Gas or Diesel? How to Decide When Choosing a Water Well Drill

A major factor when choosing water well drilling rigs and other water drilling equipment is whether gas or diesel is more ideal for the intended application. The most basic requirement of any engine is power, but assuming that is comparable, the gas and diesel debate boils down to a less tangible list of criteria.

Ultimate Power

Water Well Drill Gas Power Source

Water Well Drill Gas Power Source

In outdoor power equipment, diesel engines are often preferred for increased torque and therefore more power than similarly sized gas engines. However, leading manufacturers that offer equipment in both gas and diesel models account for the power difference by increasing the horsepower of the gasoline option. Same class models of Lone Star Drills feature diesel and gas engines with different horsepower but similar torque outputs, ensuring the proper power for any application.


Water Well Drill Diesel Power Source

Water Well Drill Diesel Power Source

Is gas or diesel the primary fuel for the area? Many parts of the world rely on diesel as a primary fuel source, making gas a poor and expensive option. In contrast, some locales may cater more to gas with wider availability and lower costs at the pump.

Convenience and Cost

Is gas or diesel readily available at the job site? If all the other equipment on site runs on gas, then it may be more convenient to have the water well drilling equipment match. Major purchases such as a borehole water drilling rig or rugged drilling mud pumps shouldn’t cause more inconvenience due to fuel incompatibility.

Years ago, diesel was the preferred choice for equipment because it was readily available and generally much cheaper than its gasoline alternative. However, in recent years, the cost of diesel equals or tops the cost of gas, eliminating the economic advantage.


How much time and money can be afforded for maintenance? With the known mechanical problems associated with the increasing ethanol content of gasoline, it may be tempting to turn to diesel. However, diesel units typically require more maintenance than gas units. Diesel units tend to be more sensitive to dirt and debris which drives up filter costs in addition to increased oil consumption when compared to gas. Diesel units can also be harder to keep running — in part because varying temperatures tend to have a greater impact on diesel engines, driving up operating costs even further.

Despite these disadvantages, adhering to a strict and costly diesel maintenance schedule can pay off in the long run by providing diligent owners with a machine that outlasts its gas competitors, an aspect that should be weighed against fuel availability and convenience to get the full picture of long-term costs of ownership.  But, if crews aren’t disciplined about maintenance, gasoline will be the better choice. It’s more forgiving.