Filling up your RV can be an expensive undertaking. But you can enjoy life on the open road and stick to a budget. Save money on fuel with the following 11 tips.
1. Reduce the Weight
An RV’s fuel efficiency decreases as you add weight to your vehicle. While you want to pack as many essentials as possible, analyse your luggage carefully. Consider leaving behind anything you can buy, borrow or rent at your destination, such as firewood, propane and food. And if you haven’t used something in the past six months, leave it at home.
2. Downsize Your RV
Large RVs are less fuel-efficient than smaller models. Class A motor homes do add comfort and luxury to your RV adventure. However, downsize your RV to save money on fuel. As a bonus, you’re able to maneuver tighter spaces and reach more out-of-the-way spots in a smaller rig.
3. Streamline the Exterior
Items strapped or stored on the outside of your RV can cause the engine to work harder and use more fuel. If you need to store items on the roof, sides or back of your RV, look for streamlined options. For example, a hard-shell box on the roof can improve fuel efficiency during long trips.
4. Maintain Your RV
You’re more likely to stay safe on the road and burn less fuel when you keep your RV tuned. At regular intervals, clean or change air and air conditioning filters, charge the battery, inspect tires, and secure siding. A professional RV mechanic can help you with maintenance tasks.
5. Inflate the Tires Properly
Temperature, elevation and under-inflation affect tire performance and may increase fuel consumption. Add tire pressure checks to your schedule, and spend less money on fuel. To calculate the proper tire pressure, factor in the type of tire, RV weight and balance.
6. Turn Off the Air Conditioner
The air conditioner boosts your comfort on the road but also roughly increases your RV’s fuel consumption by up to 20%. To save money, consider running the air only when necessary. Cooling cloths, icy drinks, sun visors, and lightweight clothing can reduce the interior temperature, keep you cool and reduce costs.
7. Limit Idling
For every hour you sit idling in traffic, along the road or at your campsite, you waste a quarter to a half of a gallon of fuel. To save money, time your travel to avoid traffic jams and turn off your RV whenever possible. As a bonus, your RV’s engine will last longer when you limit idling.
8. Reconsider the Tow Vehicle
Towing a heavy vehicle increases your fuel costs as you drive your RV. Plus, you’ll spend money fuelling the vehicle as you drive it around town after you reach your destination. Plan to rideshare, rent bikes or use public transportation to save money.
9. Drive Slowly and Smoothly
Your RV burns more fuel when you drive fast, accelerate or brake often, and travel over rough roads. Maintain a steady pace, use cruise control and limit extreme driving to increase gas mileage by as much as 15 to 40 percent. Not only will you save money, but you’ll also improve your safety on the road and protect your engine when you drive slowly and smoothly.
10. Stay Awhile
Switching campsites every few days means you see more of the country, finish your RV bucket list faster, and spend more money on fuel. Try to stay in one place for a week or longer. This strategy allows you to conserve fuel and take advantage of cheaper weekly or monthly campsite rental rates. Plus, you can explore the area thoroughly, make new friends and truly relax.
11. Plan Fuel Stops
Where and when you fill up can save you big bucks. Calculate your RV’s average gas mileage and plan fuelling stops. Use an app like GasBuddy to find the cheapest fuel. You can also avoid high-priced rural and national park gas stations and refuel on weekdays when prices are cheaper. For even bigger savings, sign up for gas station loyalty cards or pay with a credit card to earn cashback on fuel purchases.
In your RV, you can explore every corner of Canada and beyond. Use these 11 tips to save money on fuel as you stretch your budget and enjoy your travels.