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There may never be a definitive answer to the petrol vs. diesel marine engines debate. While a growing number of boats and yachts come with diesel engines already installed, some models still come with gasoline-powered engines. In fact, several yacht and boat manufacturers still offer the choice between a gasoline engine and a marine engine to customers for some of their medium to large-sized models. If you ever end up in a position where you are presented with such a choice, consider the advantages of a diesel engine over a petrol engine.

Lower Fuel Costs

While both marine gas oil (MGO) and marine diesel oil (MDO) constantly fluctuate in cost, on average, diesel cost less than gasoline. In an article published in, it was found than that diesel averages at $2.50 per gallon, while marine gasoline averages $2.97.1 While this may not seem like a significant difference, for larger vessels that cruise frequently, diesel ends up being the more economical choice. So, saving money on fuel is one of the most touted benefits of marine diesel engines.

Less Flammable

Another advantage of diesel engines over petrol engines is safety. Diesel is much less flammable than gasoline. Only intense pressure and sustained flame can ignite diesel.2 Diesel fuel has a flashpoint between 52 and 96 °C (126 and 205 °F). In comparison, gasoline is a flammable liquid with a flashpoint of -40°C (-40°F). It gives enough vapor to create a burnable mixture in the air or the bottom of a boat. For lower flammability risk, a marine diesel engine is the safer option.

Energy Efficiency

In general, marine diesel engines have greater efficiency and economy than their gasoline-powered counterparts. In an article published by the Universal Technical Institute, they found that diesel engines are 20 percent more thermal efficient than gas engines on average. As a result, their fuel economy increases by 20 percent.3 Diesel fuel has more energy potential per gallon than gasoline, which means diesel-powered yachts travel more with less fuel.


Marine diesel engines are known for their longevity. Gasoline engines are made up of much more parts and, therefore, more likely to break down. The average marine gasoline engine runs for around 1,500 hours before requiring a major overhaul by marine rebuild specialists. In comparison, a well-maintained inboard diesel engine typically lasts around 5,000 to 8,000 hours without a major overhaul. If you want to own a larger yacht and expect to use it regularly, pick a long-lasting marine diesel engine.

At Marine Diesel Specialists, we specialize in maintaining, repairing, and rebuilding diesel engines on yachts. By following COVID-19 safety guidelines, our diesel specialists can work in marinas and shipyards throughout Florida.

In addition to MAN engine maintenance and general services, our certified marine diesel mechanics in Fort Lauderdale and Punta Gorda can complete any major marine diesel engine rebuild or overhaul project for various engine brands including John Deere, Detroit Diesel, and Cummins.

Just contact us today to schedule a consultation.






  1. Ed Sherman, – Boat Engines: Choosing Gas or Diesel
  2. Louise Lerner, Argonne National Laboratory – 7 things you might not know about diesel
  3. Universal Technical Institute – GAS VS. DIESEL ENGINES: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?