Gas prices have reached their highest point in nearly a decade. As travel season comes around, and the fuel costs show no signs of dropping, there’s a question looming in many RVers minds: Will travelers be able to afford to drive their RVs this season?
Fortunately, if you make a good plan and adopt the right tips, you can still have a budget-friendly and memorable road trip this year. In this post, we will show you how to improve your RV’s fuel efficiency and reduce gas expenses. Adopt out tips to hack your way to better gas mileage.
RVs aren’t the most fuel-efficient vehicles. However, that’s changing. Manufacturers are now designing motorhomes and travel trailers that are more economical to drive or tow. These rigs are smaller, lighter, and aerodynamic.
When renting or shopping for a new RV, look for a camper that returns over 18 miles per gallon (mpg) on the highway. This will save you a considerable amount of money. You can choose to get a Diesel engine RV since they provide about a 30% increase in fuel efficiency compared to regular gasoline engines.
The way you speed up and brake will have a large impact on your RV’s mpg ratio. Rapid acceleration from a dead stop, abrupt braking, and overspeeding will drain your tank faster than you think.
Adopting good driving habits can maximize your fuel economy by up to 7%. Save gas by gradually building up speed, then maintain and cruise at between 63-65 MPH for optimal fuel efficiency. Also, shut off your engine if you will be idling for more than a couple of minutes.
RVs don’t just consume a lot of fuel when speeding. A camper traveling through congested traffic will use considerably more gas than one traveling at a constant, reasonable speed.
For this reason, you should always do your research ahead of time and avoid roads passing through city centers or those that experience snarl-ups. The frequent stopping and starting within the flow of traffic is what drains your tank fast. Preferably, drive during non-commuter hours.
Another way to give your RV more miles per gallon is to keep it as light as possible. The more weight you’re hauling, the harder your engine works, and the more fuel you use.
Some smart ways to slash weight include refilling your water and propane tanks closer to your destination, only packing the items you need, and removing any clutter. Also, consider renting heavy outdoor gear at the destination instead of bringing yours.
Avoid running your RV’s AC when you don’t really need it. In some situations, using the air conditioning can decrease fuel economy by up to 25%.
That, however, doesn’t mean that you should roll down all the windows when cruising down the highway. Opening the windows increases drag and slows the rig down, meaning it will need more fuel to run. To keep the heat out, slightly crack open the windows, use fans, and block the sun with solar screens.
Another way to save on RV gas costs is to use fuel finding services. An app like gas buddy helps you locate the cheapest gas stations near the area you’re visiting.
Other tools, such as Google Maps, can also help you discover the most fuel-efficient routes. An RV route planning app will also come in handy as it will help you avoid winding roads and steep climbs, which also hurt fuel efficiency.
Regularly servicing your RV not only ensures that your camper is trip-ready, but it also helps improve gas mileage. Have your motorhome inspected and tuned up by a certified RV mechanic at least once a year.
Change the oil and other engine fluids within the recommended time frame, and replace the dirty air filter as it can lower your fuel efficiency by about 10%. On your part, always check tire pressure every day before you set off, since even slightly under-inflated tires will decrease gas mileage.
Another sure way to save fuel is to visit destinations with plenty of attractions close together. That means you don’t have to drive long distances between attraction spots.
Even better, you can visit a large campground that offers multiple on-site recreational opportunities. Look for places that are near a water body and have hiking and biking trails nearby, as well as a camp store. To further cut costs, consider camping closer to home.
Nothing will sap your gas faster than using your large home on wheels to run every errand. To improve RV gas mileage, only use your camper as a place to sleep, relax, and prepare food.
When you want to go shopping, try the local cuisine, or go sightseeing, use your tow vehicle. If you have a motorhome, bring a dingy. It will be easier on your wallet.
Investing in a quality fuel economy chip for your RV is another hack to give a serious boost to your gas mileage. The device gives you a myriad of driving settings to choose from while on the road, thus optimizing the performance of your rig’s engine.
In Class C and larger motorhomes, it can add 2-3 miles per gallon. However, not all chips are made equal, and only high-quality ones will deliver the best results. Also, note that these chips modify the way your engine was designed to run, so they could affect your warranty.
Don’t let the rising fuel prices ruin your travel plans. You can still have an inexpensive trip if you adopt the above tips for maximizing RV gas mileage.
Start by adjusting your driving habits, plan your route depending on traffic, watch the weight, turn off AC, take advantage of apps, service your rig, spend more time in one place, and leave your big motorhome or travel trailer at the campground when touring the area.
Even better, consider swapping out your gas-guzzling RV for a more fuel-efficient camper. Scroll through our inventory at San Angelo RVs to discover the RV models that get the best gas mileage.