By Russ and Tiña De Maris
As you roll across America in your RV, there are several constants of our universe: You’ll have to stop to refuel, and you’ll run across plenty of casinos that offer “cheap fuel.” Are the two compatible with your wallet?
Here’s an area where that good old Latin expression caveat emptor comes into clear focus. As a kid you may have gone down to the local reservation to buy fireworks – after all, you could by the “good ones” that you couldn’t get elsewhere. Plenty of adults slip off “to the rez” to buy cigarettes where prices always seem to be lower. We won’t get into ethics and health here, but when it comes to RV fuel, look closely.
One of our annual road tours takes us up the Interstate 5 corridor through Oregon. Down at the lower end, there’s a tribal casino out away from major cities. The outfit puts a real emphasis on their low-cost gas and diesel, and more than once we’ve been tempted to pull in and fill up. But on closer inspection, we’ve found the prices they offer aren’t better – in fact they’re often higher – than a truck stop a few miles up the road.
Traveling along the eastern side of the California Sierras the other day, we again spotted advertising for “low price fuel” up the road from Lone Pine. Having enough fuel for a bit more travel, we compared prices in Lone Pine and headed on up the road to the tribal casino/fuel stop. We were pleasantly surprised to find diesel at 20 cents below the prevailing price, and gasoline not far behind.
What’s the deal? Like fuel stops run by anyone, tribal fuel stations may give you a good price, or may shake you down. If you’re computer equipped and have internet access, take a few minutes and look up fuel prices along your route on a site like GasBuddy.com or similar. If you’re armed with knowledge, you may prevent yourself from getting your wallet pumped out at the pump.