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Old 11-27-2006, 06:13 AM   #1
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Location: New Brunswick, Canada
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Default RV Fuel Economy

RV Fuel Economy
By Mark Polk

I for one am not going to let sky rocketing fuel prices change my plans for using and enjoying our RV. So, with that said and a motor home that averages 7 to 8 miles to a gallon I am forced to find ways to save on fuel rather than waiting and hoping that fuel prices will go down. After a little research I was surprised to learn how easy it can be to improve our fuel economy. Whether you’re towing a trailer or driving a motor home there are many ways to improve fuel economy. By performing some simple maintenance procedures and changing our driving habits a little we can save a significant amount of fuel.

One shocking discovery was that for each 5mph you go over 60mph is equivalent to paying 10 cents more per gallon. So if you’re traveling down the Interstate at 75 mph add 30 cents to the price on the pump! Wow, that can add up quick. If fuel prices drop to $2.65 a gallon you’ll still be paying $2.95 a gallon.

So how can we improve our fuel economy?

Talk to other RVers that have a motor home or tow vehicle and trailer similar to yours. Compare gas mileage. If there is a significant difference compare notes and try to determine what makes the difference.

Something as simple as a clean air filter can improve your fuel economy up to 10%.

Checking and adjusting your tire pressure to the proper pressure can increase fuel economy by 3%, not to mention preventing premature tire wear and failures or blowouts caused by over or under-inflated tires. Tires can look normal when they are seriously under-inflated. Use a quality air pressure gauge and check your tires when they’re cold, before traveling more than one mile.

Excessive idling wastes fuel. If you’re going to be sitting still for more than a couple of minutes shut the engine off.

Using overdrive whenever you can saves fuel by decreasing the engines speed.

Using the cruise control whenever possible saves fuel because it keeps the vehicle at a constant speed rather than variable speeds. This applies when you are driving on a relatively flat surface. Keep in mind the over 60 mph rule applies here too.

Keeping the vehicle tuned up and in top running condition saves fuel. A poorly tuned engine can lower fuel economy by 10 to 20%.

Poor emissions and / or a faulty oxygen sensor can cause a 40% reduction in fuel economy. Can you believe that? A 40% REDUCTION.

Following the recommended service and maintenance schedules will save you fuel.

Using the recommended grade of motor oil will increase fuel economy by 1 to 2%.

Using synthetic oils will increase fuel economy by 2 or more percent.

Speeding and rapid acceleration reduces fuel economy anywhere from 5 to 33% depending on your individual driving habits.

Added weight that you don’t need reduces fuel economy significantly. We’re all guilty of this one!

Only using the dash air conditioner when it is absolutely necessary will save a significant amount of fuel.

Use regular gas unless your owner’s manual specifies a higher octane gas. You’re just throwing money away when you pay the extra money for premium fuel.

We may have no control over the prices at the pump, but as you can see we have total control over getting the most out of the fuel we put in our tank.

Happy Camping!

Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk, owner of RV Education 101

About the Author:

RV Expert Mark Polk, seen on TV, is the producer & host of America's most highly regarded series of DVD's, videos, books, and e-books. Sign up for your free "RV Education 101" Newsletter
Mark Polk is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer Three, specializing in wheeled and track vehicle fleet maintenance operations. In addition to owning and operating RV Education 101, (based in North Carolina) since 1999, Polk also has a very extensive RV background working in RV service, sales and management.

Polk has a degree in Industrial Management Technology and his 30 plus years of experience in maintenance includes working as an RV technician, a wheeled vehicle and power generation mechanic, an automotive maintenance technician, Battalion and Brigade level Maintenance Officer, an RV sales manager and also in the RV financing department as the Finance & Insurance manager.

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Old 05-30-2021, 11:20 AM   #2
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Join Date: May 2021
Location: Maryland
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As I contemplate my first purchase, fuel economy is not the highest priority as I will be driving to and from destinations and parking in campgrounds. That said it’s good to know that I can drive and maintain my vehicle more economically over time.

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Old 05-30-2021, 04:10 PM   #3
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Location: Portland, Oregon
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2013 Sprinter 2500, 144"WB. Just calculated average fuel mileage since new resulting with 19.85 mpg.

This includes diesel consumed for space and water heating. Guesstimated mpg for diesel consumption for night space heating with Espar D2 (6 month x 30 x 12 x 0.03 gal/hr.) is 20.6 mpg. Didn’t take for account water heating.

Mileage peaked at 17mpg on low side and 23mpg on high side.
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