Sunday, May 28, 2023


Is your RV or tow vehicle engine powered by gas or diesel?

It’s hard to say if a gas or diesel engine is better or worse than the other. They both have pros and cons, and some people prefer one or the other.

Diesels have more power, and usually better mileage. However, they are heavier and cost more to repair. Gas engines cost a whole lot less than diesels, but they do have a shorter lifespan.

Is your RV or tow vehicle engine powered by gas or diesel? Please vote in the poll below, and leave a comment too if you’d like. We always appreciate comments. Thanks!

Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury
Emily Woodbury is the editor here at She was lucky enough to grow up alongside two traveling parents, one domestically by RV (yep, Chuck Woodbury) and the other for international adventures, and has been lucky to see a great deal of our world (and counting!). She lives near Seattle with her dog and chickens. When she's not cranking out 365+ newsletters for she's hiking, cooking or, well, probably traveling.


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1 year ago

Diesel with a 605 HP motor.
My husband drives 75- 80 mph.
We usually are not in “ mosey mode “

Rory R
2 years ago

The poll has done it again, posed a question and the anwers turned the comments into a full fledged debate on which is better, gas or diesel, an age old debate….. Why can’t people just give an opinion and stop tryig to convert everyone to their choice. Gas or diesel is a personal choice, regardless of the myriad number of reasons for either. Let it be a personal choice..

Brian Gilbert
2 years ago

My answer: it depends. How big or heavy is your rig? I have a Pace Arrow 36Z, and I feel that it is pretty much the limit for a gas engine it does fine. For anything bigger, you may not have any choice but diesel. But when there’s a choice, a big part of the decision is you use your RV. Do you drive a distance and then stay for weeks or months? Or do you want to see the country and drive, never staying longer than a few days at a time? Diesels need and want to run. Sitting for extended periods is not good. Gas is better for that. Initial cost and maintenance costs have been already discussed. They both have their pluses and minuses, so consider your personal usage and budget. But most of all, use it and enjoy it!

Bob P
2 years ago

My theory is if you’re going to be doing a lot of towing/driving your rv then the diesel is the route to take. If you’re traveling one weekend a month and limited to two week vacations per year the price and extra maintenance cost of a diesel doesn’t make economic sense. Our SIL and daughter sold their 42’ 5th wheel that he pulled with a 2014 crew cab Chevy 6.6L diesel. He asked me to go with him to look at new trucks, he started looking at mid-sized diesel because he had loved his old truck. I asked him if he was planning on getting a small camper to pull and he said no, so I told him my theory and he apparently thought about it because he bought a GMC Canyon with the 3.6L gas engine and he’s very happy with it. The point being, can you afford the extra cost of the engine and all the cost of maintenance if you’re mainly using it for daily transportation and occasionally towing, if not gas is the answer.

2 years ago

Diesel costs more, but lasts up to 800,000 miles or more. The catch, wait until something goes wrong. It seems that every time I had my diesel in the shop the bill started at $1,000.00 dollars and up. If you treat it properly you will spend a lot on filters, if you don’t, you will spend a lot on repairs. Gas engines are more forgiving if you are a little late on service. Moral to the story is, if you have money the diesel is better, if you are limited in resources stick to gas.

2 years ago

I have both 1999 35 ft National RV Dolphin with Ford V10 and a 2004 Ford F450 6.0 diesel to pull our 36 ft Avion 5th wheel.

Bob P
2 years ago
Reply to  Chuck

If your 6.0 diesel hasn’t been bullet proofed then start saving your money. We had friends last winter in FL who were from Canada that had a Ford with the 6.0 diesel, I asked him if it had been bullet proofed and he gave me a strange questioning look. On their way home last May they made it to Columbia, Tn and his engine laid down on him. He found a garage that knew how to fix it and they sat in their 5th wheel 5 days outside the garage while it was being fixed.

2 years ago

I pull a 8400lb travel trailer with my 1500 Silverado with a 6.2 gas and max trailing package. Speed or pulling is no problem. My son has a Duramax that I have used. I like the diesel but my truck cost 40k and his was 60k. Pretty much same trucks other than engine. I can use the 20k to go camping

Charles Glisson
2 years ago

I have a 2007 chevy Silverado. 4.8 engine. I pull a 30 ft camper weight about 8000lb. My truck has 14000 miles on it. No issues. When I pull my camper, I use mid grade gas. As for engine oil. 20w30 Shaffer synthetic oil.

2 years ago

Diesel bater gas after 100.000 k is don car is not worth natheng I won’t bay gas car over40.000k the don’t Mike gas ingen like use to tank you

Joseph Michael Petrick
2 years ago

Gas engines are cheaper in price, easier to work on and the fuel is a lot less expensive. Better starting in cold weather, also operates quieter.

