Gas vs. Diesel:  What are the pros and cons?

Are you getting ready to purchase a Mobile Clinic, and can’t decide which chassis platform to use? Here is a brief comparison.

On average the diesel chassis will cost $30K—to $40K more than the gasoline chassis platform. This cost difference is due to a heavier engine block and a transmission that is designed to handle higher torque output. Also, the emission control equipment required on the diesel chassis adds to the overall cost. The diesel chassis makes sense if you plan to put a lot of miles on it, and plan to keep it for many years to come. Many times, this decision is based upon budget. If you have a budget that will cover the cost of the diesel chassis, then I would recommend the diesel chassis platform.

Fuel Economy:gas or dieselIt is estimated that diesel engines deliver 40% better fuel economy. However, this gap is narrowing. One advantage to gas is the availability at every fuel station.

Long Term maintenance advantage goes to diesel engines, which require up to 5 times fewer oil changes and have 50% fewer parts to maintain and replace. Short Term maintenance advantage goes to gasoline engines, which have an advantage due to extended service intervals on spark plugs, engine oil and antifreeze.

Government regulations are strict for both gas and diesel engines. Both EPA and CARB have issued strict emission control requirements on diesel engines. These engines have particulate filters and urea injection systems. The urea injection system requires Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF). The DEF is stored in a separate tank and refilled as needed. The emission control systems do add to the overall cost of the diesel chassis.

Durability:gas or diesel 2
The average gasoline engine has a duty cycle of around 200,000 miles; the average diesel engine has a duty cycle of around 300,000 miles. Gas engine exhaust is more corrosive than diesel engine exhaust, which means the diesel engine exhaust system will outlast the gas engine exhaust system. Vehicles with diesel engines often command higher resale value.

Other factors to consider when deciding between a gasoline chassis platform or a diesel chassis platform for your new Mobile Clinic include:

Generator: The 12 KW Onan Quiet diesel generator is sound dampened and much quieter than the gas generator option. To review the generator options, please visit

Wheelbase: The gasoline chassis has limited wheelbases, and restricts us from building over 37’.

Payload: The gasoline chassis is lighter weight, which allows more payload capacity. There are many factors to consider when deciding between a gas or diesel chassis, but the bottom line is usually the cost. These comparisons can apply to any Mobile Specialty Vehicle purchase decision.

Links to see the various chassis platforms we use:

F-53 Model:

                   Diesel Chassis Mobile Clinic                                             Gas Chassis Mobile Clinic

diesel mobile health vehicle

 gas mobile health vehicle

Blog Author: Mary Hall - Universal Specialty Vehicles Inc.