"Gasoline or diesel?" It's often the first choice a fleet manager runs into when purchasing new commercial vehicles. If you're a fleet manager in the market for used commercial vehicles, the choice between diesel and gas engines could have a significant impact on your company. The following describes some of the advantages and disadvantages of choosing diesel or gasoline power for your next commercial vehicle.
Choosing Diesel Engines
In recent years, diesel engines have been the prime choice for many a commercial fleet thanks to several key factors: better torque, increased longevity and better fuel economy.
Thanks to fundamental differences in how diesel and gas engines burn their fuels, diesel engines are able to produce higher amounts of torque at lower RPMs than most gas engines. This makes diesel engines ideal for commercial vehicles that are designed for pulling and/or hauling heavy loads and traveling up steep grades and hilly terrain.
Diesel engines also tend to be longer-lived than similar gas engines. The compression-ignition cycle of a typical diesel engine demands components that are specifically designed to handle the increased stresses created by the higher compression ratio. It also helps that diesel fuel is a better lubricant than gasoline, allowing it to reduce wear and tear on piston rings, cylinder walls and other components. As a result, it's not uncommon for commercial diesel engines to reach 1,000,000 miles before requiring a rebuild.
Diesel engines have traditionally held the advantage when it comes to fuel efficiency. The U.S. Department of Energy notes that a diesel vehicle can get up to 35 percent better fuel economy than a similar gas-powered vehicle. For fleets in need of heavy hauling vehicles, the increased fuel efficiency could net tremendous savings in your fuel budget.
Choosing Gasoline Engines
Cost has traditionally been a major factor in choosing gasoline engines for commercial vehicle fleets. For instance, gas-powered vehicles tend to have lower MSRPs than their diesel counterparts when new. Factor in depreciation and this often translates to greater savings in the used commercial vehicle market. The lower initial purchase price could play a big role in influencing your commercial fleet choice.
Gas engines might not have the sheer strength or longevity of their diesel counterparts, but they do make up for those traits in the form of lower maintenance costs. Not only do most gas engine components cost less than similar parts designed for diesel engines, but the labor costs are usually lower.
On the other hand, the lower short and long-term costs of gas engine maintenance could be offset by shorter replacement intervals, especially if the vehicle is closer to the end of its serviceable life than expected. Knowing the previous maintenance history of your potential purchase can be a big help in choosing the right vehicle.
Diesel fuel itself doesn't come cheap in spite of offering better fuel efficiency. The average cost-per-gallon for diesel fuel has remained historically higher than that of gasoline, largely due to strong commercial demand and occasionally constrained supplies. For this reason, it's important to consider how you use your commercial fleet – diesel fuel packs a solid punch for heavy haulage, but the lower overall cost of gasoline often makes operating gas-powered fleets less expensive, even with a slight reduction in fuel economy.
In addition to the above, there are also several other factors that will have an impact on your ultimate purchasing decision:
- Your current fleet – If you already have a fleet of diesel vehicles, it may not make sense to add gas vehicles to the mix unless those vehicles are simply not available with similar diesel powerplants.
- Your operating budget – Your overall budget for purchasing and maintaining your commercial fleet could also impact your vehicle choices.
- Maintenance experience – It's important to consider how much experience your repair staff has with gas or diesel engines.
- Life cycle – Life cycles can also impact your engine choices. For instance, government fleets are often replaced on a fixed schedule, whereas many privately-owned fleets keep their vehicles for as long as possible.
- Resale value – Traditionally, diesel vehicles have enjoyed higher resale values than their gas-powered counterparts. The ability to recoup part of the premium should also factor into your purchasing decision.
Keeping these considerations in mind can help you make the best possible choice for your commercial vehicle fleet from a company like http://www.arrowtruck.com/.