If there’s one thing that all RVers can agree is a pain in the tush it’s the cost of fuel. Other than buying your RV, fuel will likely be your most expensive expense while living the RV lifestyle. Saving fuel is not only a smart way to also save your hard earned money, but also is an important part of protecting the earth and being a “green” RVer. Saving fuel takes a little forethought and preparation, but is well worth the effort when you look at your savings.
The biggest factor in your fuel usage is the way you drive. Whether you put the pedal to the metal and enjoy speeding, tend to accelerate more often, or don’t utilize gravity when going downhill, your style of driving can either save or burn fuel. When you hitch a fully loaded travel trailer or fifth wheel to your tow vehicle and couple your driving habits with it you’ll reduce your fuel usage by even more. They key to driving smart is to accelerate slowly, feather your breaking, and abide by the speed limit. Once you get above 60 mph your vehicle’s fuel efficiency rapids decreases. The thought of getting to your destination sooner rather than later can certainly provide incentive to speed, but in the grand scheme of things arriving 30 minutes sooner really isn’t worth the cost of fuel and the risk of getting a speeding ticket. If following the speed limit is frustrating or hard for you try using cruise control to make it a habit. This works best on stretches of road where there isn’t a lot of traffic and you know you won’t have to stop suddenly.
Before heading out on the road it’s important to check your tire pressure and make sure it is at your manufacturer’s recommended level. Low tire pressure can cause your vehicle to have to push harder to move, which in turn reduces your fuel efficiency. In fact, according to fuelefficiency.gov you can increase your vehicle’s efficiency by as much as 3.3% by simply keeping your tires inflated at the proper level.
If it’s been a while since you’ve performed basic maintenance on your vehicle you’ll also want to check and make sure that the air filter is clean and unclogged. Newer vehicles will experience better acceleration, while older vehicles are likely to see a direct impact on their vehicle’s fuel efficiency. While you’re going over your maintenance checklist make sure you’re using the correct grade of motor oil. This can improve or decrease your fuel efficiency by 1-2%, which means that if you use the correct oil you’ll likely experience optimal performance, whereas using the wrong oil can decrease performance by up to 2%.
Saving gas is all about taking small steps toward what impacts the bigger picture. Sure, 1% doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you do 10 things that each improve fuel efficiency by 1% you ultimately increase fuel efficiency by 10%. Each penny you save is a penny that can go toward upgrading your RV, taking another vacation, or enjoying a delicious meal at a nice restaurant.
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