Some folks around the campfire thought it was a joke. This week we talked about the recent jump in fuel prices and the “content-to-stay-in-the-campground” people thought we had to be joking. They just could not fathom the idea of $5+ per gallon to fuel their trucks! And the prices continue to rise!
Our campfire discussion might very well have become a ginormous gripe session, but instead, the attitude shifted toward potential problem-solving tips. The consensus? We all enjoy traveling in our RVs. We’ve made plans for upcoming trips. Are there ways to keep our plans intact without breaking our budgets?
RVers find a way to beat high fuel prices
We are a resourceful bunch. RVers, I mean. Over the course of the next hour or so, almost everyone had an idea (or two or three) that may help conserve fuel consumption or help access the lowest fuel prices as we continue on our RV journeys. Maybe a tip or two we discussed will help you, as well!
- Tire pressure. Make sure your rig’s tires are properly inflated before you head out. Plan to regularly check tire pressure each morning before you continue traveling, too. (A tire pressure monitoring system is a worthwhile purchase.)
- Clean and ready. Regularly check/replace your air filter, fuel injectors, oil, and oil filters. Clogged or dirty systems mean greater fuel consumption.
- Engine modifications. If you have the skills and tools to make modifications to your rig’s engine, you may see some fuel savings. Modifying the computer, adding cold air intake, along with other adjustments may require the skills of a professional mechanic. Ask a trusted professional for advice on how to get greater fuel economy through engine modifications.
- Proper fuel. No one wants to pay more for fuel than is absolutely necessary. That said, some RVers claim to get greater fuel economy by using a higher grade of fuel. Because every RV is different, you’ll need to decide this for yourself. Maybe experiment with one fill-up of a higher grade of fuel to see if it adds significantly to your mileage.
- Extra fuel tank. Our truck has an auxiliary fuel tank in the truck bed. When we find cheaper fuel, we make sure to top off the extra fuel tank.
- Pack carefully. To reduce your rig’s weight and use less fuel, pack only what you absolutely need. Economists say for every 100 pounds, your RV’s fuel economy decreases by 2 percent.
- Reduce drag. Avoid using roof rack carriers or other add-ons that will increase wind resistance and lower fuel economy. Also travel with empty water/waste tanks, if possible, to lighten the load.
- Slow down. Several folks said they saw a significant reduction in their fuel usage simply by backing off the accelerator a bit. Frank said, “If I drive 55 or 60 mph instead of 65 or 70 mph, I can save a lot of fuel.”
- Accelerate slowly. “Punching it” when the red light goes to green is not a good idea, especially if you’re wanting to conserve fuel. If you accelerate gradually, you’ll realize more savings.
- Steady as you go. Keeping to a constant speed will help conserve fuel, too. Some people around the fire say they always use their cruise control feature to keep a constant speed. Others disagree about using cruise control, but still try to maintain a constant speed.
- Nix the A/C while driving. Several folks said they saved fuel by not running their vehicle’s air conditioner while travelling. More power to them, but I’m not sure I can do it. I suppose it depends a lot on the outside temperatures.
- Anticipate traffic ahead. Carefully watch the traffic ahead of you as you drive. If you notice a slowdown, ease up on the accelerator in anticipation. An idling motor uses little fuel and by “coasting” you’ll also save on your brakes.
- Turn off the motor. If you must stop for a train or an accident, save fuel by turning off your vehicle’s motor. (I should add that some folks claimed it used more fuel to restart their engines after a shut-down. We had no consensus around the fire on that.)
- Plan carefully. Try to avoid traveling through large cities during rush hour. The constant stop-and-go traffic will eat away at your fuel savings in no time. Finding alternate routes can also save fuel if it means avoiding steep terrain or numerous stop-and-go points.
- Unhitch to fuel up. (For fifth-wheels and travel trailers.) Take advantage of times when your tow vehicle is unhitched from the RV. You may be able to find less expensive fuel off the main highway, and without the RV attached you can access gas stations that are prohibitive when hauling a rig.
- Camp closer. Plan to stay at campgrounds that are closer to home to save fuel. For many of us, just being away from the day-to-day routine is a vacation. Distance doesn’t always matter all that much once you’re settled in, fire up the grill, or toss your fishing line into the lake. More on that here.
- Try boondocking. Admit it! You’ve always wondered what it would be like without hoses and wires tethering you down. Put the money you save in campground fees toward your fuel budget.
- Extend your stay. Remain in one spot longer, if you can. Practice home base camping (see article) and thoroughly investigate the area around your campground before moving on.
Fuel prices savings programs and apps
- Kroger grocery stores offer fuel points for discounts at its company-owned fuel stations. Find out more here.
- Safeway grocery stores also have a rewards system that you can use to buy fuel. Research the details here.
- The free, downloadable Mudflap app will save you up to fifty cents/gallon. Read about it here.
- Not only will GasBuddy guide you to low fuel prices, but its reward system may also save you forty cents/gallon. Find out more here.
- TSD/Open Roads can also save you money on fuel. Learn more.
- Rewards apps like GetUpside and Receipt Hog offer cashback on things you buy. You can use that cash for fuel!
Keep a sense of humor
As always, some “funny folks” offered their own unique ways to save on rising fuel prices:
- G.B. said, “Just don’t look at the cost. It’s all part of RVing.”
- LeRoy offered: “We bought a team of Clydesdales. For now, the feed is cheaper!”
- AJ suggests: “I save a lot of fuel by only driving downhill.”
Do you have suggestions for ways to stretch your fuel budget—funny or serious? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.
- Around the Campfire: Will rising RVing costs force RVers off the road?
- Save money while RVing with these 24 tips
- What day is best to fuel up the RV?
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