Diesel vs Gas: Which one Should You Choose for your Motorhome?

by | Nov 16, 2020 | RV Buyer's Guide

When you think about buying an RV, there are so many factors to consider. What manufacturer will you choose? What class of RV do you need? What’s my budget? These are all great questions to ask yourself, but here’s one you probably haven’t thought about yet: Do I need a diesel or gas motorhome?

Below, we go over some things to consider before choosing a gas or diesel motorhome, and we answer a few questions to ask yourself before deciding.

Compare Fairly

Before you start thinking about whether you want a diesel or gas rig, be sure you’re comparing the same types of RV classes. Whether you’re looking for a Class A motorhome or a smaller Class C, you must compare rigs from the same category.

For example, it doesn’t make sense to compare a Class A to a Class C, because their specs are going to look so different and hardly comparable. Find similar motorhomes to compare, then look closer at the specs and what’s under the hood.


Upfront, RVs and motorhomes that use diesel are usually going to cost a bit more. They have a heartier build under the hood, and diesel RVs also come with emissions-control features and a few other things that increase the initial price.

However, it may make a difference to some that diesel prices are lower. To consider overall costs, think about the initial price of the rig, and the constant costs – like fuel – to determine a more accurate cost.

Choosing Between Gas and Diesel Motorhomes

Because manufacturers often put so many different makes, models, sizes, and RV types out there for us to choose from, it’s often difficult to settle on one RV. Here are some questions

Where Do You Plan on Going?

If you plan to travel to remote, off-the-grid campsites, a diesel motorhome will give you the power you need for that terrain. However, something like a Class A diesel pusher might not make it through narrow roads as easily as a smaller gas fueled RV.

What About Maintenance?

All of us want to keep our motorhomes running on the road as long as possible. For this to happen, oil changes, engine checkups, and other inspections need to be regularly maintained. Diesel engines usually need fewer trips to the shop, so you might be able to squeeze in longer trips with a diesel. There’s also the chance you’ll need emergency repairs on the road, so it’s a good idea to consider preventative measures.

The option of travel trailers should be noted here because one of these might suit you better than a motorhome. You can pair a travel trailer with the vehicle you already have if it’s large enough. There are pros and cons to all RV types, but thinking about where you’ll be going is a vital part of the purchasing process.

How Often Do You Mind Stopping for Fuel?

If you plan to drive long stretches of time without stopping, a diesel motorhome might suit you. However, if you’re traveling with children or pets, they need exercise and to stretch their legs. (And there’s probably multiple snack stops and bathroom breaks!) If this is you, you might not mind filling up if you’re already stopping anyway.

What About Size?

The amenities in your RV will determine its size. If you want to bring all the luxurious amenities with you, like a bathroom, complete wardrobe and shower, you’ll have quite a few limitations when trying to find a campground to park in or traveling on narrow back roads.

To conclude, here are a few of the man differences between gas and diesel motorhomes:

  • Diesel motorhomes have higher fuel prices but better fuel efficiency
  • You’ll get farther before having to fill up
  • Diesel rigs are usually more expensive, but you’ll have fewer trips to the maintenance shop
  • The cost is normally higher on diesel motorhomes, but it’s offset by a higher resale value

What matters the most is you finding out what best fits your current needs. Your choice ranges on several factors, and it often comes down to what you personally prefer. It’s about where you plan to take your motorhome, for how long, and the distance in which you plan to travel. The good news? There’s always an RV or motorhome out there for you – just waiting to take you along your next adventure.

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