For the first time in over a decade, gas prices in the US are over $4 per gallon. Diesel in over half of the US is over $5 per gallon.
What does this mean for RVers? Will it change your plans this summer? Well, we talked to 100s of RVers, and even KOA leaders, to find out.
What can we do to help save ourselves a few dollars while still exploring?
Gas Prices Are Skyrocketing
The highest inflation rate seen in 40 years had already affected US gas prices. But since February 28, when Russia invaded Ukraine, the average cost of fuel in the US has risen by over $1 per gallon.
The conflict in Europe isn’t the only reason GasBuddy thinks prices will continue to increase. In a statement released last week, the group stated, “Seasonal factors including increased demand for gas, refinery maintenance and the switch to summer-blend gas, on top of current geopolitical tensions, could propel prices upward of $4.25 per gallon by Memorial Day.”
But as of March 11, the national average has reached $4.331, the highest it has ever been. As much as we’d like gas prices to even out soon, many experts say it won’t happen for a while. The forecast for the national average shows it may reach $4.50 per gallon this summer.
But at the rate of increase we’ve seen this week, could it happen sooner?
How Do Higher Gas Prices Affect RVers?
Travelers worldwide will feel the effects of the rising cost of crude oil.
According to a new survey from AAA, 59% of Americans are willing to make lifestyle changes to offset rising gas prices.
In an informal survey on our Facebook page, we asked if travel plans would change with higher gas prices.
Bren M. said they had been on the fence about selling their RV this year. Rising gas prices helped them decide to go ahead and sell it.
Quite a few people agreed they’ll explore closer to their home base when they travel. Those who have planned trips for late summer or fall will adjust by saving now for the larger fuel bill later. Others have already begun canceling reservations and planned trips.
Pro Tip: As gas prices get higher, use these tips on How To Easily Spend Less Money on Gas.
Readers Polled on the Drivin’ & Vibin’ Facebook Page Added…
From Karen S: We’re full time and want to travel. But today we cancelled a couple of expensive coastal reservations and rerouted a little more direct to Michigan which is our summer destination.
Valerie H: We canceled a trip to Florida which for us is about 10 hours. Looking at somewhere between 600-900 dollars for fuel for a roughly 4 night trip.. not doing it.
Ron J: What use to cost us around $400. To go from Florida to Ohio, in our Coach. Will cost around $1200 and climbing. We may have to stay in Ohio next winter.
Lani N: I am glad we did our cross-country trip last year. We will still go on trips just shorter and closer to home, and use Harvest host, Boondockers welcome and Moochdocking with friends and family to save on campgrounds
Those who said their travel plans wouldn’t change were willing to make sacrifices elsewhere. They’re opting to be more mindful of their spending or slow down on the highways to keep making memories. One person stated they’d look into adding solar panels to allow them to boondock more often.
Some part-timers heading north to their home base are choosing not to meander on the way. Many will look to “driveway surf” with friends and family to cut costs. Once home, they may take quick trips nearby, but not a lot.
This seems to align with what Saskia Boogman, Director of Public Relations at Kampgrounds of America, Inc (KOA), sees.
“Overall, when prices rise at the pump, we haven’t seen a downturn in camping activity. We do see growth slow to some degree, but compared to other travel options camping still remains more affordable as fuel prices increase. The real change we see in camping and RVing is the distance traveled. So, people still camp, they just tend to do so closer to home to keep fuel costs more manageable. That’s one of the greatest parts of RVing and camping – you don’t need to travel far to have an escape.”
Many full-time RVers stated they’ll stay in one place longer than usual if it means saving on gas prices. Cathy H. sold her home and had planned to start full-time travel on May 1. The rising cost of fuel is causing her to find a place to sit in hopes the prices will come down soon.
Todd E. agreed, “Smiles per gallon, not miles per gallon. $20 per gallon fuel prices wouldn’t slow me down one bit. It’s worth every penny for the memories we’re making.”
And Taressa V. said, “…life is too short to not adventure and make memories!!!”
What is the Highest Gas Price in the US?
AAA shows the five highest averages are on the west coast in Hawaii, Washington, Nevada, California, and Oregon.
California has the highest average of every fuel type. The Golden State shows regular gas averaging $5.721 per gallon and diesel sitting at $6.297 per gallon. Both types of fuel have increased by over 50 cents this week.
We can find the lowest averages in the plains states, from North Dakota to Texas. Kansas shows the lowest regular gas prices, while Colorado shows the cheapest diesel numbers.
Pro Tip: With gas prices rising, you may be wondering Is Cheap RV Living Fact or Fiction? We crunched some numbers to find out.
How Can I Reduce My Gas Costs?
There are so many ways we can work to reduce the impact of rising gas prices.
Gas prices can be 10 to 15 cents higher closer to the interstate. If possible, use apps such as GasBuddy, GetUpside, or AAA to help locate low fuel prices nearby. GetUpside even offers cash back at certain stations.
Keep a close eye on those price signs too. Many stations are now charging 5 to 15 cents more when we pay with credit instead of cash.
Loyalty reward fuel discounts are available when you shop at retailers like Kroger, Costco, or Sam’s Club. As a member of Walmart+, you can save 5 cents per gallon at their pumps and get member pricing at Sam’s Club. Gas companies such as BP and Speedway offer 3 cents off every gallon for rewards program members.
Trucking companies are also getting in on the discount diesel offerings to RVers. For example, TSD Logistics has its Open Roads program.
Reducing driving distances will help with fuel consumption. Planning and combining many errands into one trip can also help you save at the pump.
According to AAA, it’s helpful to drive the speed limit. Maintain your engine and keep your tires inflated to get the most efficiency. Try not to accelerate too fast or stop too hard. Allowing your vehicle to slow itself down when coming to a stop can help too.
How Will You Handle Higher Gas Prices?
The impacts of inflation and the global rise in oil costs will be felt for a long time. Whether we RV closer to home or use a more fuel-efficient way to get there, rising gas prices will affect us all.
But no matter where our journey takes us, there are ways to make memories without putting a massive dent in our wallets.
How are you offsetting the higher gas prices?
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Adjusting for inflation (minimal though it’s been) gas was more expensive in 2008 than it is now. Did people really believe fuel was going to stay cheap forever?
@Nan, maybe not forever, that is an awfully long time….it’s like forever…however 2008 was 14 years ago and since then just 14 months ago the price of gas was substantially less…it is my opinion that something unacceptable is making this happen in such a short period of time…do you feel I’m being unreasonable?…I am quite certain more Americans agree with me…by the way your inflation(minimal though it’s been) is approaching record double digit level…hmmmm…another discussion for another time..
@James Harris, Inflation now is less than 8% and economists make it sound like the sky is falling because it’s the highest the rate has been in decades. I’m old enough to remember the days when it actually was double digit — people were paying 14 or 15% in interest on mortgages in the 1970s. We survived. Now mortgage interest is getting close to 6% and it’s “OMG. That’s going to destroy the housing market.” As a society we have short memories.
@Nan,…I thought the topic was about the cost of gasoline…I will admit I commented on inflation saying it was “approaching” double digits and was a discussion for another time…that apparently is now…I also am old enough to remember true double digit inflation…the first house I bought mortgaged @ 12-13%…just out of the military I was young and strong with high hopes for the future..my commander in chief and president then was jimmy carter…how is he ranked among his contemporaries?…I will absolutely agree with you that we as a society have a very short memory…I will also add we (some) refuse to lay blame for polices made by our “leaders” that make living the “American Dream” difficult to say the least…but they our “leaders” always seem to do just fine, working for us as our public servants…