If you’re considering buying a food truck, one of the big factors you need to examine is the engine that powers your mobile food business. In today’s food truck market you have two choices…diesel engines and gasoline engines. Today we’ll look at the pros and cons of diesel powered vehicles. Consider these facts to help you decide between food trucks with diesel engines and those powered by gasoline.

The Pros And Cons Of Diesel Engines


  • Diesel engines get better mileage than gasoline powered trucks. They typically deliver 25 to 30 percent better fuel economy than similarly performing gasoline engines. Diesel engines also can deliver as much or more fuel economy than traditional gasoline engines.
  • Diesel fuel is one of the most efficient and energy dense fuels available today. Because it contains more usable energy than gasoline, it delivers better fuel economy.
  • Diesel engines have no spark plugs or distributors(however they do have glow plugs). Therefore, they never need ignition tune-ups.
  • Diesel engines are built stronger to withstand the higher compression needed. Because of this diesel engines usually go much longer than gasoline engines before they require major repairs. Many diesel powered step vans clock more than 600,000 miles before they need their first major overhaul.
  • Because of the way it burns fuel, these engines provide far more torque to the drive-shaft than gasoline engines. As a result, diesel engines can handle moving around heavy kitchens while still delivering better fuel economy.

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  • Although diesel fuel used to be much cheaper than gasoline, it now often costs the same amount or more. Diesel fuel is also used for commercial trucks, portable generators, and heating oil, so as demand for diesel vehicles grows, the price of diesel fuel is likely to continue to rise because of competition from those other users.
  • Although diesel fuel is considered more efficient because it converts heat into energy rather than sending the heat out the tailpipe as gasoline engines do, it doesn’t result in high speed performance.
  • Diesel engines still need regular maintenance to keep them running. You have to change the oil and the air, oil, and fuel filters. Cleaner diesel fuels no longer require you to bleed excess water out of the system, but many vehicles still have water separators that need to be emptied manually.
  • If you neglect the maintenance and the fuel injection system breaks down, you may have to pay a diesel mechanic more money to get things fixed than you would to repair a gasoline system.

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The Bottom Line

Diesel technology is constantly being improved by commercial truck manufactures. The US government has pressured manufacturers to produce low-emission diesel engines for commercial trucks and buses. This has resulted not only in low-sulfur diesel fuels but also specialized catalytic converters, advanced filters, and other devices to cut down or destroy toxic emissions.

Do you have additional pros or cons to purchasing a vehicle for your future food truck with a diesel engine? We’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comment section our food truck forum or social media. Facebook | Twitter

RELATED: Keep Your Diesel Food Truck Purring Like A Kitten