Natural Gas Vs. Diesel Generators

Natural Gas Generators Vs. Diesel Generators


Having the right generator is essential to your operations. The biggest difference between generators is the type of fuel that is used to produce power. Natural gas and diesel are the two most popular generator fuel choices, but how do you know which one is best for your California facility? Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of each type of fuel source so that you can make an informed decision. 

Natural Gas Generators

Natural gas generators are widely used in commercial and industrial sectors. They are a very affordable and efficient option for power generation, and they have a continuous supply of fuel through the pipeline, making them a very convenient choice for business owners.


The following are benefits to selecting a natural gas generator for your facility:

  • Cost-effective:One of the biggest benefits of natural gas is that it is a cheaper fuel than other sources.
  • Readily available: Since natural gas is made available through your pipeline, barring a supply issue, you won’t have to worry about running out of fuel when you need it most.
  • Price:Natural gas generators tend to cost less than diesel ones. The price varies greatly depending on the size and brand that you decide to purchase.
  • No strong odor: Unlike diesel, generators that are powered by natural gas don’t give off a pungent odor, so you won’t have to worry about anyone complaining about the smell.
  • Environmentally friendly:Natural gas is one of the cleanest fossil fuels, emitting considerably low nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon dioxide.
  • Quiet operation:Compared to diesel generators, natural gas units are relatively quiet to run.


Natural gas does have some disadvantages you should be aware of when selecting your generator. These include:

  • Supply disruptions: While natural gas comes through the pipeline, there are some unforeseen instances when you would experience an interruption of supply. For example, if a construction crew were to accidentally hit your gas line, you wouldn’t have the fuel source you need until it was repaired. Natural disasters can also impact your supply line.
  • Emits carbon dioxide: Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which has an overall negative effect on the environment. Natural gas generators emit more carbon dioxide than diesel ones, so you should consider that factor when making your decision.
  • Explosive fuel: Natural gas is a very explosive fossil fuel. If your pipeline were to burst, it can result in a major fire hazard. In this case, you should shut off the generator, remove anything flammable from the site, and call for emergency assistance. 

Diesel  Generators

Diesel is another common fuel source for generators, especially in remote locations that don’t have easy access to the power grid. These units are generally made up of a diesel engine and an electrical generator. They are a popular choice for a back-up power supply in emergency situations.


There are many advantages to using a diesel generator, including:

  • Fuel efficiency: While diesel fuel does cost more than gas, it does have a higher energy density. What this means is that while you will pay more for diesel initially, you’ll also get more energy out of it than you would for the same amount of gas, so you can expect the fuel to last longer.
  • Long lifespan: Diesel engines are known for their longevity. In fact, you can expect your diesel generator to last far longer than a natural gas-powered one. Exactly how long it will last, however, depends on the size, maintenance performed, and service hours completed.
  • Safety: Diesel generators are one of the safest choices because they pose a lower fire risk than gas-powered units.
  • Fewer maintenance needs: Diesel generators require less maintenance than gas-powered ones. Newer diesel units are far more efficient than their older counterparts, so you’ll find that you spend less time maintaining one. Diesel engines also don’t need spark plugs or wires to run, which further reduces the necessary maintenance tasks.
  • Stable power supply: Diesel is a steady fuel source that you can store to prepare for a power failure. Having the supply on hand will make all the difference when you have an outage.
  • Convenient installation: One of the biggest advantages of diesel is that you can install the generator just about anywhere. This is because they don’t rely on a pipeline system for fuel like natural gas generators do.


Diesel-powered generators present some disadvantages a business owner should know about before making a purchase. Some drawbacks of diesel include:

  • Cost: Diesel generators can be initially more expensive than other generators available. However, the cost of maintaining the generator over time is significantly lower than a gas generator, so you should factor that in when making your choice.
  • Noise:Generators that are powered by diesel can be quite noisy, especially older units. If you think someone will complain about the noise, it’s best to invest in a newer unit since they tend to be quieter.
  • Expensive repairs: These generators are made up of bulky, heavy components, and repairing them can often be expensive. However, note that diesel generators will require fewer repairs as long as regular maintenance is performed. Usually, you’ll just need to change the oil, fuel, air filter, and oil filter after a certain amount of service hours. Check with the manufacturer’s recommendation.
  • Environmental concerns: Diesel is not as clean a fuel source as gas. These units release pollutants that can harm the environment. Manufacturers make newer models to more environmentally friendly.
  • Limited fuel: Since you have to store backup diesel fuel, you’ll have a limit to what you have on hand during an emergency.
  • Changing fuel prices:Diesel fuel cost is subject to market demand, so it’s always changing. You may pay a different price for it every time you refuel.

Call Valley Power Systems of California

Whether you decide on a diesel or natural gas generator, the knowledgeable staff from Valley Power Systems can match you with the right unit for your facility. We ensure our clients have the power sources they need to keep their businesses running. Contact us today to learn more about our generator products.