When you are travelling with a recreational vehicle, there are different ways to save fuel. You can travel slower to conserve gas and air mileage.
Tire Pressure: According to an NHTS survey only 4% of respondents checked tire pressure on a regular basis. For every pound of under-inflation, fuel economy is reduced by 2%.
15 TIPS Fuel Saving Advice for RV Trailers
1. Use lighter loads.
Heavy loads require the engine to work harder and use more fuel.
When you are only driving for pleasure, versus moving or pulling a trailer, reduce your total load by removing unnecessary cargo weight (cargo that is not essential).
Your vehicle will run better with less overall weight on it; this saves gas mileage and reduces the wear and tear on your RV’s engine, transmission, brakes and chassis.
A good rule of thumb for choosing what stays: “If you don’t need it, leave it behind.” Some things that may be left at home:
Coffee cans full of water Weighted-down toys Extra clothing Bulky items which can be used as camp chairs Extra food Coolers Stuffed animals, pillows and similar items
2. Use air-conditioning wisely.
The engine uses more fuel when it is working harder to cool the air inside the vehicle – especially on hot days with lots of windows open.
Try running the A/C for short periods of time instead of letting it run constantly. It works great as a “spot cooler” – turn it on only long enough to cool down that part of the cabin which is really hot (after you have opened windows in other parts).
For example, if you are driving down a highway with all your windows open except over one person’s seat, then use the A/C just on that seat so everyone else stays cooler by having their windows open while they enjoy fresh air. Always use the A/C in moderation.
For gas savings, only run the air conditioner when you must , and turn it off if you can ‘t stand it anymore !
3. Plan ahead.
You will save fuel by slowing down (and therefore using less fuel) if your driving is not impulsive and planned out well .
This means having a good idea of where you are going and coming up with a plan of how to get there – before getting on the road.
It also helps to have only one or two stops between destinations, rather than stopping at every restaurant along the way. Set a goal for each leg of your trip so that you don’t waste time doing unnecessary sight seeing or snapping pictures at every scenic overlook you pass.
If your trip has a hard deadline, then be prepared to push on even if it means driving late at night and stopping early the next morning. This is the best way to make good time on long trips with tight schedules (if your itinerary is flexible).
4. Use cruise control
Set your speed at 55 mph for more fuel efficiency when travelling long distances on the highway .
This will save gas mileage and reduce stress because you don’t have to keep making adjustments as traffic speeds up or slows down in front of you.
You can still use short bursts of acceleration but try not to let off the gas pedal much – this still saves fuel versus constant speeding up and slowing down (see tip #5 below). Remember to take your foot off the gas pedal completely if you see a speed limit sign showing a lower number (like when entering a town).
5. Look ahead and slow down early
If you are travelling between 65-75 mph on the highway, use cruise control to maintain that speed.
It is much better to slow down little by little over dozens of miles than it is to slam on your brakes for five seconds in order to “save” two or three miles an hour in fuel consumption.
This is also safer because slamming on the brakes uses more energy getting them back up to speed and causes tires to wear out faster. Consistent braking can also be tiring – slowing gradually will help keep you awake at the wheel.
6. Use the recommended amount of engine oil.
Running your vehicle with too little oil can cause excessive friction and heat, which reduces gas mileage as it also wears out the engine parts prematurely.
Your vehicle’s manufacturer will recommend for normal use how much oil you should put in; do not change this unless instructed to by a professional mechanic .
Use enough fuel stabilizer to treat all your fuel and then some (you want just a little extra mixed in there). In winter months, you may need more than one dose per fill-up because of sub freezing temperatures. This keeps water from collecting in your tank during storage periods before you get back on the road again.
7. Avoid jackrabbit starts
When starting off from a stop sign or light, accelerate gradually. The reason is two-fold; it takes more energy to push a car at top speed than to accelerate it gradually up to full speed, and sudden acceleration requires you drive faster on the rest of your trip because momentum carries you that way.
8. Avoid drag racing
If someone tries to race or pass you, don’t compete – just let them win (there will be other opportunities along the road).
They are trying to make time but their methods could actually waste fuel in comparison to yours! It’s also safer for them if they are not constantly speeding up and slowing down.
On long trips, arrive ahead of schedule so that you can take advantage of early bird discounts at hotels / restaurants. You can still enjoy yourself without stressing yourself out about being late.
9. Use the high way whenever possible
Alternate routes may be shorter but they can also waste a lot of time if you have to stop and start over again due to traffic jams or construction work on the highway.
Use your GPS program to help you plan a route that gets you there most efficiently, taking into account distance and traffic patterns (you’ll learn after awhile).
You can even set your GPS to avoid highways which take too much time in comparison to regular roads – this is especially useful for side trips away from main highways where there are lots of junction opportunities.
10. Don’t cruise when it’s not necessary
Using cruise control wastes fuel by maintaining constant speeds as opposed to slowing down gradually on downgrades and speeding up gradually on upgrades. Don’t use cruise control when idling, either (see tip #9 above).
11. Oil filter
Use the recommended amount of oil and oil filter (you can always check this by asking your mechanic or looking at the product label) as excess amounts could clog vital engine parts and reduce power.
Under-filling with oil should be avoided – it may burn off quickly but you ruin more engine parts by using too little than you save in fuel costs.
Over time though, the need for an oil change will increase as a result of using too much; this is very costly and results in excessive consumption of energy due to friction caused by worn-out parts.
12. Drive less
Try to drive no more than one hour per day; it’s healthier for you and your vehicle.
Take a break in the middle if necessary or plan a longer one overnight especially when on long trips. Leaving your vehicle parked for extended periods of time can be harmful – not only will toxic gases be released, but condensation can damage vital engine components leading to unnecessary repairs later.
Fuel stabilizer is also less effective during storage periods so try to use some just before you go into storage – this should last about two weeks; after that period, fill up with fresh fuel and treat it like new again until the next trip.
13. Convert to Propane
There are many vehicles on the road today that have been converted from gas to propane so ask around at different service stations (or look online) find one before your next trip.
Propane-fueled vehicles tend to cost less due to lower fuel prices, are cleaner and can use the same equipment in terms of tanks, lighters and camping gear (stove, water heater etc).
14. Fuel additives
Aren’t necessary as it’s already formulated for all kinds of weather conditions – if you live in a cold climate area where it snows or rains then pick one that is compatible with these types of conditions; otherwise they aren’t worth anything other than wasting money.
Oil additives are also unnecessary though some may work better than others so choose carefully after understanding what each does. Avoid standing water on the roads as much as possible without sacrificing safety – this results in loss of control due to increased friction (and also makes you use more fuel).
15. Try to follow the above tips when out on trips as well
While at rest, it’s usually better to turn your engine off completely (it takes less time for it cool down or warm up again) unless you’re going to return quickly and there are other important things that need doing first.
Most vehicle problems occur because of overheating due to inactivity – this is costly to repair so try not to idle any longer than necessary, especially in traffic jams.