon more than gas on the west coast. I have run bio diesel though it and the “smell” improves, like cooking donuts. In VERY cold weather we cannot run the bio, the pump can’t handle it. Our Dodge dealer told us that we can run bio with no threat to our warranty. The mileage with bio is around 17 mpg and cost is about 10 cents more per gallon at the local station. I have never had any trouble finding diesel or any mechanical troubles with the engine. I can say it seems to work less hard on grades that really had our gas engine roaring. I drive buses for a living and none of them are gas engines. Most oare CNG converted diesel engines and they perform very well. Our non converted buses that use bio diesel have a slight power edge over the CNG, but barely. If I ever buy a motorhome I will only consider a diesel puser due to noise, milage and power. G Shea

  28. John Shelton

    First, while my skin is still “crawling”; GMAs, there is NO “Cummings” engine. The Cummins/Onan company builds several models of “Cummins” engines and nary a one of them has a “G” in the name.

    Now that I have that rant off my chest; I have owned and driven both diesel and gasoline powered RVs. At one time diesel had an advantage in fuel mileage as well as fuel price that, over time, more than paid for the premium price at time of purchase. With the advent of ultra low sulfur fuel (and the resultant fuel price increase) and the associated tuning modifications (and the resulting reductions in fuel economy and additional production costs) to accommodate the ULSF, this advantage no longer exists. Diesel just costs more to buy, own, and drive nowadays than gasoline. I find this a very sad event because I just very much liked the “feel”of driving a diesel powerplant. They really do feel more like “they enjoy working”.

    That’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it!

  29. lba

    Let’s also remember that Diesels have issues with the cold. If you like to jump in a vehicle when its 19 degrees and run to the campground store and back home, there’s more to it with teh Diesel. However, keep in the warm weather always and you are fine. Some up north use engine warmers 24/7 during winter to keep the diesels ready to run. But some diesel owners I’ve talked to said the diesel wasn’t good for lots of camping for winter ski trips for example. I’m not sure if that’s the case with everyone, but it is a consideration when we talk gas vs. diesel. Right?

  30. Larry

    This is not a comment on whether gas or diesel, but rather a comment on the “state of the diesel”

    The Dodge diesel has gone through various changes. About 1990 they got the engine right. From then until sometime in 1997 the Dodge Cummins was as good as it’s ever been. High horsepower and torque. But it wasn’t until sometime in 1995-6 that it had a transmission that would handle the engine. Now I know for a fact the numbers I quote are correct. Using the on-board mpg gauge of the trucks. Several of them.

    This particular truck. The 1996 Dodge diesel with the double cab will get 15-20 on the highway solo. Depends how it’s driven. But it will get 15 at 70-75 mph. Towing it will get 12-15 easily.

    Starting in 1997 both Dodge and the federal government began changing things. The new Dodge diesels have a different transmission and engine and get about 2/3 the economy of the 1996. I suppose the new engine is to lower emissions, but it gets so much worse miliage that any gain there is surely lost.

    Do you think these sort of things might be why Chrysler is about to go bankrupt?


  31. DenO

    Boy, Dean & Maggie. That trip over the pass brought memories to mind. We did the same going into Jackson, WY with our Dodge Hemi and our 28′ fifth. We were in first gear. Engine was screaming at 6k. When we got to the bottom (finally) we traded for a Diesel with a six speed Allison. Works SOOO much easier than the Hemi! Milage some times is twice what the Gasoline was. If you’ve ever enjoyed putting Ethanol into a Dodge you know what I am speaking of. Five miles a gallon is pretty good. Our turbo diesel will easily crank fifteen on a flat. twelve in the mountains.

  32. GlenO

    I am pulling with a Chev 06 C2500 Durmax. Made a pull last year from MS all the way to Yellowstone, GC, Tx and back home with not the first pulling problem. Definately a great pulling machine.

    Diesel around my way when I bought the truck was running 50 cents less than gas, then went up-side-down to as much as 50 Cents above gave. It has finally leveled down to run about 25 cents over gas.

    The Durmax is about a 6-7K buy in but well worth it in my opinion. Gets great mileage especially when not towing, i.e. 21-22 on the road.

    I had a Chev 6.0 gas before. Plenty power but it didn’t matter whether I was towing or cruising the baby loved gas. On its best day about 13.

    I will stay with the diesel for the RV tow.

  33. Drew

    Most people with diesel trucks/motorhomes seem to get rid of them long before they wear out…at least as often as the ones who have gas models. It would seem though that even if they held onto them–the rest of the rig would fall apart around the engine & drive train. Diesels don’t seem to make any sense, unless you absolutely need the torque…(or just like the noise).

  34. Harold Hansen

    One important issue wasn’t addressed in the article and comments and that is the durability and expected life of a diesel versus a gas engine in a heavy work environment. I moved to a Class A motorhome with a diesel because of the expected life of the drivetrain. I also have a F350 diesel that I tow a car trailer and occasionaly a 5th wheel. The truck has 220K miles and is in excellent shape. If you do some research and dig up the facts, a diesel is considered “broken-in” as far as wear measurements at 100K by mechanics and manufactures and 250K is very normal before expecting any repair work. Most gas engines in a large motorhome will not live as long before needing rebuilding. Many mechanics and repair shops will tell you a gas powered motorhome reaching 100K miles is very rare. Figure this into cost of ownership and the picture becomes very clear.

