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Diesel vs. Gasoline: know the differences (there are more than 5)

Whenever you think about buying a car, you must ask yourself about the fuel type — whether you should choose diesel or gasoline. These days, the question’s already another (even more complex) one: “should I choose a fuel car or an electric one?”.

There are many 100% electric models that manufacturers have been launching. But despite all this betting for a more sustainable and ecological future, not everything is so simple. As a matter of fact, the prices of these vehicles are still high and not very accessible to some wallets.

Cars powered by traditional fuels (diesel or gasoline) are still in great demand, so they’ll continue to circulate for several years. Still, that doesn’t make the buying decision any simpler.

So if you’re thinking about buying a new vehicle, it’s essential to know the differences between diesel and gasoline cars. But don’t stop there. Also, find out the differences between engines and the advantages and disadvantages of each fuel.

By the end of this article, the decision will — as we hope — be more effortless.

Close up of a fuel hose filling up a car

Diesel cars vs. gasoline cars: the complete comparison

Diesel (or petrol) and gasoline cars operate identically. Both move thanks to an engine, which uses these two fuel types. Therefore, the mechanism and the way of functioning are pretty much the same.

But there are differences.

For example, petrol-powered cars are slightly more economical in fuel consumption. Still, on the other hand, they’re more expensive at the time of purchase — compared to gasoline-powered vehicles.

On the other hand, it’s possible to make an easier choice between diesel or gasoline cars: if you drive a lot of kilometers a day, then diesel is the better choice for you.

However, if you use the car for shorter trips and hardly ever make long journeys, gasoline is the right choice. But there are more factors to take into account when deciding.

Discover below the 6 differences between petrol cars and gasoline cars.

Read also: 10 Myths about cars: Part 1

1. Power

The performance of petrol and gasoline engines is measured by power output. In petrol (or diesel) cars, power is measured by how strong the torque is. On the other hand, power in gasoline cars is measured by horsepower. Basically, it’s this what helps the vehicle reach high speeds.

Diesel cars perform better in this field, especially when we talk about performance and long distances. In other words, this means that diesel cars tend to maintain a good level of power in the long run.

But if we talk about speed in addition to power, the choice undoubtedly falls on gasoline cars. A vehicle powered by this fuel achieves more speed, more quickly. This is why it’s said that torque is gradual and horsepower is more sudden.

2. Pollution

Car pollution is a hot topic these days, and many drivers are opting for a more environmentally friendly alternative.

The truth is that diesel pollutes more than gasoline. Gasoline has a lower sulfur content in its composition — this means that gasoline vehicles pollute less.

3. Durability

The engine’s durability is paramount when making a choice. When it comes to choosing between petrol or gasoline, you need to do the math.

While gasoline cars can show some wear and tear — between 150 and 200 thousand kilometers — diesel cars are more reliable thanks to their manufacture.

Some car brands can even produce vehicles that reach more than 500.000 kilometers — like Toyota or Mercedes.

4. Noise

When it comes to the famous noise pollution, diesel cars take first place, and all because of the way they’re built.

Diesel cars are ignited by compression. This compression causes increased pressure in the combustion chamber, making a louder noise. Because they have a different construction logic, the ignition of gasoline engines makes less noise.

5. Price

When we talk about the differences between petrol and gasoline cars, we cannot ignore the price. This is, without a doubt, an essential factor when the time comes to decide. But we can already tell you that petrol cars are more expensive. The difference is around €5.000 (on average).

Fuel station

6. Efficiency

It all depends on the distances traveled. For longer distances, diesel cars are more efficient than gasoline cars. These vehicles can use 15 to 20% less fuel. And if you talk about distances, you have to talk about the price of the fuel itself — historically, petrol’s price is lower than gasoline’s. However, when we speak about shorter distances (as with city driving), the difference between the two fuel types reduces.

Diesel or gasoline: which one to choose?

Are you buying a car? Well, this is a crucial moment.

But the question that arises at that point is: will you choose a diesel or a gasoline engine? The best thing you can do is compare the advantages and disadvantages of the two fuels. And we can help you do that.

Petrol’s pros

  • Consumption levels are lower;
  • Acceleration is more immediate;
  • There’s more torque at low revs.

Petrol’s cons

  • The price is close to gasoline’s, and expected to go up;
  • The purchase value is frankly higher;
  • The engine makes more noise;
  • It’s much more polluting.

Read also: Turbo: what is and how to protect

Gasoline pros

  • The purchase value is lower;
  • Gasoline pollutes less;
  • The engines make less noise;
  • Maintenance is cheaper.

Gasoline cons

  • It’s more expensive;
  • The engines last less;
  • Consumption levels are higher;
  • They depreciate more quickly (if you want to sell the vehicle).

There are several points to consider when making a choice.

The truth is that diesel cars lead the sales. Only in 2019 did gasoline vehicles overtake their competitors. The Associação Automóvel de Portugal (ACAP) goes further and indicates that in 2018, gasoline cars were already gaining ground.

But let’s not forget the new player in the world market: alternative energy vehicles, such as electric, hybrid, and plug- in hybrids. More and more people prefer these types of cars.

The ultimate decision: diesel vs gasoline?

It depends. It really does.

The decision will always depend on your driving style, preferences, the kilometers you drive, and the budget you have available for the car purchase.