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How Do You Get Better Motorhome Fuel Economy?

Fuel consumption and better motorhome fuel economy is always a top priority for RVers.  Even if you only travel on weekends, we are talking hundreds of dollars for a getaway.  In an economy where gas and diesel can reach more than five dollars per gallon, we are talking serious budget concerns.  Whether you have the funds or not, as travelers, it is not our goal to pour it all down a fuel tank!

Creative Ideas for Better Motorhome Fuel Economy

We aren’t going to control the price of fuel. But we still want the best motorhome fuel economy to save money. We can make adjustments that will help us focus more on the RV experience and less on the economy. Ask yourself these questions to help you get better motorhome fuel economy and ave money on gas. The answers may surprise you.

What is your RV weight?

Naturally, the heavier it is, the more fuel it is going to take you to haul it.  Here is a list of things you can do to minimize the extra cost:

  • Go through your RV and get rid of things you haven’t used in a while.  It had been two years since we purchase our RV when we did this.  I estimate we removed about 300 pounds of excess and non-missed weight.
  • Everything adds up so don’t keep backups of everyday items (just critical parts).  If you can consume it or use it up in a week, you should wait to get more of the same item.
  • Don’t travel with your tanks full.  Sometimes it makes the ride smoother to have a little in your tanks.  Or the place you will be going won’t have the resources.  But try and empty tanks prior to travel and fill up on arrival.  This can save you hundreds of pounds in excess weight. 

How long do you stay?

Staying a week or month can save your on fuel and more
Staying a week or month can save your on fuel and more

If you are a full-timer or seasonal traveler – stay longer in one place.  Plan your trip so you can tour several hours around your surrounding area without relocating the RV.  Take your tow, motorcycles, e-bikes, or anything that uses less fuel to tour.  Bonus:  This also helps the budget by having a monthly lower RV park rate and leaves you more time to sightsee versus packing and relocating the RV too.  If you stay someplace a month versus moving every week, you have probably already saved yourself around $5-800.

Where are you traveling?

While fuel prices are high or your budget is tight, consider where you are traveling.  Here are things that will affect your fuel economy:

  • Traversing Mountains and hilly areas.
  • Known areas for high fuel prices
  • Routes that may have traffic rerouting or delays
  • Using your RV instead of a tow vehicle to reach certain destinations during your RV trip
How do you travel? (Image: @Mtn. Lion, iRV2 Forums Member)

How are you traveling?

Don’t speed.  This is probably one of the worst things you can do that will affect your fuel economy.  Keeping your speed at a nice 65 mph can save you around 8%.  Bonus:  You are also safer driving at the lower speeds. 

If you are already in a diesel RV, it may have cost more in the beginning but as far as fuel savings, it can be 10-15% better on fuel efficiency than gas motorhomes.  If you don’t know how much fuel you are currently using, this may be a savings issue for you as well.  Calculate your fuel costs so you know how you can save and if you need to make engine improvements for better fuel use outcomes.  Also, don’t forget to use fuel apps that can save you $$ when fueling up at the right places.

How do you calculate RV fuel costs?

If you divide how many miles you travel by the number of gallons you use, the result will be your miles per gallon.  For example, if we travel 200 miles and we use 50 gallons, we get 4 miles per gallon.  (Let’s hope we all get better than that!)  To calculate your average fuel cost, you’ll multiply the fuel cost per gallon by the number of gallons you use traveling. For example, the cost is $5, and you multiply it by 50 gallons, for every 200 miles you drive, you will spend around $250.

Here are the average miles per gallon that current RV types get:

  • Class A Diesel  8-12 mpg
  • Class A Gas  6-10 mpg
  • Class C  8-14 mpg
  • Class B  14-18 mpg

Smaller RVs have better motorhome fuel economy, but you may already be invested in your current RV.  Being armed with knowledge to these questions can help you find a balance between the adventures you want to have in your current RV. And, you can still be mindful of the expenses you’ll encounter. The goal is to enjoy your RVing to the fullest, not cut out everything that makes your trips enjoyable.


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