Gas Vs Diesel For Towing a Fifth Wheel – Which is The Best?

car and camper house in the wood

Published Date: September 7, 2020

Last Updated on April 10, 2023 by Camper Front

Many people have different viewpoints when it comes to deciding which option is better between gas vs diesel for towing a fifth wheel. It has fueled many heated debates over the years. But the “best” option really boils down to you and your preferences.

How a gas or diesel-powered truck functions depends greatly on who you are, where you’re going, and, most importantly, your budget.

It is common knowledge that diesel costs more than gas, but other options also factor into this decision. Let’s take a look at the differences between gas and diesel for towing a 5th wheel.

Gas vs Diesel for Towing a Fifth Wheel – Key Differences

We can’t just put a stamp on the best towing option because, again, it boils down to a lot of different factors.

So, let’s look at the different affecting factors of towing with gas-powered engines compared to diesel; this will enable you to relate it to your own situation and enable you to make the right purchase.

Towing Cost

difference between gas and diesel for towing a fifth wheel

cost is the primary consideration when it comes to making this decision. The price of diesel has always been higher than gas, all thanks to the heavier-duty components of its engine, as well as the ancillary items that go along with it.

A high-pressure injection pump, turbocharger/intercooler, larger radiator, and beefier transmission are also part of the package. Still, newer models of diesel-powered trucks have been designed to have manageable gas mileage.

On the other hand, the fuel efficiency of gas engines cannot be overemphasized; it also provides the best value for your money.

The price difference between the cost of gas and the cost of diesel is quite enormous. That being said, if you plan on putting your truck through approximately 30,000 miles per year, then diesel will be a better option.

But if you plan on using your truck occasionally then, gas is a good option. Because while diesel is costlier than gas, it does not create any considerable difference in the big picture.


The typical diesel engine weighs about 600-800 pounds more than its gasoline counterparts. This results in a reduction in the truck’s payload capacity. Now, 600-800 pounds may not sound like a lot, but when it comes to payload, every pound matters.

The penalty in the payload for having a diesel truck is simply too large for lower-rated pickup trucks. This is especially true if you’re interested in hauling a truck camper with a lot of weight.

The payload rating on a gasoline-powered truck tends to be significantly higher than on a diesel truck. The thing to note here is that the more payload capacity you have, the more flexibility you have to carry people, cargo, and trailer tongue weight.

Towing capacity

Towing a trailer inside a town or city can be done conveniently with a gasoline truck. Still, when it comes to towing on rough terrains like mountain ranges or long highway routes, diesel towing vehicles are just the better option to go for.

Also, diesel engines have an added advantage in handling torque when towing heavy-duty stuff. So If you intend to tow heavyweights more frequently and go on long journeys, a diesel truck is the right way to go due to its more robust chassis.

Using a gas-powered truck to tow heavyweights increased fuel consumption and reduced engine efficiency. But one thing to note here is to always make sure your towable is under the weight limit of your truck, whether gas or diesel-powered.

Read Also: 2018 Honda CR-V Towing Capacity

Resale Value

Diesel-powered trucks tend to last longer than their gasoline counterparts and go for a much higher price on the resale market.

This is because of their higher mile end of the scale and the long lifespan of their engine. It may require more money to operate a diesel truck, but they have pretty sturdy components.

In order to match the demanding pressure of the cylinder and high compression ratio, a diesel engine’s valves, heads, and pistons are pretty “hardcore.”

And also, due to the fact that diesel exhaust is not as corrosive as gasoline exhaust, the exhaust system of a diesel engine also tends to have longer longevity.

Maintenance cost

diesel vs gas for towing a 5th wheel trailer

When it comes to maintenance, gas-powered trucks take the win; they require fewer maintenance expenses, and they also use less oil plus the standard grade unleaded gasoline that generally runs these engines costs lesser than diesel fuel.

If you are handy, you can change your gas-powered truck’s oil by yourself, but you certainly cannot change a diesel truck’s oil yourself; you must take it to a certified mechanic for diesel engine trucks.

While you can get your gas-powered truck maintenance done at any Dodge, Chevrolet, or Ford dealer.

The maintenance of a diesel vehicle often costs more than a gas vehicle since the former requires extensive support to keep it operational. Also, diesel engines have a larger oil reservoir coupled with filters and separators that need frequent replacement.

Also, an oil change on a diesel pickup tends to be around 3x the price of an oil change on a gas pickup. This is because the oil type being used is more expensive, and it requires a lot of oil. There is also the diesel exhaust fluid that also requires frequent top-ups.

Repairs of the injector, transmission, and turbo are something you want to plan ahead for, as they could be costly. But even if diesel trucks will cost you a lot more money in maintenance fees compared to what you have to spend on gas trucks, they don’t require constant maintenance.

In a gas engine, the price of primary components is less expensive, but the service interval is usually longer than the diesel. If you plan on using your truck occasionally, then it is more affordable to get a gas truck due to its less maintenance cost compared to diesel trucks.


Diesel trucks are known to have a notoriously high carbon footprint; they release more nitrogen oxide and other emissions. But the gas truck also releases some emissions, so there’s no need to exclude diesel trucks if you’re eco-friendly.

Read More: How to Know if RV Converter is Bad


There’s, is no clear winner when it comes to the question of gas vs. diesel for towing a fifth wheel, which is better? It’s all up to you and your preference.

There are a lot of things to be factored in personally to enable you to make the right choice that suits you personally.

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