Springtime means RV owners are getting ready for camping season. However, many campers aren’t in any big hurry if fuel prices are high. But, if you’re a full-time RVer or work on the road, you need to think about ways to save money at the fuel pump. And now, more than ever, we need to act on conserving fuel and stretching our fuel dollars.
RV Fuel Saving Tips – How RVers Can Save Money at the Pump
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Okay lead foot, it’s time to back off the gas pedal. Because even driving 5 mph less can save 2-5 MPG. That adds up, especially if you’re traveling long distances.
Also, take the backroads. Not only are they more scenic with places to stop, rest and explore, the backroads have lower speed limits. Therefore, by driving slower, you’re going to get better fuel consumption and save money on diesel or gas.
Use cruise control
If you’re going to be traveling the highways, use your cruise control. It will not only keep you from getting a speeding ticket but also helps increase your fuel efficiency up to 15%. Otherwise, the constant acceleration and deceleration consumes more fuel and puts more wear and tear on your motorhome’s or tow vehicle’s drivetrain.
Back off your dash AC
While you may be enticed to blast your motorhome’s or even your tow vehicle’s air conditioner to enjoy a cool ride. However, it may reduce your fuel efficiency up to 25%! That’s can amount to a huge savings at the fuel pump.
Instead, back off the AC and use one or two small usb fans to circulate their air. You can also place these on the floor to keep your pets cool as well. If we’re on long rides, we may even charge them while their operating using a small battery charger.
Monitor your tire pressure
When trying to save fuel costs, you should monitor and maintain your motorhome’s and tow vehicle’s tire pressure recommended by your tire manufacturer. Under-inflating or over-inflating tires could affect your fuel consumption. For every 1% under inflation can result in a 3% fuel efficiency loss.
So, get in the habit of checking your tire pressure regularly; before and after your stops. Invest in a reputable air compressor for your RV and vehicles. Also, installing a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitor System) is a good idea to prevent expensive blowouts and flats on the road.
On the Road RV TIPS: RV Tire Safety and Maintenance and TST 507 RV Tire Pressure Monitoring System
Your vehicle and motorhome engine has everything to do with fuel efficiency and mileage. So, it’s important to keep your engine in good working condition. Get into the habit of checking your motorhome’s engine regularly (and vehicles); making certain everything under the hood is looked at closely.
You should also change out oil and filter, fuel filter, and air filter when needed. Clogged filters can greatly affect the engine’s performance.
Air filters should be checked often; especially if you’re in high dust areas. A quick easy fix is to carefully blow out dust and dirt using canned air until you can replace the air filter.
For fuel-injected engines, be cognizant of what fuels you use. Some have additives to burn cleaner.Dirty or clogged fuel filters will signal the fuel injectors to push out more fuel into the cylinders thus, requiring more fuel to run your engine.
And, dirty oil and oil filters will slow down your engine’s performance. Particles and sludge can get into your engine’s components and result in expensive repairs.
If your RV is going to be sitting in storage or be parked for a lengthy time, you still want to continue your motorhome’s, toad’s and tow vehicle’s engine maintenance.
Put your RV into storage
First, you never want to store your motorhome or be parked for a lengthy time period with an empty or even partially full diesel fuel tank. This includes parking your motorhome at an RV park for even as little as 30 days.
So, before filling your fuel tank(s), with a fairly empty fuel tank, depending on which type of engine, add a bottle either diesel fuel stabilizer or gasoline fuel stabilizer. The fuel stabilizer will mix into your whole fuel system, including injectors (or carburetor) and all moving components, by the time you park your motorhome or vehicle. Fuel stabilizers help keep your fuel tank from acquiring condensation and they combat microbes. Do know though, diesel fuel can only be stored up to a year to 18 months. Otherwise, diesel fuel #2 will become contaminated and degrade.
Regardless if your motorhome is sitting in storage or at your long-term RV site, you should run its’ engine at least monthly. This will help keep your engine and components from corroding, lubricated and fuel system from gumming up. You should apply engine maintenance to your generator as well.
Lastly, if you’re not comfortable conducting your own engine maintenance, include it into your budget. And don’t think by putting it off will save money. You certainly don’t want an expensive breakdown that can cost you thousands of dollars just to save a penny.
Lighten your load
Almost every RVer we know overloads their motorhome or camper beyond what their RV GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating). Now’s a good time as ever to put your RV on a diet. Not only will this keep you safer on the road, it will help with your fuel efficiency.
So, let’s purge your belongings. Cut down on things you don’t need. Switch out your glass kitchen items for BPA-free plastic. Invest in a multi-use InstaPot instead of keeping a rice cooker, crockpot and other kitchen appliances. Think about downsizing your kitchen and bathroom accessories. And speaking of downsizing, look into downsizing your RV gear too.
When it comes to groceries and food, shop more often instead of loading more than a weeks worth of food. Also, skip buying products that come in heavy glass jars, bottles, and cans. Those product containers will surely add up quickly.
Instead of carting your firewood around in the RV basement compartments or even the back of your tow vehicle, wait until you get to your camping destination.
In other words, ditch anything you’ve not used in the last 6 months. Eliminating unnecessary weight will help increase your fuel efficiency thus, paying less at the pumps.
Lessen your holding tank capacity
When it comes to your RV holding tanks, try to keep your gray and black tanks as empty as possible on driving days. And, unless you’re driving to a boondocking site, don’t carry a lot of water in your tank. You can always refill your water along the way or at designated water fill stations.
Install wind deflectors
Installing wind deflectors to your Sprinter van or tow vehicle can make quite a difference in getting a few more miles out of your fuel consumption. In fact, you can gain about .2 or more MPG (miles per gallon) using a rooftop air deflector, hood deflector or driver and passenger window deflectors.
For our Winnebago View Class C motorhome (Sprinter chassis), we installed a wind deflector/hood protector combination from Form Fit Hood Protectors (now Parttera). Not only does this help with wind deflection on our Sprinter’s front end, but also eliminates possible rock chips in the hood and looks really cool to boot.
Use fuel savings apps
As you’re probably aware, there are several fuel savings apps for smartphones. Our two go-to gas apps are Gas Buddy (iOS or Android) that is crowd-sourced listing prices in their area you’re located. And GetUpside fuel discount app (iOS or Android). Another app we’ve heard about is Gas Guru (iOS or Android).
So, don’t empty your wallet at the pump. These fuel saving apps helps you save time, effort, and money before and during your RV vacation or road trip! You can quickly find the best fuel prices nearby.
Also, for those big rig RV owners who have huge fuel tanks, you may want to check out the TSD Logistics fuel discount card. However, you may want to err on the side of caution. We highly recommend reading their contract and requirements thoroughly. They require very sensitive information such as social security number as well as bank account number.
Park your motorhome for extended periods of time?
Instead of hopping around the country like the Energizer Bunny, to save money on fuel, shorten the distance of travel and camp closer to home. Because the less miles you travel and, when you’re RV is parked means less fuel you’re using less fuel.
And for those full-time RVers who don’t have a home base, you may have to suck it up and park your motorhome or camper for longer periods of time. But, that’s not a bad thing. Because campgrounds or RV parks may offer long term rates which will save you money in the long run. So, slow your roll and take your time getting to your destinations.
More Money Saving RV Travel Tips:
Final words on saving money at the fuel pump
When fuel costs are high, we all have to do what we can to be able to stay mobile. Don’t let the price of price of gas or diesel take the wind out of your sails. GO on that RV vacation or road trip!
Other money saving RV tips
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