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Diesel motor homes are available in two different power train configurations: Front diesel motor homes have their engine mounted at the front of the vehicle, essentially between the feet of the driver and front passenger, while diesel pusher models house the engine at the rear of the vehicle.
The amount of power that a motor home produces is related to the length of the drive shaft and its ability to transfer the necessary power to the back wheels. Diesel pusher models lend themselves to shorter drive shafts and greater production of "pushing" power. Front engine diesel motor homes must transfer power a longer distance and are more efficient in smaller vehicles.
The latest manufacturer trend in front engine diesel motor homes is to produce vehicles that are aerodynamic and highly fuel efficient. Dodge estimates that some Class B and C motor homes built on their chassis may average between 16 to 19 miles per gallon. Larger diesel pusher motor homes built on a Class A chassis may only average 8 to 14 miles per gallon depending on driving conditions and the specific vehicle.
Diesel engines are generally more expensive to purchase than their gas counterparts, and maintenance can be costly. However, diesel motors offer better fuel efficiency and longevity than gas engines, which means they may offer cost savings over the long run.