Ford F-250: Gas vs. Diesel

Make the best choice for your needs when buying a Ford F-250 or F-350 Super Duty.

By Pizzaman711 - October 30, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-250, F-350 Super Duty (2005-2014).

From price to sound to performance, gas and diesel trucks differ greatly. These trucks aren't cheap, so you want to get the one that best suits your needs. There's nothing worse than buying a gas truck and realizing you really needed a diesel, or visa versa. This article will compare the differences between the two in performance and maintenance, and answer some common questions about them.

Price

By a long shot, the gas version will be cheaper by about $8,500 when buying new. When buying used, the difference will still be there, and in most cases even greater. This is because diesel is a better value at higher mileage than gas. If you want the added capability of a diesel, you'll definitely pay for it. The average resale price for a 2013 regular F-250 gas truck is around $29,431, whereas its diesel counterpart goes for about $8,000 more.

Figure 1. Price is the most important factor to consider.

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MPG

On average a diesel will pull about 25-45% better MPG than a gas super duty, both unloaded and loaded, which equates to around 3-5 MPG. However, this shouldn't be the only deciding factor; you need to consider the higher initial cost and repair costs, too. It'll be a long time before the higher costs will offset the extra MPG.

Figure 2. MPG is a cost-related factor.

Hauling Capability

The towing capability of the diesel really shines considering the gooseneck hitch, which can be used to tow a travel or horse trailer, for example. Normal hauling in the bed and conventional towing will be about the same for both, because these two are limited by the frame and cab configuration. However, when it comes to the gooseneck, the diesel really takes the lead with the biggest difference being roughly 12k pounds between the gas and diesel.

Figure 3. Diesel trucks have greater hauling capabilities with a gooseneck hitch.

Reliability

On average, diesel trucks will outlast gas trucks by 100-200k miles or more when properly maintained. However, the cost of diesel maintenance can offset the cost of trading up on a gasser by a good bit. Also, the 6.0L diesels has quite a few expensive problems to fix, but when fixed they do run great. If you want to run the same truck for 500k+ miles, get a diesel. If you don't mind getting a different one after 250-300k, then gas should be an option, too.

Figure 4. Reliability is also a cost-related factor.

Scheduled Maintenance

Maintenance TypeApplies ToScheduled Interval (in miles)Average Professional Cost
Oil Change Gas 3-7k $30
Oil Change Diesel 5-7k $100
Fuel Filter Gas 10-15k $35
Fuel Filter Diesel 10k $45
Coolant Flush Gas 100k $150-250
Coolant Flush Diesel Initial at 100k, every 50k after $400-700

Common Questions

What's better, gas or diesel? Which one is right for me?

This is really dependent on both your use of the truck and your budget. You need to weigh the pros and cons of both and see which one fits your needs the best. Even if you only use the truck to haul light loads, some people just prefer the sound of the diesel more. Likewise, some people are fine with towing with the gas version even though the diesel would give them more headroom for bigger loads.

What are the pros and cons?

The table below gives a breakdown of some of the more common things you'll be looking for when purchasing a truck. The comparison will be based on a 2015 F-250 regular cab with the single rear wheel and base model options. However, the comparison should hold true across all trucks among the same year range with similar cab configurations.

Comparison ItemWhat's BetterBy How Much?
Price Gas ~$8500
Normal Driving MPG Diesel ~3-5 MPG
Towing MPG Diesel ~3-5 MPG
Max Payload Tie N/A
Max Conventional Towing Tie N/A
Max 5th Wheel Towing Diesel ~4000 lbs.
Horsepower Diesel 55 HP
Torque Diesel 455 lb-ft.
Reliability Diesel 100-200k+ miles
Maintenance Cost Gas About 50-70% less on average
Warranty Diesel Extra 40k miles added to the 5 year warranty

Common Issues

Diesel - 6.0L

  • TTY Headbolts - Prone to stretching due to being designed as a one time use, can cause head gasket failure.
  • EGR & EGR Cooler - Prone to failure due to excessive soot buildup, needs to be cleaned every oil change to prevent buildup.
  • Oil Cooler - Residual sand left from the casting process can cause it to clog up.
  • FICM - Premature failure due to engine heat and vibration
  • Turbocharger Lag - The VGT vanes get clogged with soot causing it to get stuck in the open position.

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