How To Save Money On Fuel For Your RV
It’s no secret that gas and diesel prices have gone through the roof recently. As of today, average gas prices range from a low of $3.89 in Arkansas to a high of $5.74 in California. Diesel prices are even more, with a low of $4.69 in South Dakota to a high of $6.28 in California.
There’s no doubt that record-high fuel costs are going to have many RVers questioning whether they can even afford to RV camp this summer. Those who are truly addicted to the RV lifestyle will always find a way to continue. To help you get out in your RV, we’ve gathered a list of the best ways to save money on fuel this camping season.
1. Camp closer to home
The first way to save money on fuel this summer is to camp closer to home. Camping closer to home (or even in your own backyard) is just as fun, and you’ll save money on fuel. Even if you’re camping at home, you can set up a fire pit and enjoy camping food like smores, your favorite beverages, and family activities.
Kids in the family can easily invite friends to camp with them too. Believe it or not, there are great places to camp very close to you. Search RV LIFE Campgrounds or RV LIFE Trip Wizard to find campgrounds in your area.
2. Travel light
Bring less stuff, and be weight conscious with the gear and food you do bring, and you’ll burn less fuel. Consider that water weighs 8.34 lbs per gallon. Traveling with empty tanks will shave a lot of weight off your rig. Most camping destinations will have places to fill up with water nearby.
3. Bring bicycles for sightseeing or errands
Cycling is a great way to enjoy seeing areas where bikes are allowed. Riding a bike is fantastic exercise. Outfitted with a basket or a set of panniers, a bike can even be used to pick up groceries or other items.
Don’t want to pedal? Look into electric bikes. However, electric bicycles are heavy, so if you want to bring them RV camping, be sure to make an equivalent deduction of the weight of something else in your rig so you can still save weight.
Also, if you are going to use your bike to do errands or go out for lunch, be sure to bring a good bicycle lock (or two) to lock it up with.
4. Limit use of air conditioning
Using air conditioning while you drive can reduce fuel economy by as much as 20%. During warm weather months, traveling early in the cooler early morning hours will help you stay comfortable without using the air conditioner.
5. Adjust your driving habits
Going easy on the accelerator and maintaining a steady speed will help you make real improvements on fuel economy. Reducing speed and using cruise control can really help too. According to fueleconomy.gov, speeding, rapid acceleration, and braking will lower gas mileage anywhere from 15% to 40% on highways and between 10% to 40% in congested traffic.
6. Keep up with vehicle maintenance
Be sure to keep up with vehicle maintenance. Everything from fluid changes to keeping tires filled to recommended tire pressure helps reduce the fuel costs of getting to your destination and back.
Make sure you keep track of all your RV maintenance and repairs with an online tool such as RV LIFE Maintenance. Not only can you keep all of your documents in one place, but you’ll also receive timely reminders when maintenance is due to help you avoid costly repairs and potentially serious accidents.
7. Use a wind deflector
If you tow a trailer, using a wind deflector can increase fuel economy by 3-5 mpg. If you move your RV trailer a lot, consider investing in an RV wind deflector.
8. Use GasBuddy and Fuelly
The free GasBuddy app (and website) lets you find the cheapest gas prices wherever you are. You can also track and compare your fuel consumption and vehicle costs on Fuelly.
9. Plan ahead with RV LIFE Trip Wizard
RV LIFE Trip Wizard lets you completely plan your route, including elevation gains, rest stops, and finding fuel stations along the way. You can also find campgrounds along the way with reviews of each one.
10. Sign up for fuel cards
Fuel cards are a great way to save money on fuel. Here is a list of a few of these discount cards.
- Good Sam Club membership card: Discounts of 5-8 cents per gallon at Pilot Flying J fuel stations.
- The TSD Logistics fuel card can save you 30 to 40 cents per gallon on diesel fuel.
- PilotFlying J has a discount card that will net you discounts of 5 cents/gallon on gas and 8 cents/gallon of diesel, plus discounts of .05/gallon on propane tank refills.
There is no reason to believe that the RV camping season is canceled due to high fuel costs. High fuel costs mean RVers need to be more careful than ever in planning their RV trips, from performing maintenance to choosing affordable destinations and strategic route planning. We’ve got this.
Eliminate RV fuel anxiety by planning every fuel stop in advance, before your RV trip begins. By using RV LIFE Trip Wizard to plan your trips in detail, you’ll know exactly when and where you will need fuel for your RV or truck. You can also vet those fuel stops with satellite and street view to make sure you can get in and out safely, and back on the road.
- Gas Prices Are Rising. Will It Be Too Expensive To RV This Summer?
- 12 Ways To Improve Your RV Gas Mileage
Lynne Fedorick is a freelance writer with 35 years of RVing experience. She specializes in topics such as fulltime RV life, great destinations for RVers, RV organization, RV News, RV tech, and dog behavior/training.
10 thoughts on “10 Ways To Save Money On Fuel This Summer”
I think/know from my own experience that using the cruise control in hilly areas and mountains uses considerably more fuel, not to much extra on fairly level ground. A soft foot and considering the terrain saves much more.
How about getting a Pentagon Federal Rewards Visa Card and get 5% off at the pump. Great card, have used it for years.
Or do both! I use the Good Sam card to get 6¢ off gas at Pilot Flying J, then pay for it with the Penfed card. The Good Sam card gets you a bigger discount than PFJ’s own card. I believe this benefit might be limited to Good Sam lifetime members, though.
Might want to warn people that the tsd logistic fuel program wants your SS # and bank acct info….
I used them on my last trip and it works. One stop I saved $ 63.00. hard to beat that.
They do, but we use a dedicated checking account and just transfer the cost of the fuel from our regular checking account each fillup. Any fuel or credit card, Pilot or Flying J, etc. will require a SS #. We have saved a lot of money traveling across the US last year with this fuel card.
Mudflap is a new app to buy fuel, download the app put in your location and it will give you a discount price to buy fuel. Last fill up saved me 28 cents per gal .Thanks MlU
Thanks for the tips! You have to be careful when recommending places like Flying J, Loves and Pilot Fueling stations and their discounts. While I cannot speak for national prices, I can address Northwest prices and have found that while these big rig fuel stations offer 5 and 10 cents per gallon off with their programs, it leaves you paying much more than you would by purchasing from local competitors. We were in Washington and Oregon last week and saw prices between 50 and 60 cents a gallon higher at the three stations I mentioned.
Watch the prices and don’t spend a quarter to save a dime…
Interesting, but details are not too much use to Brits in UK. Do you have a sister organisation or adviser for UK?
Ben Cosin [email protected]