Unfortunately for us all, the price of gasoline never seems to go down! If you’re visiting on a road trip, or live in a state like California, then add on exorbitant state taxes and fees on top of the already high gas prices. Before your next vacation, use these gas saving tips for RV and van road trips.
We used to live in Los Angeles, California and faced the constant battle of traffic, inflated gas prices and an overall high cost of living. In addition, throw in a little stress and anxiety, and we were literally a hot mess.
That was the main motivation for us to change our lives. As a result, we started learning how to build a website.
So, we got up the courage, started a remote income source, saved a few dollars and moved into an RV. Now we travel full time in our RV mobile mansion, living life on the open road.
Sometimes we cover many miles and spend all day traveling in the RV. I prevent body aches and pains with genius yoga hacks to save my lower back.
Which brings us to how to save money with your RV gas tank. We literally drink the gasoline, so we desperately needed some gas saving tips for RV and van road trips.
Table of Contents
Why is it important to save gas?
Saving gas means saving money. Who doesn’t like saving more money, right?
More gas at the pump, means the further we get to travel, and we love to visit new places! Absolutely love this life!
If that’s not enough of a reason, let’s mention that saving gas is also considered to be an eco-friendly hack.
No need to pinch pennies just yet, but we’re just offering a few helpful gas saving tips for RV and van road trips.
Furthermore, there are definitely a handful of methods to save more money with gas saving tips for RV and van road trips. Approach each money saving category separately to see where you can gain an increase.
Silly question, but do you want to save money on gas?
How do you save more money on gas?
Using a variety of money saving tips, we are going to find better gas prices, learn how to efficiently use our gasoline, and also provide optimal performance with a basic vehicle tune up. Here are three methods to better improve your gas mileage.
- At the gas pump
- On the road
- Vehicle maintenance
At the pump
When purchasing fuel, considerations based on location, time of day and cash back rewards can greatly improve your fuel savings over the long term.
Use smartphone apps to scout the shortest possible route between travel and also to help locate the cheapest fuel prices in the area.
Shop effectively and you too can save money easily!
When to buy gasoline
Do you know that gasoline expands as the temperature rises?
Gasoline is measured at the pump based on volume, not weight. As a result, if you purchase a gallon, you get a gallon, no matter what the outside temperature is.
Wholesalers measure gasoline at a standard temperature of 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Consumers are paying prices at the pump based those calculations.
It is estimated that Americans are spending an extra $2.5 billion dollars on gasoline expanding in warmer weather. That is a noteworthy inflation in price.
If the outside temperature rises over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, then you could expect the volume of gasoline to expand.
The best time of day to make your fuel purchases is between 9pm-6:30am, when the peak daytime temperatures are at a minimum.
While we’re on the subject, Tuesdays and Wednesdays also seem to be the best days to purchase gasoline. The gas prices typically rise on the weekends and fall throughout the week based on the natural fluctuations of sales.
When purchasing 50-100 gallons of fuel at a time, this gas saving tips for RV and van road trips could save you big time in the long run.
When it comes to RVs, some are gas, while others are diesel. The type of fuel you choose is the first step to gas saving tips for RV and van road trips.
For most vehicles, the regular octane fuel is recommended. In most cases, using a higher-octane gas than what the manufacture recommends provides no added benefits at all, except for a price increase.
Some cars require premium fuel, so before using the higher priced gas for no reason, check to see what type is recommended or required.
When it comes to highway diesel, there are #1 and #2 grade. There is also winterized and off-road diesel, but we wont cover that much detail.
Diesel #2 is most commonly available at many fuel stations. #2 has the highest energy content and maximum lubricant properties.
In contrast, Diesel #1 is the winterized formula and is more common in northern states where the temperatures decrease drastically.
The kerosene helps reduce fuel gelling and works well in cold weather. As a result, the kerosene has lower energy output.
Another common error on the open road is not planning ahead. This may seem obvious, but filling up in major cities is one of the best gas saving tips for RV and van road trips.
When we pick our next destination, we start to calculate the distance traveled. We use apps like Waze to calculate the mileage between locations and the best travel route before hitting the road.
Apps like GasBuddy save us huge money out on the highway. When we have our direction and route planned out, we find the cheapest gas station along the way.
Sometimes its close, and other times it’s halfway through the trip. But either way, we are on the hunt for cheap fuel.
We use many of the best apps for RV and Van life. Some apps provide helpful gas saving tips for RV and van road trips, while others direct you to the best food, drinks and entertainment in new cities.
Pay with plastic
When at the pump, consider paying with a credit card. Depending on which card you use, there are a variety of cash back incentives.
Some cards offer more rewards for gasoline than other types of purchases. There are even specific nationwide fueling companies that offer their own rebates and incentive programs to keep loyal customers coming back.
Ranging between 2% to 5%, this could be one of the best gas saving tips for RV and van road trips. Either way review the fine print for any fees, charges, interest rates and the overall benefits.
