Which is better: diesel or gasoline?

When it comes to buying a car, choosing a gasoline or diesel engine is one of the big questions that arise. Something that has not changed over time, thanks to the improvement of both technologies in terms of consumption and pollution.

The acquisition of a vehicle is one of those decisions that should be evaluated in detail, in order to find the ideal car for us. In this approach, various aspects come into play, such as the style of that car, the number of seats or the power it has. However, one of the most important decisions has to do with the engine and whether it is convenient for us to buy a diesel or gasoline car.

This decision influences economic aspects, such as fuel costs or vehicle maintenance, but also others that affect driving, such as the response that these engines generate when driving. However, today the matter is more economic than sensation, thanks to what the new generations of engines put at our fingertips.

To make it easier to decide what is best for you, we leave you with the essential information to make a correct decision and learn more about the difference between diesel and gasoline, as far as the engine of your future car is concerned.

gasoline cars

When choosing a vehicle, the first option is gasoline engines. These vehicles consume a fuel derived from petroleum, generally with 95 octane and whose processing and use is somewhat more complex than that of the diesel engine. Specifically, gasoline engines work on a four-stroke cycle. The first injects fuel and air into the circuit, the second compresses the mixture, the third explodes that mixture through a spark, and the fourth transfers the motion to the crankshaft, allowing the vehicle to move.

This system has been greatly improved in recent times, through high-capacity and fuel-saving injection systems, while offering more power through higher compression. The proof is found in vehicles such as the 2019 Nissan Micra. This vehicle has a liter of displacement and a power of 100 horses, with a consumption of just 4.5 liters per hundred kilometers. Enough to be a firm candidate for the best gasoline engine of the moment due to its low consumption.

Regarding its durability, the average life of a gasoline engine is estimated at 250,000 kilometers, with proper maintenance. This autonomy is reduced to 200,000 kilometers, if it is not maintained as it should. However, serious problems with compression do not appear until 500,000 kilometers, which are the maximum kilometers for a gasoline car before the most serious problems appear.

diesel cars

The other contender in this battle is diesel cars. If we look at pure figures, the cars that consume little are usually all diesel, with few exceptions. With the exception of the gasoline Nissan Micra that we mentioned before, it is easy to find many vehicles capable of offering consumption below five liters per hundred and even around 4 liters per 100, as is the case with the Citroen C3 Aircross. Therefore, the fight for the title of best current diesel engine is quite close.

In a diesel engine, the operation changes. In this case, a spark is not required, but the fuel is injected in high atomisation into a chamber containing hot air. This generates a process called self-combustion, which causes the ignition and degradation of the fuel. A simpler process than that of gasoline and which is an advantage when considering these engines. Something that translates into fewer breakdowns, due to the greater simplicity of fuel processing. However, some of these breakdowns can be considerably more expensive, so preventative maintenance is key.

What to choose

To assess whether a gasoline car or a diesel car is economically better for us, we have three main aspects to assess. The first has to do with fuel consumption. In this section, you will have to make some numbers regarding the mileage that you plan to do to the car, the key data in this election.

On the internet you can find hundreds of comparisons in this regard, although the best one is the one you do yourself. It is enough to estimate the mileage to be covered, the current price of diesel and gasoline and the consumption of the chosen vehicles. With these data, we calculate the difference in fuel cost per 100 kilometers and thus see how many kilometers you must travel to compensate for the extra cost that a diesel car has over gasoline. Let’s see a practical example with a Seat Ibiza 1.4.

Gasoline price: €1,177 Diesel price: €1,052

Gasoline consumption: 6.4 liters / 100 kms Diesel consumption: 4.6 liters / 100 kms

Cost 100 Kms gasoline: 7.49 Cost 100 Kms diesel: €4.84

Difference : €2.65 at 100 kms

With these calculations, we see that for every 100 km we save 2.65 euros in a diesel engine compared to a gasoline engine. It would be necessary to see the difference in price between the diesel and gasoline version of the vehicle, to see how many kilometers we should do to amortize it and if it is adequate. If we talk about a difference of 1,500 euros, for example, we would see how 56,600 kilometers or more would be necessary to amortize the difference and start saving money.

However, these costs must also take into account maintenance. Although a diesel engine and a gasoline engine share elements such as air filters, air conditioning filters or oil filters, there are other elements that change. In general, gasoline costs are lower than those of a diesel. For example, heaters are more expensive than spark plugs, without forgetting also that the diesel engine includes a fuel filter, which the gasoline car does not use. As a reference, the saving has been 20% in the gasoline car compared to diesel.

The last aspect has to do with the residual value of the vehicle, which we can also call resale value. The idea is to estimate the price of the car after a certain time, when you want to exchange it for another. In this case, diesel engines win with a note, which retain a higher value over time. If you join these three elements, you will be able to evaluate if it really suits you to buy a diesel or gasoline.

By the way, everything we have discussed is applicable to vehicles, but not to other objects where this dilemma arises. Among them, we have garden tools, where we can find gasoline or diesel hedge trimmers, lawnmowers and saws, which also have versions to use both fuels. In this case, there are other parameters that must be evaluated when choosing, such as power or price, among others.

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