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How to Save Money on Gas When You’re RVing

With prices at the pump constantly changing, finding ways to save money on gas is essential.

RVers are one group of drivers who often experience shock when filling up their tanks. If you’re one of them, it’s time to take action and minimize the impact on your bank account.

Today, we’re sharing some tips that can help you save money on fuel while RVing.

Let’s roll!

One way to save gas with your RV is to join discount programs

Do RVs Use a Lot of Fuel?

The amount of fuel an RV uses greatly depends on its size, weight, and aerodynamics. But how you drive can also have a significant influence. Hard accelerations can be counterproductive in making every drop count.

Additionally, road conditions impact your miles per gallon (mpg). You’ll likely watch this number plummet when navigating steep hills and mountain passes. It’s not uncommon for drivers to experience single-digit performance in these situations.

Class A motorhomes are the largest and heaviest recreational vehicles and have developed a reputation for using the most fuel. It’s common for them to average six to eight miles per gallon in normal conditions. Owners often look for ways to save money on gas because filling these massive tanks isn’t cheap.

When it comes to towable RVs, getting a capable vehicle is critical. If you’re up against the towing capacity, it increases wear and tear and uses more fuel. Depending on the automobile and the load, you could experience anywhere from single digits to 15 mpg.

Save Gas Money by Lightening Your Load

Whether your RV is driveable or towable, reducing its weight can help improve the overall performance. The heavier the vehicle, the harder your engine and other components need to work.

To keep the pounds down on your camper, purge unnecessary items. Start by taking inventory of everything you’re carrying. Get rid of things you rarely or never use. Doing so not only reduces the weight of your rig but also frees up space.

Next, it’s time to accept that bringing your favorite toys on every adventure may weigh you down in more ways than one. Hefty items can take up massive chunks of your carrying capacity. While you may have a great time using them, they can destroy fuel economy. 

Another way to cut weight is to empty your black, gray, and fresh tanks when traveling. A gallon of water weighs approximately eight and a half pounds. Dumping them before hitting the road can reduce the load by a few hundred pounds.

Finally, if all else fails, consider downsizing your rig. Smaller models typically weigh less and offer increased fuel efficiency. However, moving into a smaller RV will likely force you to minimize your possessions.

Slow Down to Save Money on Gas

It’s easy to be in a hurry to get to your destination, but it could be killing your gas mileage. Research by the Department of Energy reveals that most vehicles become less economical after exceeding 50 mph. Unfortunately, it only gets worse the faster you go.

We’re not encouraging setting the cruise control at 50, especially on an interstate. However, we do recommend keeping this fact in mind during your travels. Many RVers refuse to exceed 65 mph, regardless of the speed limit. It not only improves their miles per gallon but also keeps them safe.

Slowing down is applicable in more ways than one to save money on gas. Embracing a travel style where you set up camp for an extended time can also help keep you from spending too much at the pump. Avoid moving from one location to the next so quickly. You’ll use less fuel and have the chance to spend more time exploring an area.

Discover the 7 Deadly Sins of Gas Stations.

Utilize Apps and Memberships for Gas and Diesel Discounts

One of the best ways to save money on gas is to take advantage of discounts. Using loyalty programs from service stations can result in instant savings at the pump. Since many of these are free to join, signing up for them won’t cost anything extra.

Another popular option in the RV community is TSD Logistics. This program gives members discounts for bulk purchases of diesel fuel. Savings vary by location but sometimes cost $.50 or more per gallon. The savings add up quickly, especially when you’re logging many miles.

Remember to harness technology to your advantage. Apps like GasBuddy make it very easy to save money, no matter what kind of fuel you’re pumping. Users do a fantastic job of keeping prices current, and seeing the cheapest options to fill your tank is easy.

Lastly, if you’re a member of retailers like Costco or Sam’s Club, you’ll often find fuel stations at most locations. They usually have the best prices around, too. You can easily cover the cost of your membership with savings.

Many gas stations work with the discount programs

Keep Up With Maintenance to Save Gas Money

A mistake that many RVers make is not keeping up with routine maintenance. Unfortunately, this can kill your attempt to save money on gas. Simple things like checking your tire pressure, changing air filters, and regular tuneups can have an impact.

The Department of Energy estimates that keeping your tires at the proper pressure can increase your miles per gallon by approximately 3%. With a tire pressure gauge, it only takes a minute or two to check all your wheels. It’s such a simple task. There’s no excuse for not doing it before each trip.

If you’re not comfortable doing maintenance yourself, hire a professional. It may cost more, but it’s worth knowing it’s done right. Don’t let a DIY project cause a worse situation.

We answered: Does Filling Up Your Tank in the Morning Get You More Fuel?

Plan Ahead and Save More Money on Gas

A little planning will go a long way in your attempt to save money on gas. The route you choose can make a significant impact on the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Mountain passes often kill your miles per gallon, which may cause you to avoid them altogether. In these situations, considering more economical routes can be a good idea.

Another thing to take into account is when you’ll be traveling. Attempting to navigate a major city during rush hour is challenging for several reasons. The constant stopping and starting often requires a tremendous amount of fuel, especially in heavy vehicles. Instead, plan to pass through these areas during less chaotic times of the day.

We mentioned apps like GasBuddy and TSD Logistics earlier. Search prices along your route using these resources to plan your fueling strategically. It may mean stopping earlier or later, but the savings can be worth it.

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Save Money at the Pump

Finding discounts and other ways to save money on gas means keeping more money in your pocket. So, take advantage of any available opportunities. The savings can help fund your next epic adventure or other major purchases. There’s no need to pay more than necessary at the pump. Challenge yourself to see how much you can save along the way.

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