Gasoline and diesel engines are the most widely used types of internal combustion engines. These engines are found in a variety of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and buses, as well as in many industrial and agricultural applications. Our experts at Apple Ford of York can help explain the advantages and disadvantages of gasoline and diesel engines, as well as the different ways in which they are used. Read on to learn more!

What Is A Diesel Engine?

person working on an engine in York, PA

A diesel engine is an internal combustion engine that uses diesel fuel to produce power. The diesel engine works using compression ignition, often shortened to CI. Unlike a gasoline engine, which uses a spark to ignite the fuel, a diesel engine compresses the air in the cylinder to such a high degree that the fuel injected into the cylinder ignites spontaneously.

Why Do Diesel Engines Sound Different?

The diesel engine has a cylinder, piston, and crankshaft, like a gasoline engine; however, the way the fuel is ignited in a diesel engine is different. This difference in the ignition cycle is where diesel engines get their distinct sound.

How Does A Diesel Engine Work?

In diesel engines, fuel is added to the cylinder towards the top of the compression stroke, where the air has reached a high enough pressure and temperature to ignite the fuel. Diesel l is added into the cylinder with an injector controlled by the engine's computer, or ECU.

As the fuel ignites and burns it creates a small, controlled, explosion and pushes the piston downward, turning the crankshaft and providing power to the vehicle. The exhaust gases are then expelled through the exhaust system.

Uses for Diesel Engines

Diesel engines are commonly used in heavy-duty vehicles, such as trucks, buses, and construction equipment, because of their ability to generate a lot of torque at low RPMs. They are also used in some passenger vehicles, such as sedans and SUVs

Diesel engines are also typically more efficient than gasoline engines and are known for their durability and longevity. However, they also tend to be noisier and produce more emissions, which has led to stricter emissions standards for diesel vehicles in recent years.

Benefits of a Diesel

There are several potential benefits to choosing a diesel engine over a gasoline engine. Some of the main advantages include the following:

Fuel efficiency

Diesels are generally more fuel efficient than gasoline engines. The higher energy density of diesel fuel combined with a more efficient combustion process means they can potentially save you money on fuel costs in the long run.


Diesel engines tend to have more torque, which is the measure of rotational force, at low RPMs than gasoline engines. This can make them feel more powerful and responsive, especially when towing or hauling heavy loads.


Diesel-powered engines are often built with sturdier components and are designed to withstand the higher compression ratios that are necessary for diesel fuel to ignite. As a result, they can potentially be more durable and last longer than gasoline engines.

Multiple fuel options

Because diesels have a different engine cycle than gas engines they can use a variety of fuels like used vegetable oil or animal fats in a pinch.

It is worth noting that diesel fuel can be more expensive than gasoline in some areas, and diesel engines may also require more frequent maintenance. As a result, it is important to consider all of the factors before deciding which type of engine is the best fit for your needs. At Apple Ford of York, our knowledgeable client advisors and service department pros can answer your questions & help you decide.

What Is A Gasoline Engine?

A gasoline engine, or gas engine, is a type of internal combustion engine (ICE) that runs on a blend of refined crude oil, petroleum, and other additives we all know as gasoline. Gasoline engines work by compressing a mixture of fuel and air in a cylinder, which is then ignited by a spark plug. The ignition of the fuel causes a small explosion, which pushes a piston down and generates power.

Gas Engine Cycle


During the intake stroke, the pistons move down, allowing an intake valve at the top of the cylinder to open, drawing air and fuel into the cylinder. The ratio of air to fuel is often regulated by injectors controlled by the engine control unit, or ECU. While most gasoline engines have an ECU, many classic cars and small engines use a carburetor to control the mix of air and fuel.


During the compression process, pistons move back up and compress the air and fuel mixture. The compressed mixture is then ignited by a spark from the spark plug, which creates an explosion inside the cylinder.


A high-pressure force is generated by igniting the compressed air and fuel mixture pushing the piston down and creating rotational movement in the crankshaft. This rotation is then sent through various parts of your vehicle eventually making its way to the wheels, turning them.


The piston moves back up, and an exhaust valve opens, allowing the exhaust to be expelled from the cylinder.

This cycle repeats continuously as long as the engine is running. The timing and duration of these events are controlled by the camshaft, which is linked to the crankshaft and controls the opening and closing of the valves.

Benefits and Uses of Gasoline Engines

Gasoline engines are commonly used in passenger vehicles, such as cars, trucks, and SUVs. They are also used in some small aircraft, boats, and other types of equipment. One of the main advantages of gasoline engines is that they are relatively simple and inexpensive to manufacture, which makes them a popular choice for a wide range of applications. They are also generally lighter than diesel engines, although they may not produce as much torque at low RPMs.

There are several potential benefits to choosing a gasoline engine over a diesel engine. Some of the main advantages include the following:


Gasoline engines tend to be less expensive to manufacture than diesel engines, especially when factoring in the added cost of diesel emission monitoring equipment, making them a more affordable option for some consumers.


Gasoline engines may require less frequent maintenance than diesel engines, which can save you time and money in the long run. Modern diesel engines require Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF), diesel particulate filters (DPF), and other emission control systems to operate normally, adding to your maintenance costs.


Gasoline engines can potentially provide a smoother and more refined driving experience, with a higher redline and a more responsive accelerator. This means that gasoline engines can accelerate more quickly and reach higher top speeds than diesel engines.


Gasoline engines are generally lighter than diesel engines, which can make a vehicle more fuel efficient and easier to handle. They are typically made from aluminum while diesel engines are made from cast iron, which is a heavier metal.

Test Out Both At Apple Ford of York

Gasoline and diesel engines are both great options for powering vehicles, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks. Ultimately, the choice between gasoline and diesel engines will depend on your unique needs and preferences. 

As you consider your options, we invite you to browse our inventory online. We have an expansive inventory of vehicles loaded with features you’ll love at great prices. If you prefer to check out our lineup in person, you can visit our Ford dealership in York, PA, at your convenience. Our knowledgeable client advisors will answer your questions and let you take your preferred vehicle for a spin.

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