Comparing Gas to Diesel Motorhomes

diesel vs gas RV

A lot of first-time RV buyers, as well as many who already own a motorhome often wonder, which is better, a diesel or gas motorhome? However, the truth is, the answer isn’t always clear-cut, since there are several factors in the equation.

Before you can decide whether you want a diesel or gas motorhome, carefully consider the type of RV lifestyle you want. Take into account how much you can spend, how you want to travel, RV maintenance, and the importance of fuel economy. Finally, consider the size of the motorhome you’d feel comfortable living in and driving.


The first thing to consider is how much you’re willing to spend; many people finally decide to buy a gas motorhome, since they are much less expensive than a diesel motorhome. Of course, there are degrees of price, as well as quality, within both diesel and gas motorhomes. If you’re on a budget, but still want a good quality RV, a high-end gas motorhome could be a wise choice. But if you want to be a full-time RVer and you have the money, you won’t regret spending extra for a diesel motorhome. Furthermore, diesel motorhomes generally hold their value longer than a gas motorhome.

Fuel Efficiency

When you compare a diesel motorhome to a gas one, diesel is much more fuel-efficient. Fuel is expensive, and motorhomes get terrible gas mileage. While diesel is often more expensive at the pump than gas, in the long run, it’s cheaper; that’s because a diesel engine gets better miles per gallon. If you plan to drive across the country, diesel may be the better choice. However, if your RV lifestyle doesn’t include a lot of driving, it can make more sense to get a gas motorhome. The last thing to consider, every gas station has gas, but some don’t have diesel. If you’re planning on staying in cities, gas may be the best choice since gasoline is more available.


Diesel engines have a longer lifespan than a gas engine, which is a big advantage. But if don’t plan on doing a lot of driving, this may not be that big of an advantage. Diesel engines can also be driven longer between oil changes and other maintenance. However, when a diesel engine does need service, it’s more expensive, and you’ll need to go to a shop that specializes in diesel engines.


Diesel engines have superior low-end torque, which means diesel will climb mountains more easily, and towing a car will be a breeze. But if you don’t plan on traveling a lot through mountainous areas, or tow a heavy load, that advantage may not be a concern. One advantage of gas engines is they tend to be more cold-resistant and can have better performance at high altitudes.


The engine of a gas motorhome is upfront, making it noisy while driving. It can also get warm inside the cockpit area, since the engine is right under you. Likewise, the “doghouse” engine cover on some gas motorhomes can make getting in and out of the cockpit area inconvenient.

The rear engine of a diesel motorhome keeps the cockpit area quieter and cooler. However, this may only be an advantage if you’re planning on long driving sessions. If you only plan to drive 2-3 hours at a time, a gas motorhome might be OK. But if you plan on driving eight hours straight, a diesel motorhome will make like more comfortable.

Quality of the Interior

Many assume that since a diesel motorhome is more expensive, the quality of the interior will be better. That’s not always true; a good quality gas motorhome from a reputable manufacturer will have essentially the same walls, kitchen, flooring, and plumbing as a comparable diesel motorhome. You’re not paying extra for amenities, you’re paying extra for the engine.

The biggest advantage of a gas motorhome is the lower purchase price. Diesel has the advantage of longer engine life and better fuel economy.

There are advantages to both diesel and gas when it comes to buying a motorhome. It’s up to you to decide. While a diesel motorhome is better for long-distance driving, a less expensive gas motorhome may do just fine if you’re only traveling short distances.

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