Lawn Care Truck Engine Choices
Here are some engine tips to consider when assessing your truck needs:
1) Truck Cost
A lawn care box truck with a gasoline engine will be cheaper to purchase vs. the cost to purchase the same type of truck with a diesel engine. The difference in cost between gas and diesel has increased in recent years primarily due to increased technologies used to make diesel engines more emissions friendly and meet Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations.
While the initial purchase of a gasoline powered truck is lower, if the truck is projected to see miles driven above the generally accepted yearly benchmark of 30,000 miles then the upfront cost associated with buying a diesel could be a viable choice for your business in terms of fuel cost savings. A fuel cost analysis should be performed to project if your business will see a cost savings over a specific timeframe by choosing diesel vs. gasoline power. If your business is projected to drive the truck below 30,000 miles a year then gasoline is a good lower cost option.
This is where the diesel engine has an advantage over gasoline. The amount of energy created during the combustion process using diesel fuel is greater than that of gasoline. It takes less diesel fuel to generate power than gasoline to obtain the same power output; this results in better fuel economy. The diesel engine in mechanically sound condition can typically provide an increase in fuel economy because of its robust design and leaner burning capabilities. Many owners may see a range of 10%-30% in increased fuel efficiency by choosing diesel power.
3) Engine Life
Both engine designs will perform well if properly maintained throughout their service life. Technological advancements have allowed manufacturers to build engines with longer service life than in previous decades due to better materials and manufacturing processes. Diesel engines have increased longevity over a gasoline engine due to the beefier parts used to withstand higher compression ratios and cylinder pressure that is inherent in the design of the diesel engine. The diesel engine provides the majority of its power/torque in a lower RPM range than the typical gas engine, this lower RPM range means parts aren’t moving around at such a high speed as in gas engines which can translates into longer service life. But, as with all things mechanical it is so important to adhere at a minimum the service intervals specified by the engine manufacturer. Regular maintenance of the fluids (engine oil and coolant) protecting your engine choice is the first step to ensuring the engine will perform properly for your business and do the job as expected.
4) Fuel cost
For years it has remained a constant when visiting the fuel pump, diesel fuel per gallon costs more than gasoline. This cost may be attributed to elevated refining production costs and stringent procedures put in place to address environmental concerns with regards to the properties of diesel fuel and its byproducts. It is also a function of the readily available supply of diesel compared to actual demand seen in the marketplace for diesel.
Gasoline power is the winner in this area if you’re driving shorter distances; it has great availability for the consumer and costs less. Gasoline is everywhere, but diesel can be harder to find in some areas. If you’re driving greater distances, the difference in fuel cost may be justified for your business by going with diesel power due to the efficiency of the diesel engine. This is for you to determine exactly how you intend to use the vehicle in your specific lawn care business model.
5) Engine Maintenance
Diesel engines generally cost more to maintain over their useful life due to greater fluid capacities and multiple filters that need to be replaced more frequently during regular service intervals.
The diesel engine has parts not found on a gasoline engine and those items require regular service which adds cost. With diesel engines, the water separator filter and fuel filters need to be changed more frequently on a diesel engine for reliable performance which increases cost.
The gasoline engine generally costs less to maintain over time with less fluid and filter capacity than their diesel counterpart. If proper maintenance is neglected on a gasoline or diesel engine, increased repair costs due to lack of maintenance can become a reality resulting in diminished reliability of the engine to perform its job.
If you plan on hauling or towing very heavy loads of equipment, the diesel engine would be a great choice. The diesel engine delivers its torque/power down low in the RPM range for moving heavy loads with relative ease compared to a similarly sized gasoline engine.
The gasoline engine would have to work harder moving the same heavy loads thus accelerating engine wear and burning more fuel. A thorough examination of the work expectations of a truck should be considered when making a decision on which type of power plant to choose for your lawn care business.
7) Selling the Truck
The diesel truck will typically have more resale value in the market than the gas truck due to the notion that the diesel truck has increased longevity/useful service life than a gas powered truck when mileage on the odometer is similar. The diesel powered truck will have more useful service life left at a certain mileage point than its gas powered counterpart of the same vintage.
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