RV lifestyles on the road have a lot of perks, but gas prices aren’t one of them.
Here at RVUSA, we know that this is one of the biggest setbacks for many avid travelers. Long trips, whether you have a tow-behind or a diesel class A motorhome, can quickly become costly if you’re the one behind the pump.
It’s no wonder we often get asked how to cut back on fuel costs. Thankfully, with the help of our RVtalk forum, we’ve been able to compile a list of 7 essential gas savings measures you can take to improve your RVs gas mileage.
1. RV Tire Talk
As an RV owner and avid camper, I’m sure you’re familiar with fire talks. This is a time when people sit around a fire, telling stories and sharing wisdom. We’re going to do the same, but this conversation isn’t centered around a fire — instead, we’re talking RV tires.
Tires have a huge impact on the fuel efficiency of your RV, just as they do in your every-day vehicle. Old tires or even new tires that aren’t properly inflated will also inflate your gas prices at the pump.
To make sure you’re getting the most out of your mileage, simply make a habit of checking your tire pressure before you hit the road, especially if you’ve gone through elevation or temperature changes.
2. Slow and Steady
For anyone new to driving an RV, driving slow is a no-brainer until you get comfortable. But for more experienced drivers who have put hundreds of thousands of miles on their RV, it can be easy to speed.
However, the constant fluctuation in your gas pedal is most-certainly reflected in your gas bill. That’s why it’s best to keep your speed slow and steady so you don’t consume more gas than you need to.
This, much like proper tire pressure, isn’t specific to RVs. That’s why your vehicle is rated for different gas mileage on the highway versus the city. All of that stopping and going, has a large impact on your fuel conservation — and this is only exacerbated when you’re pulling a travel trailer or driving a large motorhome.
3. GPS Savings
In a similar vein, idling in traffic isn’t as good on your gas mileage as you may think. All of that stopping and going makes a big impact on your gas tank. That’s why we recommend always using your GPS.
If you know there is a large traffic jam up ahead, try to find another route. Even if it seems like a long road, you’ll save gas and probably time if you keep moving at a steady pace rather than sitting in traffic for hours.
Of course, you can’t always avoid traffic. If you do find yourself caught in stand-still traffic, you can consider turning off your vehicle to conserve gas. In the event, the traffic isn’t stand-still and you’re constantly inching up, consider taking a break at a truck stop or local rest area. You aren’t getting anywhere fast at that point anyway.
4. Lighten your Load
Of course, an RV’s weight is a huge factor in the reason we’re even writing this blog. Because an RV is heavier than your common vehicle, whether it’s a tow-behind or a motorhome, it takes more gas or diesel to make you move down the road.
Naturally, the more weight you are hauling, the more your engine has to work. That’s why we suggest finding ways to cut down on additional weight and things you don’t need. If you are carrying heavy gas and water tanks, consider emptying the tanks before your drive, or purchasing necessary supplies closer to your destination.
While this may seem silly, and in some ways may increase waste, these incremental changes can make a large difference in your gas mileage and greenhouse gas production in the long run.
5. Tongue Tied
In a similar vein, your tongue weight — the amount of weight your trailer places on your vehicle — can contribute to lower gas mileage while also making your vehicle more difficult to drive.
To avoid this, simply try not to overload your trailer. If you notice this is a common issue, you may need to upgrade your towing vehicle to one with a higher tow capacity or consider downsizing your travel trailer to better suit your vehicle. You could also consider purchasing a weight-distribution hitch.
To check and see if your tongue is overloaded, check your manufacturing guidelines and make sure your trailer is balanced.
6. Find Your Balance
Speaking of a balanced trailer, we want to spend a little more time on this topic. An unbalanced RV trailer will cause your tow vehicle not to function as efficiently.
To ensure your trailer is balanced, make sure you don’t have too much weight on the front or back of your trailer. The goal here is to evenly distribute weight on the front, rear, and sides of your trailer.
Once you’ve practiced balancing your trailer a few times, you’ll start to get a feel of where bulky items need to sit in order to ensure you have a smooth and efficient ride.
7. Fuel Savings
Outside of trailer maintenance and smart packing, there are still a few tricks you can practice to make sure you’re getting the most out of your RV’s gas mileage.
If you know you’re going to an area where gas prices will be more expensive, such as a populated city or extremely rural area, try to fill up on gas in areas where it is less expensive. Different apps and websites can help you track gas prices around the country and find the best stops to fill up.
You may also consider purchasing gas during the week as gas prices naturally increase during weekends in the anticipation of more travel.
Invest in RV Fuel Efficiency with RVUSA
By opting for a lighter trailer or a motor vehicle with more gas-saving measures, you can maintain all of the features you love about your RV, without the frequent gas stops and high-dollar fill ups.