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Tips for RV Fuel Efficiency

Sam Leash-profile-image
Sam Leash
July 22, 2020
Tips for RV Fuel Efficiency

With record-high prices for diesel and gasoline, saving on fuel is crucial for RVers. These are the six tips for RV fuel efficiency:

  1. Lighten the Load: Travel light, empty tanks, and pack only essentials to reduce fuel usage.
  2. Don't Tow Unless Necessary: Utilize free or low-cost rideshare services or bikes instead of towing a car.
  3. Tune Up Under the Hood: Regular maintenance like air filter and fuel filter changes can improve efficiency.
  4. Don't Run Your Generator: Skip the generator unless necessary; opt for electric hookups or choose cooler camping locations.
  5. Check Your Tires: Properly inflate and rotate tires for better fuel efficiency and safety.
  6. Choose Stops and Destinations Wisely: Consider terrain, distance, and plan stops ahead to minimize detours and maintain mileage.

Just about everyone is feeling the pains of the gas pump. With record-high prices for diesel and gasoline, many are putting their summer RVing plans on hold or choosing somewhere closer to visit. At Harvest Hosts, we don’t think fuel prices should put a damper on your summer plans. We’ve put together some tips for saving money and making your RV more fuel efficient. Continue reading to learn our six tips for RV fuel efficiency.


1. Lighten the Load

When heading to and from your destination, try to travel as light as possible. Be sure to empty out your tanks ahead of time in order to make your RV lighter. Carefully choose what to pack as well in order to travel lighter overall because, after all, a lighter RV means less fuel usage. For example, consider switching to an inflatable boat in lieu of a heavy canoe, and only pack what you will actually need for your trip. If you didn’t use it last time, chances are you won’t use it this time. Leave the extra stuff at home in order to lower your overall gas costs. Your wallet will thank you.

2. Don’t Tow Unless Necessary

If your RV is drivable, don’t bring your tow car along unless you are entirely sure you will need it. Many campgrounds and tourist destinations offer free or low-cost rideshare services, such as shuttles, to allow you to reach popular spots. You can also consider packing bikes to ride around or utilizing electric scooters if you are traveling near a city. After all, towing a vehicle adds thousands of extra pounds to the total weight of your rig, and you will use more gas upon arrival by driving around to see the sights. mier-chen-TfPVLEtIG74-unsplash.jpg

3. Tune Up Under the Hood

Ensuring your RV or tow vehicle is running smoothly can help with fuel efficiency. Air filters and fuel filters, along with gaskets and seals are just a few items on the list that can impact your overall fuel efficiency. If it’s been at least six months since this was done on your vehicle, consider taking it to a shop or check out our handy article on RV Engine Maintenance to learn some of the basics.

4. Don’t Run your Generator

Did you know that generators can guzzle anywhere from one-quarter to three-quarters of a gallon of gas per hour? Depending on the size and how well-maintained it is, this can certainly add up and consume your precious fuel. Unless absolutely necessary, we recommend skipping the generator. Many Boondockers Welcome locations offer electric hookups, with some Harvest Hosts locations offering them as well. For about thirty dollars or less, you can have access to your air conditioners and all the power you need in lieu of using more gas.

In lieu of braving the heat or requiring hookups to cool down, you can also choose to camp in a more temperate location that won’t force you to use your air conditioners or heaters, which is the main reason for running an RV generator. If you’re traveling in the summer, consider heading north or to a higher elevation for your adventures to reach a cooler climate. If you are traveling during the colder months, then head south and you may not need your heaters at all. In the summer, you can also try to park in the shade and open your windows to lessen the need for AC. Check out our helpful tips on Comfortable Areas for Boondocking in the Summer. roadpass-zn-M2VoZpj0-unsplash.jpg

5. Check your Tires

The tires on your tow vehicle or RV can make a huge difference for your overall fuel efficiency. Before hitting the road, you should always check your tires to ensure that they are properly and evenly inflated. Don’t forget to get those tires rotated as well! We’ve previously discussed RV Tires and all the ways to ensure proper inflation for fuel efficiency and safety. Check it out for all our helpful tips!

6. Choose Your Stops and Destination Wisely

Our last tip involves planning and taking different points into consideration. In addition to considering the climate, when choosing your destination, there’s even more to consider. The terrain you end up driving on can make a huge difference because if there are tons of hills or steep inclines, these will use even more gas. How far you choose to travel in your RV will obviously make a big difference as well. Depending on your budget and how much total time you have for your trip, you can also consider staying closer to home for a longer vacation, or traveling further for a shorter vacation.

When planning your route, be sure to plan out all your stops ahead of time. This can help you budget for gas and limit detours. If you are opting for a vacation closer to home, then consider adding in fun stops along the way to enhance your trip. If you are traveling further, it will be more fuel-efficient to travel in longer stretches to maintain your gas mileage.

There are many small changes you can make to the way you travel to make your gas last longer this summer. While RVs are notorious for being gas guzzlers, this detail does not have to spoil your vacation. Take these tips into consideration to spend less on gas, allow your pocket to go further, and enjoy your next trip more.\

Where are you heading this summer? What are things you do to save gas in your RV? Tell us about it in the comments!

About Harvest Hosts
Harvest Hosts is a unique RV camping membership that offers self-contained RVers unlimited overnight stays at over 8000 small businesses across North America with no camping fees. Boondock at farms, wineries, breweries, attractions, and other one-of-a-kind destinations throughout North America, and you’ll get peace of mind knowing that a safe place to stay is always nearby!
Sam Leash-profile-image
Sam Leash
Sam is a seasoned traveler and RVer of 4+ years. She loves adventures of all kinds and spends as much time on the road as she can. When not exploring in her RV or writing about her travels, you can find her reading a good book, cooking a delicious meal, caring for her plants, or hiking with her dogs.