Q: I am considering buying a new ¾ ton truck but don’t know if I should get one with a diesel engine or a gasoline engine. What are the main differences between the two types of engines?
A: A diesel engine is a compression ignition engine while a gasoline engine is a spark ignition engine. Diesels do not have spark plugs to ignite the fuel, resulting in lower maintenance costs. Even though gasoline engines usually produce higher horsepower, diesels turn out more torque. Torque is crucial for pulling. If the truck is used to tow or haul heavy loads, a diesel may be the better choice. Diesel engines are more fuel efficient and have a longer life, but tend to initially cost significantly more than gas engines. Gasoline engines start better in cold weather. Even though both types of engines produce pollutants, diesel engines emit more particulate matter (i.e., small airborne particles) that can damage the lungs.