2 years ago

Diesels pull better not faster, the advantage of diesel is power at lower RPM so you can stick it in high gear and just Cruise right up the hill, but speed is horsepower! as long as you don’t mind running it in the RPM that the motor makes its max power, then whatever motor makes the most horsepower will go faster up the hill in a gas motor you might just have to be in third gear at 5,000 RPM, whereas a diesel will pull the same Hill in fifth gear at 1800 RPM, of course you’re going to get better mileage at 1800 RPM than 5000, and your motor will also last much longer so for me diesels are by far the better pulling machine

Diane Mc
2 years ago

The mystery poll returns. Several months ago I stopped seeing the polls. Then mysteriously it just returned one day after weeks of no poll. Been working up until today. No poll. On an iPad Air 3, which I use to read RV Trave, haven’t changed any settings.🤷‍♀️

2 years ago
Reply to  Diane Mc

Can you try clicking on the poll and leaving it to open? It takes up to ten to fifteen minutes for the polls to open on my laptop.

2 years ago

We very happily drive a 2003 Chevy 3500 dually with a 6.0 gas engine. It has had an 8500# (loaded) toy hauler for the 1st 5 years of its life and then a 3500#+ Lance camper mounted to its bed since 2008. It is 4WD for help in getting up on leveling blocks or getting out of iffy traction situations. I will never have another non-dually RV just because of the MANY rear tire issues I had in other trucks while towing in the previous 20 years to getting this one. Just passing 90k miles now and have had only to replace the water pump. Lots of fun toys purchased and places travelled to with the savings in original price and maintenance over diesel. (would like the piece of mind of that Allison tranny though). Would have had to get the 8 litre gas for that … now there is a gas loving engine.

2 years ago

As a retired person my gas engine tow rig will last long enough. Diesel would be wasted money. My gasser gets 10 mpg pulling a 26ft toy hauler at 8000 lbs. My Cummins in my last truck did very little better mpg or power. If I can’t climb at altitude at speed it won’t break my heart.

Thomas D
2 years ago

I love the power of my diesel. It doubled my mpg over gas. It pulls at altitude like the V10 never did. BUT,that darn DEF,particult filter glow plugs 10 quarts of oil,all expensive stuff. Right now check engine light is. Sounds expensive. Probably never buy diesel again.

Deborah Mason
2 years ago

For us part of the decision was purchase price and part was what our mechanic prefers to work on. My husband is a retired mechanic who worked on both kinds of engines over a long career, but never really liked working on the diesels. Having a live-in mechanic, we try to keep him happy.

John Koenig
2 years ago

A debate that will NEVER end.

2 years ago
Reply to  John Koenig

For me the debate is over. After 5 gas engine trucks, I’ve moved to diesel. :
1: we spend summers traveling–8000 mile trips, mountain driving
2: even with the proper setup, our 1 year old 1/2 ton was within 400lbs of GVW. Yes we bought a new trailer (conventional) but the weight there wasn’t much more than the old unit. The heavier brakes on a 3/4 ton, heavier payload, heavier tow capacity make that one easy.
3: pulling power of diesel over gas makes driving easier and the wife more comfortable. Plus exhaust braking makes for safer downhill driving
4: Better MPG. And using a TSD Fuel Card discounts have matched or beaten gasoline prices.
I know the cost of diesel (purchase and maintenance) is higher than a gas engine, but when you figure in wear and tear on a gas engine vs diesel, plus the cost of brake jobs, costs aren’t far apart. Plus you can get 300K to 500K out of a properly maintained diesel vs less than half on a gasoline engine.

2 years ago

I am a retired ASE Master Diesel Mechanic. There are advantages to gas and diesel. In some RVs a diesel is required and if you are a high mileage driver a diesel is probably best but for most is more expensive to own and drive all things considered a gas is the best way to go. With this said if you have the money to drive a diesel then get one. If you are on a budget you may be happier with gas power. If you pull a heavy load in the mountain a diesel will maybe get you to the top of the hill first but guess what there is no trophy when you get there a few minutes faster. Driving a gas or diesel is more of a ego trip than what you need, just a personal choice like boxers or briefs. Eat what you like and drive what you like it’s your money. As for me I drive gas and eat steak.

John Crawford
2 years ago
Reply to  Terry

Advantages of diesel that nobody has mentioned is air suspension and exhaust breaking. I can lower my coach before extending the jacks so they don’t have to lift as high, which makes leveling on uneven ground easier. I have been able to level up in places that gas coaches had to move out of. Also I have been able to lower my coach to get under a low bridge. The exhaust brakes have saved me a ton on brake jobs. I’ve been driving 4.5 years on the same brake pads.

Ron L.
2 years ago
Reply to  John Crawford

Exhaust “Braking”. Don’t want to break your exhaust, now do you?

2 years ago

F250 Super Duty Powerstroke 6.7. Awesome tow vehicle. I use the single wheel drive for both 5th wheel and travel trailer. Never had a problem on either one with sway, rough ride etc. If you want a Dual wheel rear get one. Me, I am happy with mine as is

Tom Clark
2 years ago

Having owned a number of gas powered RV’s, my current one(LTV Wonder RTB), is diesel powered and is better for mileage, torque, and overall performance. So far, it is the best we’ve ever had. In our area gas and diesel cost almost exactly the same, so the additional fuel economy of the diesel is really significant. We are averaging 3-4 MPG better mileage than with our last RV which was pretty much the same size but gas powered. So, for us, the diesel is the way to go.

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