20 Easy Ways to Save Fuel and Money

With millions of people planning to hit the road this summer, two things will be on their minds – getting to their destination safely and the price of fuel.

It's a great time of year for a road trip to Canyon de Chelly in Arizona. Pictured above is Spider Rock. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

The latest Campfire Canvass survey of RV owners reveals that 53% intend to use their RVs more this spring/summer despite higher fuel prices. Another 38% say they’ll use their RVs the same amount.

Many RV owners surveyed take additional measures to reduce fuel consumption through simple steps like driving 55 instead of 65 mph, packing lighter to reduce weight in the RV, and turning off home utilities to save energy when traveling.

Don’t let higher fuel prices stop you from enjoying your spring and summer; instead, test-drive these gas and money saving tips.

Most motorists share one common goal—to get the best mileage possible. The desire for the best fuel efficiency is especially strong among recreational vehicle owners. There are many ways that you can reduce fuel and related costs while enjoying travelling in your recreational vehicle.

Looking for a great spring or summer getaway? Think Galveston, Texas! © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV drivers are often quite frugal. They budget carefully and they make the most of every trip and vacation. Part of that is being aware of the potential savings that are out there.

Following are a number of tips to help you save fuel:

  1. Slow down and maintain even pressure on the throttle.
  2. Accelerate gradually, both from a stop and when entering a freeway; avoid sudden jack-rabbit starts and rapid acceleration.
  3. Brake smoothly, avoiding fast stops; rapid braking wastes fuel and cut down your mileage.
  4. Maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead.
  5. Don’t slam on your brakes. See a stop sign or red light up ahead? Instead of slamming on your breaks just before the line, slowly ease off the accelerator ahead of time, coasting to a stop and thus avoid wasting fuel and wear on the brakes.
  6. When the light changes green, forget that pedal to the metal mindset and, again, ease into it.
  7. Look ahead and anticipate traffic conditions. Slow down well before you need to.
  8. Minimize excessive engine workload by using the vehicle’s kinetic forward motion to climb hills.
  9. Use downhill momentum, rather than applying accelerator, to build speed back up.
  10. Go cruising. Your cruise control button isn’t just convenient; it can be a fuel-saver. When driving long stretches of open road, cruise control can be a very valuable asset, maintaining your speed within the least fuel-guzzling gear, plus eliminating your chances of accidental speeding (and getting pulled over and ticketed).
  11. BUT, cruise control can take a bite into your fuel mileage potential on hills where it tends to coast up the hill until it realizes that it is losing speed and quickly attempts to make up for it by pushing the throttle, increasing your speed and your fuel use.
  12. Weather considerations. Winds have a substantial affect on increasing or reducing the vehicle’s moving resistance.
  13. Avoid excessive engine idling. Shut the engine off when the RV sits for more than a few minutes.
  14. Follow the recommended service and maintenance schedules; keeping an RV tuned up and in top running condition saves fuel. A poorly tuned engine can lower fuel economy by 10 to 20 percent. Use the recommended grade of motor oil. It’s worth it.
  15. A clean air filter keeps impurities from damaging your engine and can significantly improve fuel economy.
  16. Regularly check the air pressure in all tires, when the tires are cool (air pressure increases while you are driving). Proper inflation reduces the incidence of tire failure and improves fuel consumption.
  17. Control your weight. Many motorhomes have total holding tank capacities of 100 gallons or more, which means they can contain almost 900 pounds of wastewater when full. Fresh water tank may be 60 gallons of water at 8.3 pounds/gallons or almost 500 pounds when full. The carrying capacity of the three holding tanks, can total 1400 pounds or more and requires burning expensive fuel to carry it around.
  18. Control your weight. Check each coach storage compartment and exterior bays; remove items you will not be using while on the road. Every pound of unnecessary weight you carry decreases fuel mileage and saves wear and tear on your tires.
  19. Control your weight. Added weight significantly reduces fuel economy. Keep in mind that everything you put in your RV has weight. The average couple carries approximately 2,000 pounds of “stuff,” and many full-timing couples carry as much as 3,000 pounds. When possible travel with empty gray and black holding tanks and fresh water tank no more than ¼ full. The following are approximate weights of the liquids that RVs commonly carry:
  • Water—8.3 pounds/gallon
  • Gasoline—6 pounds/gallon
  • Diesel fuel—6.6 pounds/gallon
  • Propane—4.5 pounds/gallon

Now Let’s Go RVing!

If you have additional thoughts, we would love to hear them. Please do share!! Send them in an email to vogelontheroad@gmail.com, and I’ll see that they appear in a future post.

Worth Pondering…

The mint makes it first, it is up to you to make it last.

—Evan Esar (1899 – 1995)

I have enough money to last me the rest of my life, unless I buy something.

—Jackie Mason

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