Fuel expenses are one of those things that we all accept as an unavoidable expense of the RV lifestyle. However, as with any expenditure, we all want to get the best value for our money. In the case of fuel expense, that means getting the best possible gas mileage.
Here are a few tips that will increase the number of miles between fill-ups .. resulting in a little extra play money.
Put your RV an a diet
The average full timer carries over 3,000 lbs. in their RV. And all that weight directly results in decreased fuel economy.
- An easy cut back is to never hit the road with a full water tank or holding tanks. At over 8 lbs. for every gallon of water, a full water tank significantly increases the weight of your RV. Only fill your water tank with just enough to comfortably get you to your next destination, plus a small reserve.
- Next, go through all your storage compartments and closets. Chances are you will find things you never even knew you had. If you haven’t used it in a year, do you really need to keep it? Toss it out, recycle it, sell it or donate it.
- And lastly, always be conscious of the items that you purchase. Eliminate unnecessary bulky or heavy packaging. Little things add up.
Look at the calendar before heading to the gas pump
Just because you don’t schedule your travels around weekends and holidays anymore, doesn’t mean that most everyone else isn’t. Remember that gas prices usually rise on the weekend, and before every holiday — so plan your fill ups accordingly.
Check your tire pressure
Maintaining correct tire inflation pressure helps optimize tire performance and fuel economy. Under-inflated tires require more energy to roll them down the road, so be sure to check your tire pressure regularly to keep them at the correct ratings.
Keep your motorhome mechanically clean and serviced
Mechanics estimate that a poorly tuned engine can use up to 50 percent more gas than one that is running well. Simple things like clogged air filters are attributed to something on the order of a 10% economy loss, and fouled or worn spark plugs can eat up as much as 30% of your fuel economy.
Shut It Off If You’re Not Driving
Don’t leave your engine idling for lunch breaks, campground checkins, or even those quick stops for one of you to run into the store. Sitting with your engine idling does nothing but waste fuel. Think of it this way – at idle, you are getting 0 miles per gallon!
Adjust your driving speeds
Gas mileage decreases rapidly at speeds above 55 mph. In fact, the increased wind resistance can drop your fuel economy as much as 2% for every mile of speed over 55. At current gas prices, assuming you would average 10 miles per gallon at 55 mpg, a 400 mile trip will cost you $14 more if you drive 60mph, and $31 more at 65 mph. Multiple that by the number of miles you drive throughout the year, and that’s a lot of extra money going out your exhaust pipe.
So just set that cruise control at 55 .. and enjoy both the scenery and the savings.