Gas Vs Diesel: Which is Better for Your Commercial Fleet?
With the economy getting more heavily reliant on fuel, business owners are looking at two derivatives of it; gas and diesel. Price increases on either of these two makes a ripple effect of expense on commodities, services, and operation costs.
A commercial fleet running on either of these is impactful on a business from a financial aspect and on operational efficiency. But which one is better and how do they differ? There are several factors to consider. More than just the explosion inside an engine, gas and diesel both deliver advantages depending on your needs. Here are some factors to consider before making a game-changing decision.
Power per Gallon
According to the U.S Department of Energy, diesel-based engines are more efficient than gasoline engines by 30%, from a miles per gallon aspect. With diesel, you can go farther than gasoline considering the vehicles have the same size and weight. Diesels have decent fuel economy and better idling characteristic than gas. But this can easily be compensated by the diesel price, which is more costly than gas. In addition, diesel engines face challenges in fall and winter season because starting the engine requires assistance from fuel additives or block heaters. Gasoline has higher horsepower but diesel delivers more powerful torque.
Diesel requires stronger, heavier parts due to its higher engine torque. Making it more costly are routine maintenance tasks such as selective catalytic reduction, emission system, turbocharging, and other dynamics. It takes a longer downtime for maintenance with diesel. Replacement parts for diesel engine are also relatively expensive, as much as three times higher than gasoline. On the other hand, gasoline engine maintenance is more frequent that diesel by 50%. If you find maintenance as additional workload or too much of a hassle you should considering leasing as an option.
When it comes to durability and longevity, diesel lasts longer than gasoline. Diesel engines are manufactured to last up to more than half a million miles. For example, a gasoline-based engine like the one in Isuzu’s NPR can run for 200,000 miles while the diesel counterpart can go for 300,000 miles. Although several factors can play into this like mechanic training, maintenance facility, driver attitude, work demand, and environment.
Diesel was long known as a dirty fuel mainly because of its emission of certain particulates and nitrogen oxide. Not today; new innovations and technology have made diesel a lot cleaner. Manufacturers now include additives to make the burn cleaner and leave less residue in the engine.
Gas injection systems require specialized knowledge to properly maintain an engine, while diesels need systems for emission control and turbocharging low-sulfur fuels. They are known to be expensive and require extra care due to failures in heat-generation.
At the end of the day, when you find your unit not as productive or useful for your business as it used to be, you can make the decision to sell it off. When it comes to that decision, you are better off with diesel vehicles because they have higher resale values. Remarketing value for diesel is higher compared to gasoline because 1) supply is limited, 2) smaller business can’t afford a brand-new diesel vehicle. Disposing a unit can be tricky but rewarding if done correctly. It is important to know the end game of a unit before purchasing. Rather than having it idle and occupying space in your garage, you can recuperate some of your money back.
As a fleet manager, there are a number of factors to consider between gasoline and diesel. They both have advantages and setbacks. It depends on your use and the purpose of your fleet. There will come a day where the choice will not be between these two. Innovations and technologies like e-vehicles are catching up fast!