'Round The Campfire

How to save on fuel on your next RV trip

More from Outdoor Living Newsletter June Outdoor Living Newsletter
A gas hose leaks gas and the shadow is the dollar sign
Keep the cash and fuel flow to a minimum

As families across the country have been dealing with the recession many are doing their best to keep an eye on what they spend. RV trips are typically the most affordable way to travel. However, rising fuel costs have offset some of the savings generally associated with RV travel. Fortunately, we've developed a list of practical fuel saving tips that will stretch your travel budget a little bit farther this year. Below is our list of creative ways to conserve fuel.

  1. Camp closer to home. You may be surprised to find that there are some beautiful campgrounds and parks within a hundred miles of your home. With over 16,000 campgrounds on CampingRoadTrip.com you are sure to find just what you want nearer to home.
  2. Stay longer in one place. Less travel equals less fuel consumption. Many RV parks are vacation destinations in their own right with all the fun amenities your family need for an enjoyable vacation. Also, many campgrounds offer discounts for staying with them for multiple nights, which saves you even more money.
  3. Pack lighter. The lighter your RV the more fuel efficient it becomes. You can reduce the weight of your RV by:
    • Waiting until you reach your site to top up your freshwater tanks.
    • Buying firewood and other materials on site.
    • Making sure holding tanks are dumped before heading out.
    • Remove anything left in the RV from the last trip that you do not need.
  4. Set cruise control at 55 mph. Traveling at low, consistent speeds saves fuel. In an experiment Edmunds.com found that using cruise control resulted in an average savings of 7 percent. Start the engine and drive off slowly until things come up to temperature. Idling the RV promotes unnecessary waste of fuel. Don't rush up hills. Instead, apply a light throttle during long climbs to conserve fuel and protect the engine from overheating. Down shift on steep hills where possible.
  5. Travel later in the day. Air conditioning is the bane of gas mileage. In summer months travel later in the day when the weather is cooler and the vehicle air conditioning is needed less. Plan your route with care to avoid long hold ups if possible.
  6. Tune up the engine. Your RV engine runs most efficiently when it's been maintained frequently and properly. If you haven't taken a look at your engine in years it is advisable to get a tune up.
  7. Inflate Tires. Underinflated tires sap gas mileage. So fill them up! According to Fueleconomy.gov you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Also consider switching to eco-friendly RV tires to reduce waste and fuel consumption.
  8. Use the recommended oil. Using the manufacturer's recommended grade of motor oil will help boost your gas mileage by 1-2 percent.
  9. Check the alignment of your RV. Tire-wheel imbalances contribute to reduced gas mileage. When tires are out of alignment they experience increased drag and resistance, which result in accelerated tire wear and decreased gas mileage. Therefore, balanced alignment allows for enhanced fuel efficiency.
  10. Check the roof of your RV for air drag items. Driving with the antenna up and missing A/C cover will add to air drag and increased fuel consumption.

By following just a few of these measures you can ensure that you keep more fuel in your tank and more cash in your wallet.

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