Many long-time RVers have felt the pinch of higher campground fees and problems even finding places to camp. But that isn’t the only problem we have had. Gas prices are also on the rise. When you get terrible gas mileage, this can have a huge impact on affordability or RVing.
According to AAA, gas prices are the highest they have been in seven years. So if you think your gas bill is going up, you’re right! We’ve even put together a list of up-to-the-day gas price averages for all 50 states.
You can use this information to plan your trip around where gas is more or less expensive. Be sure to check back before your next trip to see if prices have changed.
While you might not be able to change the RV gas prices, there are some strategies you can use to make your trip to the pump less painful.
Gas Mileage Varies Depending on Your Rig
After campground costs, the next biggest cost of RVing is gas. RV gas mileage sucks. That’s really all there is to it. Here’s what you can expect for gas mileage based on the type of rig you drive or pull.
Class A RV Gas Mileage
Our Class A motorhome gets between 6-8 miles per gallon while towing our enclosed trailer/jeep. Ouch.
This means if gas costs $3.00 a gallon, we pay around $40-50 for every 100 miles we travel. And as we all know, gas prices can increase dramatically making the cost of gas for your RV even more expensive.
Class B RV Gas Mileage
If you want to save money on gas, a Class B is the best choice for a motorhome. Typically, Class Bs get between 18-25 miles per gallon. This makes for lower RV gas prices overall.
Class C RV Gas Mileage
For motorhomes, Class C RVs come in second place. They get between 8-15 miles per gallon on average.
Travel Trailer and Fifth Wheel Gas Mileage
Obviously, you don’t actually drive a travel trailer or fifth wheel. That means they don’t have a gas mileage of their own. They can impact your tow vehicle’s gas mileage though.
The smaller and lighter trailers will have less of a negative impact on gas mileage than a huge 45-foot fifth wheel. If gas mileage is important to you, a smaller rig is better.
How To Reduce Gas Costs When RVing
Over the last 2 years as a full-timer, I have learned a few tips for reducing gas costs. Here are my best tips.
Travel More Slowly
One way Joel and I save money on gas is by slow traveling. I already mentioned we tend to stay most places for at least a month to get the best price on campgrounds. Slow traveling also helps reduce gas costs as well.
Our gas bill is usually $700-800 for one month and then $100 or less for the next month or two as we stay put. In 2020 our average gas bill was $351 a month. This number includes the cost of me commuting nearly an hour to work for the first 4 months of the year. (In the jeep, not in the motorhome).
We also drove back and forth between the West Coast and the Midwest 3 times in 2020 which increased our overall costs. We weren’t planning to go back and forth so much, but then, was 2020 anything but unexpected?
Travel During Non-Peak Times
Another way to reduce gas costs is by planning your vacations for non-peak times. Everyone loves to travel around the holidays. After all, that is usually when most people get time off work to be able to take longer trips. However, the gas companies know everyone is traveling, so they increase their prices.
If you can take time off work not around the holidays, you’ll have a lower gas bill.
How to Estimate Your RV Trip Gas Costs
Here is an awesome calculator to estimate your road trip costs. Gas buddy considers your city and highway MPG and actual gas prices along your chosen route. It is pretty cool!
- What have gas prices been like near you? Have you been feeling the sting of rising prices?
- Why are gas prices rising? Is it politics, the pandemic, or the popularity of road-tripping this summer?
- What strategies or tips do you use to keep gas costs down?