• Buying a Gas vs Diesel RV or Motorhome

    by  • March 26, 2012 • Gas Vs Diesel • 1 Comment

    What is the difference between a gas vs diesel motorhome and what is the rv mpg comparison?

    If you are buying your first motorhome or have owned a few RVs but are wondering if upgrading to diesel is worth it, we will share the advantages of both.

    What are the Advantages of Buying a Diesel RV?

    There are many advantages. For starters, diesels have more power which gives you more torque. Two advantages of torque are increased towing capacity, (now you can bring that boat along too!) and you won’t slow down to a crawl going up a hill.

    The second advantage of a diesel RV is that diesel engines last longer than gas. Diesel motorhomes are built for high mileage. Often diesel engines last 250,000 to 500,000 miles vs. gas RVs that only last 100,00 to 150,000. On average, most motorhomes are driven about 5,000 miles per year. If you plan on driving more than 10,000 miles, a diesel may be your best choice. In addition, NADA values don’t change as much for high mileage proportional to cost on a diesel model as with a gas. As far as RV mpg comparison goes, deisel and gas motorhomes tend to get about the same miles per gallon even though diesel motorhomes can be much larger. If they are more expensive to drive, it is because deisel currently costs about $1 more per gallon than gasoline. 6 to 8 mpg is probably the average for most Class A motorhomes.

    Another thing to consider is that some of the more luxurious models are available only as diesels. Previously 40 feet was the maximum length, now they have 42 and 45 feet models, but you need to have a powerful engine to drive them. Heavier diesel engines may also have a heavier chassis that would be safer in an accident. Because a diesel motorhome has more power, additional weight has less impact on miles per gallon than it does on a gas motorhome.


    Another benefit is better mileage in smaller diesels. This is because a smaller (diesel) engine can still provide you enough power, to power a small motorhome. The 24′ Winnebago View is a Class C motorhome that nearly gets the 18-22 mpg it advertises. Similar gas models only get about 12 mpg.

    Lastly, although there are many differences between a gas vs diesel RV, a diesel RV is a status symbol. I have been in the RV sales industry and I know many people who have bought a diesel for status, or because they felt they deserved one. Why settle when you can get the best? Diesels are very, very nice motorhomes, and you should defiantly take the time to enjoy your RV once you buy it.

    Advantages of a Gas Motorhome

    1. Diesels are more expensive to purchase.

    Two very comparable motorhomes side by side – One is diesel, one is gas. These motorhomes are the same year and have the same mileage. They are nearly identical from the outside except for one is 80-100,000 more than the other. This is probably the biggest reason not to buy a diesel. If you pay more for it, it will depreciate a lot faster. If you plan on only owning the motorhome for a short period of time, you will not have to sink a lot more into a diesel than a gas motorhome.

    Having engine trouble? Most mechanics will service a gas motorhome. If you need your diesel serviced, you will have to use a truck mechanic. The bad news is diesel mechanics charge twice as much per hour.

    Diesels may be a little loader than gas RVs. Often though, diesel engines are in the rear, and this should impact the comfort of your ride. Your diesel generator may also be a little bit louder.


    The fourth drawback is that price of diesel being more expensive than the price of gasoline. Most of the time, miles per gallon may be pretty comparable to gas, but currently diesel is $1 more per gallon. Assuming 8 miles per gallon and 5,000 miles per year, this would cost you about $600 more a year for gas.

    Diesel insurance may be more expensive. Check with your agent for details. Diesels are considered a little safer but they are a lot more expensive to fix or replace, so your rates will most certainly be higher on a Diesel RV.

    Please email us if you have anything you wish to add. (or leave a comment) Thanks!

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    One Response to Buying a Gas vs Diesel RV or Motorhome

    1. Larry Buschling
      May 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm

      I have had three motor homes. The first was gas and the last two were diesel. We have a 42 foot Allegro bus currently. My gas unit got just as good or better mileage as my diesels. The gas units have better acceleration and fuel is more readily available. I have to go in with all the semis to fuel up.
      Busch

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