5 Ways To Save Money On Fuel

More than 20 million Americans will travel in RVs throughout the summer months, heading to our country’s 16,000-plus campgrounds, and enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

In spite of rising fuel costs, RV travel is still the most economical and efficient way to vacation with your family this summer. Pictured above Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces, New Mexico, after a day of safe travel. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

In spite of rising fuel costs, RV travel is still the most economical and efficient way to vacation with your family this summer. Pictured above Hacienda RV Resort in Las Cruces, New Mexico, after a day of safe travel. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

RV travel can be expensive. Knowing where to cut costs, save money, and be more efficient in our travels is the key to staying within your travel budget.

Fuel prices, every summer, rise to higher and higher heights. While we have no control over the price of fuel, we can do a few things to help save money.

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 life ‘on the road’ in your RV.

Many RVers take measures to reduce fuel consumption through simple steps like driving 55 instead of 65 or 70 mph and packing lighter to reduce weight in the RV.

Following are five ways to save money on fuel this summer:

1. Avoid High Speeds

Decreasing your speed saves money. The greatest improvement in fuel economy is the speed we drive. As your speed increases, your aerodynamic drag increases. Driving faster pushes more air ahead of the RV which creates more resistance to forward movement. Driving 62 mph rather than 75 mph will reduce fuel consumption by about 15 percent.

2. Do Not Accelerate or Brake Hard

scenic view point in Canyon de Chelly National Park

Before leaving on your road trip, check your tire pressure to make sure it is at the manufacturer’s recommended PSI. This little tip will save you on MPG over distances. Pictured above a Fleetwood Providence DP parked at a scenic view point in Canyon de Chelly National Park, Arizona. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Accelerate gradually, both from a stop and when entering a freeway; avoid sudden jack-rabbit starts and rapid acceleration. By anticipating the traffic and applying slow steady acceleration and braking, fuel economy may increase by as much as 20 percent.

3. Anticipate traffic flow

Look at the traffic as far ahead as possible in order to avoid unnecessary stopping and starting within the flow of traffic. Maintain a safe distance between you and the vehicle ahead.

Brake smoothly, avoiding fast stops; rapid braking wastes fuel and cut down your mileage.

Look ahead and anticipate traffic conditions. Slow down well before you need to. Instead of slamming on your breaks just before the line, slowly ease off the accelerator, coasting to a stop and thus avoid wasting fuel and wear on the brakes.

When the light changes green, forget that pedal to the metal mindset and, again, ease into it.

4. Keep Tires Properly Inflated

Another fuel saver is to keep tire air pressures at the levels recommended by the tire manufacturer. Tire pressure can severely affects fuel economy.

If the tires are low on air, the engine has to push harder to move the RV ahead. It is important to know that tires can look normal when they are seriously under inflated.

Regularly check the air pressure in all tires, when the tires are cool (air pressure increases while you are driving).

Under-inflated tires can increase fuel consumption by up to 4 percent, according to International Energy Agency.

Proper inflation also reduces the incidence of tire failure.

5. Control your weight

Leasburg Dam State Park, New Mexico.

Control the weight you carry in your RV. When possible, travel with empty gray and black holding tanks and fresh water tank no more than ¼ full. Pictured above camping at Leasburg Dam State Park, New Mexico. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Added weight significantly decreases fuel mileage and increases wear and tear on your tires.

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!

Worth Pondering…

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

—Jackie Mason

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