4 Main Differences Between Diesel and Gas Powered Vehicles

With the availability of diesel-powered vehicles increasing, you may be wondering whether you should buy a new gas-powered or diesel-powered vehicle. Traditionally, in Canada, diesel-powered vehicles consisted of mainly trucks and off-road vehicles. However, in Europe, almost half of all vehicles are diesel-powered. Today’s diesel engines are much more sophisticated and highly efficient to the point where they are currently considered superior to gas due to advancements in fuel technology which have created a much cleaner and greener diesel.

Fuel & Ignition Characteristics of Gas and Diesel

Car mechanic check the fuel filter at diesel engine. service or Preventive maintenanceOne of the main differences between gas and diesel engines is the fact that, as a fuel, gasoline ignites faster but diesel has a higher energy density per liter. This means that you can get more power output from a liter of diesel than a liter of gas, which is why heavy vehicles tend to have diesel engines. Also, the by-products of these two fuels are quite different. For example, gas produces higher levels of Carbon Monoxide but lower levels of soot and nitrogen compounds than diesel. 

Gasoline and diesel are classified differently as well. Diesel fuel is classified as a combustible liquid. This means that we need compression and heat to ignite it. On the other hand, gasoline is considered a flammable liquid. To ignite flammable liquids you only need a spark therefore a gas engine has spark plugs to create combustion whereas a diesel engine uses compression.

Power Levels

The power produced by these engines is also a little different. Gasoline-powered engines produce more horsepower and torque at higher RPMs. However, diesel-powered engines generate more horsepower and torque at lower RPMs which means they have more pulling power from a complete stop, therefore they are more suitable for towing.

Consequently, if speed is an important factor when you are considering a car, you should avoid purchasing one with a diesel engine. However, if you would like a car with a strong and steady engine then you are better off buying a diesel-powered vehicle. 

Fuel Efficiency

One of the reasons, almost all taxis in European countries are diesel-powered is the significant difference in fuel efficiency between the two fuels. Diesel-powered engines are 30-35% more fuel-efficient for light vehicles and about 20% for heavier vehicles like SUVs and trucks. Even though the cost of diesel is slightly higher than gas in most countries, in Vancouver, it is slightly lower than gasoline. Therefore, if you use your car on a daily basis and travel long distances, diesel may be the better choice for you, especially if you do a great deal of highway driving. 

Maintenance Cost

The maintenance cost of gasoline-powered engines is lower due to the cost of parts, oil changes and service intervals. However, diesel-powered engines require less maintenance procedures since they don’t have spark plugs or distributors that require ignition tune-ups. Additionally, the lifespan of diesel engines and their exhaust systems is longer due to their operating efficiency and the quality of engine parts. Nonetheless, it is vital that diesel engines are well-maintained and you adhere to your vehicle manufacturer’s service schedules since if any of their systems fail, the repair costs can be significantly higher than gasoline engines.  

It’s important to note that if you take proper maintenance of your diesel engine, it will last much longer than a gasoline-powered engine. This will make your vehicle’s trade-in and resale value much higher. As a result, if you don’t change vehicles frequently and keep up with routine maintenance, you can expect your diesel-powered vehicle to save you money in the long run. 

At Supertech Auto Repair North Vancouver, we have experienced and Red Seal Certified technicians to service and repair your gas-powered and diesel-powered engines. Contact us online or call us to book your appointment. We’ve built our company by removing the frustration from auto repair.