Even though summer is the height of RV season, it is becoming a year-round activity for many. With the exponential rise of full-time RVers, one major expense to the lifestyle is the cost of gas.
There is much to explore and many fun times to be had all around the country. With rising gas prices in mind, you will want to balance that with responsible fuel consumption. Fortunately, we can show you a few ways to increase your RV’s fuel efficiency so you can save precious dollars on gas.
Here are 8 easy strategies to help ease “pain at the pump.”
Maintain Your Rig
Getting a maintenance check on a regular basis is key to keeping your RV running smoothly. You should definitely get it done before a long trip. And if you buy a used RV, have a thorough maintenance check done as soon as you take possession (or get the paperwork of a recent one done by the previous owner).
When an RV is in storage, batteries tend to lose their power, tires can lose air pressure, and all seams/sealants should be inspected. All electrical, water, and AC systems should be checked for proper operation. If you don’t feel comfortable inspecting it yourself, take it to a professional you trust.
Also, check air filters about every six months, and replace them if they are dirty. Clogged air filters will signal the engine’s computer to increase the amount of fuel consumption.
Lighten the Load
The more weight in an RV, the more it bogs down the powering systems, increasing fuel usage. You’d be surprised how easy it is to get rid of things in your RV that add nothing but extra weight. Take only the amount of fresh water you need to get to your destination, then refill the tank as needed. Stock up on heavier supplies when you get to the campground.
As far as the stuff lying around in your RV, if you haven’t used it in six months, get rid of it! You don’t need it. That is a key principle to a minimal lifestyle, and it saves on gas overall.
Regularly Check RV Tire Pressure
Tires that are underinflated have a detrimental effect on fuel consumption. Know your RV tire’s manufacturer’s recommendation on pressure; you should get in the habit of checking the pressure on all tires before you leave each time. It takes just a couple of minutes. This is especially true when your RV experiences dramatic shifts in elevation or temperature.
For every one percent your tires are under the recommended inflation pressure, your fuel efficiency decreases by 3 percent.
Try to keep the weight distribution inside your RV balanced at all times. If it’s too uneven, your RV can sway and negatively impact how it handles while driving. Keep heavier objects closer to the floor and balance out the load in the front, rear, and both sides. This saves on gas and also makes for a safer drive.
Be Cool with the AC
Crank up the AC only when absolutely necessary. When you use the dashboard air at the maximum, it reduces fuel efficiency by 5 to 25 percent, according to the AAA (American Auto Association).
RV owners will be the first to tell you that driving slower is a given (it’s a big rig) but did you know that hard driving can also quickly drain your fuel tank? Avoid rapid acceleration and stepping on the brake hard. The gas mileage you’ll save will be 15 to 30 percent, and if you maintain a constant speed (55 to 60 miles an hour on the highway) you’ll greatly increase overall fuel efficiency.
Map Your Route
Know exactly the route you’ll take to get to your destination. This will avoid any wrong turns and backtracking, which not only adds miles to your trip, it wastes your time and unnecessarily wastes fuel. You can even run your route through a gas-mileage calculator to estimate the cost of getting to your destination.
Camp Longer in One Spot
You may have heard of the “slow travel” phenomenon. Rather than traveling from place to place to squeeze in as many sights as possible, more people are opting for spending more time in one place to truly savor the destination. And surprise! This also saves on gas.