Strategies for saving $$$ at the pump

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Follow these strategies for saving at the pump on your next RV trip.

By Julie Chickery
We love our rigs, but every RV owner knows they aren’t great on gas mileage. Fuel is typically the second-largest expense in an RV vacation after campgrounds. That means saving at the pump becomes a huge priority for the savvy RV traveler. Here are some great strategies I’ve learned that will help you save at the pump, whether you are hauling a towable or driving a motorhome.

Keep your motor running

The most important thing you can do for your motorized RV or tow vehicle is to keep up with the preventive maintenance. Additionally, getting a fluid analysis performed on your vehicle annually will let you know if you need to adjust anything. J.G. Lubricants is a company that can perform this analysis on your fluids, including engine oil, transmission fluid, and coolant. This will not only help with saving at the pump, but will also reduce overall maintenance costs in the long run. 

Slow down 

Another fuel-saving technique is to simply slow down and enjoy the journey. There are some studies that show if you cut your speed by 10 miles per hour, you can improve your fuel efficiency by up to 25 percent, particularly with a diesel engine. That’s a lot! This technique keeps a few extra bucks in your pocket, and it will keep you and your family safer, as well. 

Shop around 

There are apps and discount programs that will help with saving at the pump. For example, if you have a diesel truck or motorhome, fueling in the truck lanes using the TSD logistics card can save 30-50 cents a gallon. Just remember to follow proper etiquette when sharing the lanes with working truckers. 

Another great resource whether you have gas or diesel is the Gas Buddy app, which allows you to compare prices in the area. As an example, when we were in Tucson, Arizona, last winter, we found the price of diesel varied by as much as 46 cents per gallon within a five-mile radius. With the size of our gas tank, that results in a huge savings.

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Wayne
13 days ago

I believe we RVer’s are not very popular with many others on the highway as well as those who would impose their “green” agenda on the world.
I do not want to aggravate them by not going with the flow on a congested highway so I pull at the speed of the rest of the traffic in that situation.
I make sure my tires are good and use the tire monitoring system on the trailer.
where possible…sure I’ll drive slower when possible.

Dan W.
13 days ago

A Sam’s club card gets you 5%back at the pump. Using flying J or other station membership can earn you a few cents off also. Murphy Gas (Walmart) can earn you a $0.10 discount (for up to 20 gallons) for every 100 gallons purchased. I save the Murphy discounts until I need to fill my Class C. Saved 60 cents per gallon several time. Handy when you know you will be traveling through high cost areas if you plan ahead. 🙂 

Bob P
5 days ago
Reply to  Dan W.

MurphyUSA has stopped their discount using their credit card. I saved 5 cents a gal. for the last 4 years, March 1st they stopped, you can still save 5 cents a gal.by going inside Walmart and buying a gift card and using it to buy the fuel.

Jesse W Crouse
15 days ago

I am still working and everything is about time and how long it takes to get there. No one wants to pay for travel time to and from a job. Soooo, When on a trip in the 40 foot diesel Phaeton no worries. You don’t like my 60 to 65 mph go around when safe!!!!!!!!!!!!

Bob P
5 days ago
Reply to  Jesse W Crouse

We had a 38’ gas motorhome that got 7-9 mpg at 62 mph depending on terrain. At 70 it got 4-5 mpg, with a 75 gal. tank it doesn’t take long to realize where the money is going. When I was driving truck we called RVers rolling roadblocks, call me what you want, I’m driving what I want, since I’m on the interstate there’s plenty of room to pass. When I’m on a state highway I’m driving at least the 55 mph speed limit so don’t ge frustrated, if a long line of traffic is backing up behind me for some reason I’ll find a place to pull over and let them go.

DW/ND
15 days ago

A simple instrument which should be standard equipment on gas engines, is a vacuum gauge. It will tell you in an instant the effect of your foot on the pedal as well as when you are running out of power. Cost around $15.00 or so on Ebay or most any parts store and are simple to hook up. Even a gust of wind or slight incline will show on fuel performance. It can also show some engine conditions – like in leaking valves etc…..

Bob P
5 days ago
Reply to  DW/ND

It will also tell you when you don’t have enough engine for the load. I was pulling a 27’ 5th wheel with a 351cu in Ford with a vacuum gage that showed 5 in.vacuum that got T boned and totaled, replaced it with a 454cu.in. GMC pulling the same roads it showed 9-10 in.vacuum. It will tell you when the engine is struggling and where your gas mileage is suffering. But if your use to driving with idiot lights it’s meaningless. Lol

Tom
15 days ago

When we were both working we would use the interstate highways to ‘get there’. Now retired we can enjoy the drive and see the country, saves fuel also. When someone passes me doing 70 + towing I usually give them the space they need and hope we don’t see them sideways on the side of the road.

