RV vacations are all about getting away from life’s clutter, taking it easy, and enjoying time with friends and family in the great outdoors. Saving on fuel costs for your RV vacation will make it even easier for you to relax and enjoy life on the road.
Best for Gas Mileage
If you’re still shopping for an RV, and fuel costs are a major consideration, profile and weight should factor into your purchasing decision.
A fifth wheel, or other boxy travel trailer that sits higher than the tow vehicle, will create drag, or resistance, substantially lowering gas mileage. Towing experts weighing in on fuel costs assert that drag is far more costly than weight when it comes to fuel efficiency.
If fuel efficiency is a priority, look for low-slung travel trailers such as teardrops, R-pods, pop-ups, hi-los or Airstreams.
Weight will also affect fuel efficiency. The heavier the trailer, the harder the tow vehicle has to work, reducing fuel efficiency. Likewise, a large, heavy, motorized Class A RV will get substantially less fuel efficiency than a nimble Class B camper van, while a mid-sized Class C may be the right mix of fuel economy and comfort.
If you’re shopping for a fuel-efficient RV, the experts at Crossroads Trailer Sales can help you find the right travel trailer for your needs.
If your goal is reducing fuel costs on your next RV adventure there are a few steps you can take to help: lighten the load, keep maintenance in mind and make sure your towing math adds up.
Take inventory of what’s in your travel trailer. Extra weight means extra fuel expenses. It might be more convenient to have everything you could possibly need on vacation packed into your RV, but all that extra weight leads to higher gas costs when you’re on the road. Clean out your RV regularly and take out rarely-used gear and equipment to lighten the load.
Before you head off on your next RV adventure, make time for maintenance. Some simple, inexpensive checks can save you big money on your fuel bill.
A dirty air filter can increase fuel costs by up to 10 percent. A poorly-tuned engine is another hidden fuel guzzler; costing as much as 10 to 20 percent in fuel efficiency. Using synthetic oil in the recommended weight can also shave fuel costs.
A few simple calculations can also add up to better fuel efficiency. A fully-loaded travel trailer can be a lot heavier than the frequently-used “dry-weight,’’ which is the trailer’s unloaded weight – with no fluids, supplies or gear. Look for the Gross Trailer Weight (GTW) for your travel trailer – the weight it will likely be when fully loaded. If the GTW exceeds your tow vehicle’s maximum towing capacity (a number you can find in the owner’s manual) not only will the struggling engine burn more fuel, it will shorten the life of the vehicle.
On the Road
Hit the take-it-easy button even before you reach your destination to improve fuel efficiency.
Taking it slow and steady when it comes to driving speed results in lower costs at the pump. Keep your speed between 55mph and 60mph and avoid rapid acceleration. Using the cruise control on your tow vehicle keeps things moving at a steady, fuel-efficient pace.
According to fueleconomy.gov statistics, increasing highway cruising speed from 55 mph to 75 mph can raise fuel consumption by was much as 20 percent.
Even when the temperatures are extreme, resist the temptation to keep your towing vehicle or motorized RV on and idling in parking lots. Grabbing a sweater or rolling down the windows is a lot easier on the fuel budget.
Still a Bargain
There is no family vacation as affordable as an RV vacation, according to a Recreational Vehicle Industry Association study. Even after factoring in the costs of RV ownership and fuel, the study shows that RV vacations offer 23 to 59 percent savings over those using a personal car or airline, staying in a hotel, rental house or condominium and eating in restaurants. In fact, gas prices would have to quadruple for RV vacations to lose their value advantage, according to the study.
Hit the Road
Choosing the right RV for your fuel budget and your towing vehicle will get you on the road safely and economically. Regular maintenance and lightening the load – and your foot on the gas pedal – will keep you going and keep gas prices in check.