  35. GMAs

    Well my 460 gas engine stock put out 475 ft lbs torque… however modified just a little it now is slighty higher. Non turbocharged engine. If one goes with the trubo its not hard to pass the diesel in torque and hp. However the actual measured torque and hp that we turned on the dyno at engine RPM 2200 was 400ftlbs… 228hp… max hp was recorded at 4000 rpm where it was 293 hp… I have the 5 speed trans behind this engine.. fuel injected ..e tc… all the goodies… and we make 9-13 towing at 60-65mph with the 25 ft AS behind.

    More than enough to go the distance with… When the tow vehicle is on its own… we trun 1950 RPM… at 65mph and get a whopping 17 mpg … which is acceptable… We have a camper cap on the back and ours is 4×4… with buckstop bumper and big 15000 lb winch tucked in… Have to use the E rated tires as the othes we found will break down in the sidewalls and come apart…

    Our truck will carry about anything you want to put in the back and still go… We use it off road to get to the back country camping spots as well as towing the AS … about the only problem we have had with it is the cab interior plastic parts… and the fact that the factory raised the thing for higher ground clearance… but, off road it keeps the expensive stuff from hitting the rocks etc… as we go places where only jeeps used to go… and carry a load to boot…

    We have had several of the ford diesels… the last one was a 2006 … it was a nightmare… not only did it have problems with the engine but the trans and rear end. All that good torque you mention 500 ft lbs… I guess was hard on the drive line parts… Yes we blew the universials right off the drive shaft… one time.. bent the thing the following trip… and then the rear end blew… making little pieces out of the big gears… All was taken care of by warrentee but … you mentioned bio fuels… ahhh best be reading the disclaimers… if you do.. your on your own if the engine burps… and you can’t fool ’em they know when you have… sooo as fer the expensive parts… the fuel pump/injectors and system seems to be very sensitive… When Calif changed fuel formulation back then… we had problems with the injector pump… thank goodness we had the warrentee… the pump alone was almost 7,000… the turbo which also went south… on one of the trubochargers… was a whopping 2800 bux… no rebuilts ones.. only exchanges …
    Things just got too expensive for what the out the door price was when we bought it new… and when we went to trade it in on a 2008… we won’t use any of the words here but they lied big time on the value of the diesel trade in value…

    Just got tired of smelling like the fuel… is the biggest complaint… had to burn lots of BJ’s… as you can’t wash them without getting the aroma of the fuel in the other clothing and house…

    You got it for the nosie… no sneaking off in the middle of the night.. and the fumes will linger where you were….

    Biggest problem that we see is the fact that the cost of operation never get below the gas… when you take into consideration the out the door value…price to what you have to drive to make it up at the break even point… most people fail to see that…

    Maintenance is the next issue with the diesel…. when these engines are using glow plugs… Just one plug is the cost of a whole set of spark plugs for the gas…
    Oil changes.. ouch… gas is more common… and also less expensive… finding someone good to work on the diesel is another issue…

    What seems to be the issue is the useage… diesels are good for getting down the road .. hour after hour… but don’t try and just run to the store with ’em… they have to have a warm up periode and a cool down… (the turbocharger is spin’n about 38-50,000 rpm… and if you come in and shut the engine off … guess who doesn’t get any oil while it spools down… of course exposed to the exhaust… also helps cook ’em… The cost to replace the trubo unit and its controller right now is about 2900-4000 bux… and ford has two of these puppys turning and burning when your trucking down the road… stacking air into the engine…

    The major reasion you don’t see to many on cars today is because of the short duration of the operation… gas cars are good at start run to the store… and home again… warm up is in motion… try that with a diesel and I can assure you that the engine is not going to last long…

    Diesels are heavy monsters… we have a friend who has one in his 4×4… and the front end is always getting stuck in the soft spots… then again dodge with its 6 cyc one seems to do better because its a little lighter… and the cummings engine is world wide for parts… the same 6 cyc engine is used on fork lifts, motorgraders and all…kinds of boats… so parts are pretty common… ford.. and GM.. well… how long do you want to wait?? we know we had to do that …

    Again.. using anything but the commercial diesel fuel spec ‘ed by the manufacture… is out of the question… due to the warrentee that is given… and even then… we have heard horror stories about refuseal to service… because the owner overloaded the engine… (if its smoking exhaust your overloading it)

    As to the emissions… well one can smell… and if you do sense the diesel.. then you have a CO as well as NOX emission issue with the same envoronmentalnazi group… We recently had a campground issue where some newbie came in.. and gassed some people next to ’em with the exhaust of their truck… got down right physical.. as the gassed people were chasing the gasser’s around with baseball bats and taking a few whacks at the vehicle…in the passing… soo indeed the exhaust is offensive to some… while your in front crusing down the road…

