What to take: Diesel or Gasoline engine for a worldtrip?

4x4tripping

Adventurer


I travelled over 70`000miles around the world with a V8 Diesel I bought new in 2011. People are asking me whether I would choose gasoline over diesel again for a trip around the world based on my knowledge as of today.

This is in times where many countries forbid older diesel engines in larger cities. Smaller engines and car exhaust gas cleaning systems may have an impact on the reliability on fuel with less quality. And in times where the electric / hybrid cars still aren`t an option for real remote travels.

Who did watch "Long Way Up" about the Panamericana with an electric Harley Davidson on Netflix TV? As normal travellers we cannot afford to order a huge truck to bring an electric generator into remote locations, like the team of Ewan McGregor did it in the TV documenation.

Travellers from the US start to take gasoline based cars, travellers from Europe started to use diesel cars with downgraded emission standards or manipulated DPF in the near past.

Also another question we have to think through - if we like to take an older or new vehicle. And we have to look how the vehicle emission standards develop, over the last years.

And should we take a new rig with more security features like ESC, airbags, pre-crash system - or an old vehicle with less electronic? Which one is easier to repair, for which one do you get easier spare parts in countries in South America, Africa or Asia?

Article: Diesel vs Gasoline for an worldtrip?

Above are my thoughts. All in all, I would go for a new build-up with a new diesel rig today. What would you do?

trippin
 

Lovetheworld

Active member
I can tell from experience (two trips with a diesel) that in Asia, diesel is the first fuel to go missing. Petrol at octane 92 (european standard) is everywhere, and almost always also 95 octane available.
And new diesels have become way too complicated, even if they are downgraded.
Any passenger car, 4x4 (suv size) or smaller vans are probably more practical with petrol. But from there it starts to consume a lot, and you are still looking at diesel options.
Old diesels still do fine in general, but are noisy and tiresome to drive.

And don't rule out hybrids. In Mongolia they use so many hybrids which seem to do fine.
They are much more fuel efficient and the Japanese ones are just as reliable as a petrol car if not better.
 

Herbie

Rendezvous Conspirator
I forget if it was Dan Grec or one of the gents from the Overland Journal podcast who pointed out that even in the most remote villages of central Asia and South America, one of the primary modes of transport for the average joe is a small-CC motorcycle. Gasoline is pretty darned universal, and while Diesel is similarly popular, clean diesel is not especially so in many parts of the world. If I were going to run diesel, it'd have to be a vehicle with a forgiving disposition, and not something easily fouled.

It's a complex decision, but the history of people who have already done it tells us that either gasoline or diesel will get you around the world. Anyone who says it has to be one or the other probably hasn't done it themselves.
 

4x4tripping

Adventurer
I forget if it was Dan Grec or one of the gents from the Overland Journal podcast who pointed out that even in the most remote villages of central Asia and South America, one of the primary modes of transport for the average joe is a small-CC motorcycle. Gasoline is pretty darned universal, and while Diesel is similarly popular, clean diesel is not especially so in many parts of the world. If I were going to run diesel, it'd have to be a vehicle with a forgiving disposition, and not something easily fouled.

It's a complex decision, but the history of people who have already done it tells us that either gasoline or diesel will get you around the world. Anyone who says it has to be one or the other probably hasn't done it themselves.
I did a lot of overlanding and 4x4 trips by rental cars in asia. It is lovely to travel to those remote villages without electricity, to get in touch with the more untouched remote civilisation. Yes, you have to use single-trails to reach them, because they dont have enough cash to buy a car itself. They drove gasoline bikes but as more remote you go, even these not often.. But the more heavy stuff they too transport by pickups. All of them diesel based.

Same picture in remote areas in boliva / peru. If you go really remote, they even rarely have bikes. All those pickups are diesel based in south america. The normal cars did often too use gas bottles in the rear, but many are too gasoline based.

I did travel africa and south america by an euro4 spec diesel with dpf without hassle. But yes I did filter any fuel I did tank by an external fuel filtre. And with 280l tanks together - I was able to avoid more remote fuel stations pretty often. This amount of fuel give me a travel range of 1200 miles or 2000km.



Guess with such a range, I would start an worldtrip even with a brand new diesel or gasoline based car with newest emission specs witout having to worry a lot. After some weeks - this seems the valid answer to the question.

With a good range (given by aux. tank or canisters) - it insnt the question anymore if you take diesel/gasoline. At least at 2021 and the fuel quality development even in the 2nd or 3rd world.

trippin
 

Ditriz

New member
I did a lot of overlanding and 4x4 trips by rental cars in asia. It is lovely to travel to those remote villages without electricity, to get in touch with the more untouched remote civilisation. Yes, you have to use single-trails to reach them, because they dont have enough cash to buy a car itself. They drove gasoline bikes but as more remote you go, even these not often.. But the more heavy stuff they too transport by pickups. All of them diesel based.

Same picture in remote areas in boliva / peru. If you go really remote, they even rarely have bikes. All those pickups are diesel based in south america. The normal cars did often too use gas bottles in the rear, but many are too gasoline based.

I did travel africa and south america by an euro4 spec diesel with dpf without hassle. But yes I did filter any fuel I did tank by an external fuel filtre. And with 280l tanks together - I was able to avoid more remote fuel stations pretty often. This amount of fuel give me a travel range of 1200 miles or 2000km.



Guess with such a range, I would start an worldtrip even with a brand new diesel or gasoline based car with newest emission specs witout having to worry a lot. After some weeks - this seems the valid answer to the question.

With a good range (given by aux. tank or canisters) - it insnt the question anymore if you take diesel/gasoline. At least at 2021 and the fuel quality development even in the 2nd or 3rd world.

trippin
I also prefer diesel cars, as they are less whimsical to maintain. I am currently traveling in Europe. I am in Ukraine, there are no problems with refueling. And I use a car rental in Nikolaev catcar.ua/nikolaev and move further to the southern part of the country. Diesel engines perform well in wild steppes and high temperatures.
 
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