The gasoline vs. diesel car debate has been an ongoing discussion among many drivers because there are so many factors to consider. It’s not just like buying coffee somewhere and deciding if you want it “here” or “to go”. It can be considerably more complicated than that. Both have their strengths and weaknesses, so you really have to carefully weigh them up before you make your decision.

So, which is better: a diesel or gasoline car? Allow us to help you decide which is best for your lifestyle.

Running costs

Diesel actually can help you save more because it has superior fuel economy, durability, and heavy-duty construction. Keep in mind that diesel fuel is more expensive than gasoline cars because they’re manufactured to withstand the stress of high-compression diesel combustion. What’s more, manufacturers also need to add better technology like turbochargers and exhaust treatment to improve the car’s performance and air emissions.

Also, hidden maintenance costs like liquid after-treatment of the exhaust to decrease particulate emissions may add up to your expenses.

So does that mean you should ditch diesel cars and opt for gasoline? Not necessarily. Diesel cars need less servicing compared to gas, so the costs even out eventually.

So when should you buy a gas car? If you’re the type of person who does a lot of short trips, like going to the mall or driving your kids to school, then choose a gas-powered car. Why? Newer diesel cars have diesel particulate filters designed to help decrease soot emissions. These filters can get clogged if they’re they’re not driven at higher speeds.

So unless your car automatically cleans these filters out for you, or you drive fast from time to time, then choose diesel. Our advice is to first check with your dealer if the car has a diesel particulate filter and an automatic cleaner. If not, then make sure to drive fast on motorways to clear these filters out. Or you can just opt for gas if you don’t do a lot of long traveling.

Performance

Another factor to consider in the diesel vs gasoline cars comparison is performance. Cars that run on diesel are notorious for their endurance. In fact, every car that won in the famous car races since 2006 ran on diesel. Name it — from Audi’s R18 E-Tron to Peugeot’s 908 HDI FAP — all these world-class cars scorched and burned diesel on their way to first place.

Here’s some trivia for you: Mercedes Benz, which runs on diesel, holds the world record for clocking in more than 900,000 miles using their engines. Talk about endurance!

The secret here is on how they’re built. Diesel shines best on trucks, SUVs, and cars where speed and endurance are your top two priorities in car. And as we’ve said earlier, diesel-engine vehicles are created to withstand the stress of high compression, so they can go much longer (than gas-powered vehicles) before they get their much-needed repair.

Now, if you’re not really into the whole endurance and “Need for Speed” kind of thing, then choose gas. The one weakness of diesel cars is that their engines are more technologically-advanced, so it’s they’re more expensive to repair than petrol.

Should you choose gas or diesel?

Resale value

There comes a point in your life when you may have to part with your car. And while you think it doesn’t matter whether your car runs on gas or diesel, you’ll actually have a much better chance of earning more when you sell your diesel car instead of your gas car.

A diesel vs gasoline comparison shows that diesel-powered engines have a better advantage when it comes to resale value. Bruce Belzowski, a managing director for Automotive Futures, revealed in his study that after three years of ownership, all resale values of their diesel cars list (except for the Mercedes E Class and the BMW X5 models) were 30-50 percent higher compared to gas-powered vehicles. This goes much higher for the medium-duty truck segment, with differences that reach up 60 to 70 percent. Here’s the result of their study:

One reason for this is that there are lesser diesel cars sold in the market today. Another reason is that cars that run on diesel, especially those that run on Turbocharged Direct Injection engines, have better resale values compared to gasoline. What’s more, diesel cars not only offer better fuel economy, but it also has better technology compared to gasoline cars.

A word of warning: this is only possible if you are consistent when it comes to maintaining your diesel car. You still need to change the oil together with the air and fuel filters from time to time.

Emissions

What about diesel vs. gasoline cars emissions? Which should you choose between the two?

Diesel cars were once notorious for its dirty emissions. In fact, anyone who was unlucky enough to drive behind a construction vehicle can tell you about the smell and soot that they produce. This is most especially true when they speed up from a dead stop.

The good news is that diesel cars now run more cleanly than they did before. In fact, many of these vehicles now meet the required emission rates set by the government. There are also more variations like bio-diesel, which is a good option if you only need a car with average engine performance.

Here's the downside: diesel emissions release nitrous oxides and carcinogens in the air, while gasoline cars produce significantly less--around 20 times less than a diesel car. This is because gas-powered cars have improved over the years, making significant innovations on their gas engine converters.

There are advantages and disadvantages when you buy a diesel or gasoline car. We've given you some guidelines for you to weigh carefully, and it's now up to you to decide which car is right for you. In the end, opting whether to buy gas or diesel cars will be a matter of personal choice, so make sure you choose well.