    But, if the diesels are so good why don’t we see more … easy .. they arn’t as good…(which probably will get a big hurt response from the guy who just forked over 50,000 for a new one… while the gas version is only 25,000 same brand) they do a great job toodling down the highway pulling loads…. but close in… common daily run to the store use… nada… pretty costly… both in maintenance and repair… (we had to have our D fuel system purged due to water one time… 250 bux at the dealers door… they see ya coming… our friends who were in AK kept asking us to UPS… down here — $30.00 EA. fuel filters… for their GMC truck… as they only got about 2,000 per fuel filter… he got good at changing it quick too.. but the wife wouldn’t let him back in the trailer and said the truck stunk of diesel …ALL THE TIME while the gas guys nada… not even once and gas was cheaper up their too because everyone thought diesel was best)

    If the gas engine is treated the same… apples to apples … they produce more power and torque than a diesel for a short time… but diesels are good old heavy crusers… expensive to buy… maintain and operate now.. but better crusers down the highway…

    As to what we pull with… I perfer gas… as even if you take the cost of fuel and divide it down to cost per mile… doing the math… you would have to make a lot better gas mileage to break even with the cost … not to mention the extra 5-6000 the enigne cost out the door .. that you would have to make up also…

    I am sure the’re are others that will counter claim issues that the diesel is better… but for each their own… I perfer gas … starting with the smell… and cost advantages… But, a lot of ranchers and farmers perfer diesel… somehow they lost the sense of smell diff-eren-ation… I hear diesel makes good bug repellent also… grin…

    The adventuer contenues…

  36. Richard Thomasson

    I started out pulling a 34 ft fiver with a gas burner. You needed to have your speed up at the bottom of a hill and if it wasn’t too steep you didn’t lose too much by the time you hit the top. I’m now pulling a 35 ft fiver with a turbo-diesel and it has never seen a hill that made it struggle. The difference in fuel mileage is tremendous. (like from 6 on gas to 10 with diesel when towing and 10 with gas-15 with diesel running empty) I ran primarily in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Alabama on all kinds of roads because I worked for a utility company and lived in the camper for a lot of the past 5 years. Diesel gets my vote!

  37. We have an F-250 V-10 gas and haul a 33 ft. fiver that together on the scale weighed in ready for the winter away at 21,000 lbs. We averaged 8-10 MPG on our way out and back to AZ from VT. The lower average was in rainy conditions and the higher was in great conditions. We usually get 11-13 when we aren’t hauling so we were pleasantly surprised. A friend of our just added hydrogen(water) conversion to both his gas pick-up and then his diesel motorhome. He says he gets almost double the milage. Both are older rigs so I don’t know if it would void warrenty on newer vehicles, but there is another option to the biodiesel.

  38. Dean Tecklenburg

    Our 2008 GMC Sierra 2500HD, Crew Cab, 4×4, Turbo Diesel/Allison tranny isn’t noisy or smoky and it pulls our toy hauler 6K dry weight without knowing its there, without looking into the rear view mirror. Just an example, funny someone would mention Monarch Pass in Colorado…Last Labor Day weekend we started our trip to Lake City, CO for an ATV weekend doing the Alpine Loop…we started the trip in our new 2007 Dodge Ram Hemi gasoline 5.7L with automatic tranny…the whole time while making the Pass climb the engine strained to make it up…going from 2200 to 5500 rpms and back every 8 seconds to the 8 mile summit run. It was white knuckle time for me the whole way up…even shifting down to second gear didn’t help the situation… Told the wife we wouldn’t be returning with the truck on the return run…stopped in Gunnison and ditched the gasoline engined Hemi and traded it in for the GMC…best decision I’ve ever made…it is a joy to drive, with and without a trailer…noise, smoke and fuel availability is not an issue for us…

  39. Bill Ridgley

    I used to have a diesel pickup truck, which I used to tow a 30ft firth wheel. I transitioned to a gas motorhome. When I upgraded to a larger motorhome, I purposely stayed with gas, rather than diesel. For a non-fulltimer, gas makes much more sense, since the initial cost is lower, the fuel is less expensive (in California, for several years, there was a 30-50 cent per gallon premium on diesel over regular unleaded, and although it varies, there still is usually a premium on diesel fuel). Another factor is maintenance, since a regular service on a diesel engine is MUCH more expensive than a gas engine. Even if you do your own maintenance by changing your own oil and filters, diesel is still more expensive, both for filters and for oil, since diesel engines have more oil capacity than gas engines. The economy of diesel engines is more than offset by the above reasons, even if the towing capacity is greater. Certainly, for some folks, the larger towing capacity is needed, and for those, diesel is fine. I don’t disparage anyone for their particular choice, but for my usage, gas is fine, and I have had no complaints for the performance and functionality of my gas motorhome (2008 Georgetown 391 on a Workhorse UFO chassis.)

  40. Maggie

    A hulking, smelly, noisy Dodge diesel for us. Pulled a 13,000-pound fiver over Monarch Pass like it wasn’t even back there — and gives us 12-14 mpg to boot.

  41. Jerry Criswell

    Diesels have not been noisy or smelly and diesel fuel hasn’t been hard to find for several years. However, you are correct that when you have more capacity than you need, it is safer for you and everyone around you.