On the Road
There are multiple ways to improve fuel economy while driving down the road. By reducing weight, wind resistance, idle time and jackrabbit starts and stops, you can drastically improve your mpg.
Don’t take my word for it. Try these gas saving tips for RV and van road trips yourself and notice the money saving difference immediately.
Avoid unnecessary idling
Modern engines don’t require much warm up time. Unless the outside temperature is freezing of course, the engine warms relatively quickly.
The sooner you get moving, the less time you spend idling. An idling engine wastes fuel, costs you money and pollutes the air.
If you anticipate waiting for more than a few minutes, it’s recommended to turn off the engine and save that gas for the highway. While waiting, don’t be afraid to take a few minutes to stretch out your lower back.
This is one of our most important gas saving tips for RV and van road trips. We tow a Jeep Wrangler, and in some states the speed limit for a vehicle with a tow can be as low as 55 mph.
Gas mileage decreases significantly when driving speeds over 60 mph.
As speed increases, the aerodynamic resistance increases exponentially. As a general rule, assume that for each 5 mph you drive over 60 mph is equivalent to paying an addition $0.20 per gallon of gas.
Besides the fact that driving the speed limit is safer, you can save between 7% and 20% on fuel consumption.
Anticipate traffic conditions
Stay alert to the ebbs and flows of traffic by anticipating traffic conditions. Traffic may slow down ahead due to congestion, bends in the roadway and red lights.
No need to race up to the brake lights. Let up off the gas pedal and reduce the need to brake heavily.
As a result, this will save you gas and reduce the wear and tear on your brake system.
In addition, I always activate tow/haul mode in the RV; this helps save the brakes by engaging the engine rpm to slow forward momentum.
Furthermore, when starting to accelerate, press the gas peddle slowly and stay away from higher engine rpm. Slow and steady saves fuel in the end.
Higher engine rpm drains much more gas. Shift into a higher gear as soon as possible, and use overdrive gears and cruise control when appropriate. It is best to try and maintain an even speed when traffic conditions allow.
Air conditioner or windows
Unlike a car’s heater, which uses engine heat to warm the cabin, the air conditioning system lowers fuel economy and drastically reduces engine power.
Use the air condition when you absolutely need it.
When the outside air is cooler than the interior cabin, open the windows to let some fresh air inside.
An RV has the aerodynamics of a brick, so I’m not going to pretend that wind resistance plays an economic role in this decision. But you can save on fuel economy and engine power driving up steeper grades.
Reduce excess weight
This might not be so obvious, but it’s another important gas saving tips for RV and van road trips. Avoid packing excessive tools, equipment and entertainment.
An extra 100 pounds of weight can reduce the vehicle mpg by up to 2%. This drastic affect takes place much more on smaller vehicles than larger beefy engines, but it’s still noteworthy to mention.
Only bring necessary items and be sure to dump your tanks before hitting the road, no need to drag wastewater down the highway.
Another no-brainer for our gas saving tips for RV and van road trips, but sometimes its not necessary to race halfway around the country, just to return back a short time later.
There are plenty of sites to be seen in the local area or at least in the region. Most people haven’t even had the privilege to experience the joys found within their own states.
There are many campgrounds and attractions that some people might not even know about. Find upcoming special events, sports or entertainment that you could plan a vacation around before blasting away for some far off exotic destination.
Perform routine maintenance to keep your RV’s engine functioning properly and running smoothly. These multiple steps make a big difference and are also gas saving tips for RV and van road trips.
Check the tires
Make sure the tires are properly inflated and that they are aligned accurately. Gas saving tips for RV and van road trips like these ensures that the “rolling resistance” stays to a minimum.
Check tire pressure when they are cold. Because of friction, internal pressure increases when the car has been traveling down the road.
In addition, check the tire pressure as the outside temperature drops. Tires can loose 1 to 2 pounds of air pressure for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit the outside temperature decreases.
Get the correct tire pressure from the sticker inside the doorjamb or the owners’ manual, and not from the tires. This insures you have the recommended tire pressure for the vehicle and not the specs from the tires.
Perform regular maintenance
Whether its getting your oil changed, replacing the air and fuel-filters, old spark plugs, fill low fluid levels or just by having a full tune-up done, make sure your engine is running smoothly before hitting the road. This is one of the most optimal performance related gas saving tips for RV and van road trips.
These simple maintenance steps could increase fuel economy and easily boost your gas mileage up to 10%.
Properly up keeping your vehicle does pay off in the long run. Utilize a variety of gas saving tips for RV and van road trips.
In conclusion, shop around, drive efficiently and maintain your vehicle in optimal condition. Follow these simple steps to help you to improve gas mileage and save you lots of money at the fuel pump.
What are your favorite gas saving tips for RV and van road trips? Share with us how you save money!