Bob P
5 days ago
Reply to  Tom

Same here.

Grant Carroll
15 days ago

As an NRVIA certified inspector I, and most other inspectors, are trained in how to pull fluid samples for analysis. It is one of the best things you can do to understand the overall ‘health’ of your drive components (engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and generator) to help understand what is, or may be, an issue down the road. It’s just like us going to the doctor to have bloodwork done. We can draw samples from all drivable RVs as well a your tow vehicles for travel trailers and 5th-wheels and can be done at the time of inspection or separately. Even on new coaches it’s good to get a baseline for future samplings and testing.

Bob P
5 days ago
Reply to  Grant Carroll

One statement you make is interesting, if you pull fluid out of a generator that’s a serious problem.

Tim
15 days ago

Looking for some help. Just upsized to a class A with toad.

Feel like navigating truck stop fuel lanes will a lot less stressful, especially for SO.

I currently have a pu truck gas hole🙂.

Do I need to modify for larger gasoline filler nozzles, or what?

If so what’s the best way to do so?

Thanks!

Charlie
15 days ago
Reply to  Tim

The truck lanes are diesel fuel. Sounds like your Class A is gas powered, so you will be filling up at gas pumps.

Tim
15 days ago
Reply to  Charlie

Thanks. I feel like I have used truck lanes before, but it may have been when I was hauling with a diesel pu.

Linda
15 days ago
Reply to  Tim

Tim, we pull our 40′ 5th wheel with an F350 diesel truck. No problems filling up in truck lanes, the nozzle fits fine, it just fills very fast.

Tim
15 days ago
Reply to  Linda

Thank you, I have a gas engine.

Tommy Molnar
14 days ago
Reply to  Linda

My old (and much loved!) 97 F-350 with the 7.3 diesel had the small gas sized fuel ‘hole’ and I had to find diesel fuel in the auto section of any fueling stop. Now, my 2016 F-350 can use any pumps for fueling. Makes it all much easier . . .

But, that said, I still miss my old 7.3. Just sayin’.

Dan
13 days ago
Reply to  Tim

Look for stations with lots of turning room and try to stay on the outside pump lanes when possible. Also Flying J’s have RV lanes, but you may have to wait in line for the cars and pickups that use them during high traffic times. Traveled 6,000 miles in a 33 ft Class C with a 24 ft trailer and only had one time when there was an issue. Couldn’t fuel due to lot size and had to slowly navigate out of the gas side of the really old “Pilot truck stop” .

Donald N Wright
15 days ago

Every RV class I attend, the rules are 60 MPH maximum, slower in heat or rain. Lights on for safety, stop every two hours and walk a little.

cee
15 days ago

That’s how I do it. But I’m always wondering if someone going 80 MPH (speed limit in my state) will come up on me too fast and hit me. It doesn’t make me go more than 60, but it is a concern.

Steve
15 days ago

When we had a small travel trailer towed by a mid-size, 6-cylinder truck, we could only get up to Interstate highway speeds if we were going down a long hill. So we stayed off Interstates as much as possible and took US highways. We could mosey along at 55-60 and not feel stressed out that we were impeding traffic. And the side benefit was that we saw and camped in a lot of America’s and Canada’s small towns that we would have missed on the Interstates designed to by-pass those interesting places!

Glen & Jeanne Scofield
15 days ago

Long ago, my wife and I realized that we are “process” people. That means that we can say with honesty, “Getting there is half the fun.” The 60mph we drive when we pull our trailer does two great things for us that make it fun: we save gas; we arrive rested, and setting up is not driven by exhaustion. That we enjoy the journey is the icing. It doesn’t get much better than that. Lately, we’ve adopted another strategy: driving only 300 miles per day. We have done that only on one trip to Florida, and it helped us to enjoy where ever we stopped, with time to look around.

Bob P
15 days ago

There are many people who need to read about fuel economy and speeding. When we are poking along at 62 mph we are passed by many who must be driving 75 mph based on how fast they pass. We love to enjoy the trip, not just the destination. I always think if they should blow a tire at that speed there’ll be many pieces to pick up, and we pray that everyone is buckled up. Oh and why am I poking along at 62? That’s the RPM my engine makes the most efficient use of its fuel, torque curve peak! 2650 RPM and it’s not to far over the 55 MPH that wind resistance plays the biggest part in fuel economy. Look it up.

Dan
15 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

Thumbs up! I always wonder “what’s the hurry”?

Derek
15 days ago
Reply to  Bob P

Bob, You are correct!