How To Improve Your RV Gas Mileage
It’s no secret that RVs require a lot of gas in order to function. At the same time, the nation is facing extremely high fuel prices. This combination is worrying for a lot of RVers, so now is a good time to talk about some ways to improve your RV gas mileage.
Of course, these tips only help to offset the frequency of your refills. No strategy will fully save you from the pains of filling up your RV. But there are things you can do to go further between refills. Below we have outlined 12 ways to conserve fuel and make it stretch longer.
1. Keep the RV in good condition
The first thing you can do is stay on top of your RV maintenance. Don’t skip oil changes or wait until the last second to get them done. If your vehicle is struggling to function, it will eat through your fuel much more quickly.
You can improve your RV gas mileage by ensuring that your filters are regularly changed, your tires are aligned, and your oil is in good condition. This will also extend the life of your RV, so it’s good to do these things regardless!
2. Check tire pressure
In the same vein as the idea above, make sure your tires are at the appropriate pressure. Tires that are too low will take more effort to turn. It could also mess with the weight distribution of your vehicle. Both of these things will result in higher fuel consumption.
To check your tires, use a tire pressure gauge and compare the current level to the ideal one that is outlined in your user’s manual. Some RVs may have unique requirements for their tire pressure settings, so make sure you are following the instructions.
3. Don’t drive in heavy wind
Weather can also impact your RV gas mileage. If it is a clear day without any wind, you won’t notice any difference at all. If you have a tailwind, you may be able to use less gas and let the wind do some of the work.
However, a strong headwind can be devastating to your fuel levels. And since roads twist and turn, you won’t have a guarantee of where it will hit you. Because of this, it’s best to avoid driving on windy days if possible. RVs are also at risk because they have broad flat sides that can be swayed or even tipped by heavy winds. Better safe than sorry!
4. Lighten the load
A heavy vehicle takes more energy to move. That’s just basic science! RVs are designed to carry heavy loads, and some RVs can even tow additional vehicles behind them. Unfortunately, the heavier they are, the more fuel they need to get moving.
You can make things easier by reducing the amount of gear that you tow around. Try to cut down to the necessities, and don’t tow an extra vehicle if you can avoid it.
5. Buy smaller RVs (if possible)
Smaller RVs are almost always more fuel-efficient than their large counterparts. Of course, if you already own an RV, it may not be realistic to buy a new one that’s smaller. However, if you’re in the market for a new model anyway and have fuel efficiency as a top priority, try exploring a smaller model. Class B camper vans and teardrop trailers are some of the best options if you need something that won’t go through a ton of gas.
6. Plan your route ahead of time
Wanding around is part of the joy of traveling, but you may waste a lot of fuel if you have a loose route. Taking time to double back and pick new routes is a luxury that you sometimes can’t afford.
In order to smooth out your trip and minimize the amount of driving, plan out your route before you go with RV LIFE Trip Wizard. This will help you avoid any surprises, plus you can pick the places where you want to stop and refuel.
7. Maintain a steady speed while driving
Once you’re out on the road, it’s best to stay at a steady pace. Don’t push your speed to the limit because you’re just asking your vehicle to go faster and burn through more gas.
Pick a reasonable, steady speed, stay in the slow vehicle lane, and don’t pass people unless you have to. The practice of speeding up and slowing down is not good for your RV gas mileage.
8. Avoid traffic jams as much as possible
While we’re on the subject of speeding up and slowing down, let’s talk about traffic. Obviously, you can’t always avoid traffic if there are car accidents or if you are traveling through an urban area. However, there are some things you can do to help you avoid peak rush hours.
Try to travel in the afternoon and later evening if you’re going through a heavy-traffic area. You can also check traffic apps to see if there are blocked-up areas that can be avoided. Stop-and-go driving is terrible for your fuel consumption, so stay away from it if you can.
9. Don’t idle
Idling is also a good way to drain your gas tank. If you need to stop, even for brief periods of time, turn the engine off. Don’t leave it running. This may not make a big difference all at once, but it can build up over time.
Idling will use up gas that could have been better spent on the roads. You can also cut down on your emissions by turning off your engine when you’re parked.
10. Avoid using the A/C
The air conditioning in your RV can also be a drain on the fuel. This may not seem like a big deal, but it can make a difference if you use it consistently.
In order to reduce the amount of fuel lost, turn off your air conditioning whenever possible. If it’s realistic, try rolling down your windows instead. You’ll improve your RV gas mileage and get some fresh air!
11. Stay in one place as long as possible
Once you’ve found a place to park, don’t wander around too much. Try to stick to one of two campgrounds for as long as possible so you don’t waste gas on frivolous trips around the park or surrounding area.
Plan out your errands and trips so you can do them all at once. If you drive as little as possible, you can go for long stretches without refilling.
12. Carpool or use public transportation at campgrounds
Many other people are also trying to save fuel. If you need to run an errand into town, try asking around to see if anyone is willing to take you. You can also offer rides to other people so that everyone can save gas together.
Some campgrounds and resorts also have options for public transportation. These may not be as convenient as taking your own vehicle, but you can save money by taking buses, renting bikes, or riding trolleys.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance from RV LIFE. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.
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