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The RV Dream Is Thriving. Will Gas Prices Ruin It for Everyone?

Employees are now carpooling to work. Others are choosing to work from home. People have limited their errands, dining out, and shopping. Americans’ lifestyles are changing as a result of the rising gas prices.

However, what about the RV dream that so many Americans have embraced during COVID-19? Will it quickly die? Let’s look at how gas prices might (or might not) ruin our travel plans. Let’s dive in.

What Is the Average Price of Gas in the US?

On March 7, we broke the existing record of $4.103 per gallon set in 2008. That same week we saw the largest ever seven-day spike of 49.1 cents per gallon. The last record was set after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. 

According to AAA, in mid-March, the average gas price reached $4.262 per gallon. However, that is less than the average Americans paid a few weeks ago. At its peak on March 11, gas cost a staggering $4.33 per gallon.

Prices vary across the country. Currently, you’ll still pay over $5.07 per gallon in California, Nevada, and Hawaii. Residents in Washington, Arizona, Alaska, and Oregon are paying over $4.61 per gallon. 

On the other side of the country, states like Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia have average gas prices under $4.20 per gallon. The cheapest gas prices come from the middle of the country. In fact, eleven states from North Dakota and Minnesota down to Texas and Arkansas have average prices under $3.94.

RV being refilled at gas pump
Trends are showing the price of gas is slowly starting to drop.

How High Will Gas Prices Go in 2022?

When Russia invaded Ukraine in February, gas prices skyrocketed. Crude oil prices were at their peak above $123 per barrel. But in mid-March, prices fell below $110 per barrel. If this trend continues, it will give Americans much-needed relief at the pump. 

On Friday, March 11, the average gas price reached $4.33 per gallon, and currently, it sits around $4.26. So prices have fallen across the US even though the national average is still almost a dollar and a half more than what we were paying last year.

However, we can’t know if this trend will reverse and prices will increase again. Experts can predict, look at data and history, and give Americans an idea of what is to come. 

But with the continuing war between Russia and Ukraine, it’s hard to know if gas prices will continue to decrease or tick upwards again. Before this decrease, when gas prices were at their highest, some experts were saying that we might see an average of $5 per gallon. But now, it seems it’s on a downward swing.

Pro Tip: Save money at the pump with these tips on How To Easily Spend Less Money on Gas.

What Affects the Price of Gas?

The Energy Information Administration (EIA) explains that the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2020 affected gas prices because of the decrease in demand. This appears to be happening again in China as they have announced more lockdowns due to their increased infection rate as of late.

The EIA also reported that “total domestic crude stocks increased by 4.3 million bbl last week to 415.9 million bbl.” This means a reduction in crude prices, too. However, with the continued war in Ukraine, we may see an increase again as Russia accounts for about 12% of the global market for crude. 

So the crude oil prices combined with the supply and demand affect the price of gas for people worldwide.

RV parked at gas station.
Over half of Americans are now changing their adventure plans due to the high cost of gas.

Will Gas Prices Stop People from RVing?

A study conducted by AAA shows that 59% of Americans will change their plans due to increased gas prices. If the price per gallon increases to over $5, 75% of Americans say they will have to adjust their lifestyle. People will take shorter trips and less often. For RVers, this will probably mean camping closer to home rather than taking a cross-country trip. However, this isn’t true for everyone.

Other travelers explain that they won’t let these increased gas prices change their plans. They’ve planned a trip to Glacier National Park or the Grand Canyon, and they’ll go through with it. They’ll just have to factor in the cost of gas.

RVers who live full-time in their rigs also share mixed feelings about their plans. Some will take it slower and move less often, staying a month or longer in their locations. Others will budget for the increased prices and continue moving every two weeks or so to explore different parts of the country.

Pro Tip: Unsure what type of gas is best for your RV? We uncovered Is Premium Gas A Gimmick?

How Much Does It Cost in Gas to Drive an RV?

Some drivable RVs run on gasoline, while others run on diesel fuel. Because diesel costs more than gas, operating an RV with a diesel engine will cost more. The driving distance also affects the total. 

If travelers go 100 miles and stay fairly close to home, what they pay at the pump will be less than travelers who drive from state to state. So it’s difficult to say how much it costs in fuel to drive an RV.

The same can be said for towable RVs. Some RVers drive a diesel engine dually truck while others have a gas engine SUV. The fuel efficiency of different vehicles varies tremendously. 

But let’s imagine a 100-gallon Class A motorhome that runs on gas. At the current national average of $4.26 per gallon, it would cost about $430 to fill up. Because of their weight, Class As aren’t very fuel-efficient and only get about 8-13 miles per gallon. But this one fill-up could get RVers to their destination and back.

What Is the Highest Gas Price in History? 

As mentioned above, the previous record was set in 2008 during the recession. However, we shattered that record of $4.1 when we hit $4.33 per gallon in March. 

Hopefully, this downward trend that we are currently experiencing will continue, and Americans will feel relief at the pump instead. How about you? Has your daily lifestyle changed? Will you be changing your travel plans? Tell us in the comments!

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