RV Travel Despite Fluctuating Prices at the Gas Pump
By Mark Polk
I have traveled in their RV over the summer months and will be traveling in the fall and winter months, regardless of fluctuating gas prices. I for one am not going to let high fuel prices change our plans for using and enjoying our RV. With that said, and a motor home that averages 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 your 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.
Research conducted by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) earlier this year shows that I am not the only RV owner that feels this way. The study shows that a strong majority of RV owners intend to use their vehicles more this year compared to last year, despite the fuel prices. RV owners surveyed continue to cite the advantages of RVing - flexibility, control, and affordability - as being important in their decision to keep traveling this season.
RV sales have been at record levels, thus proving the rising fuel prices are not stopping RV travel. There are other ways to combat the higher cost of fuel. RVers can take shorter trips and explore some travel destinations closer to where they live. You can also stay in one area for a longer period of time. This summer we took shorter trips to our favorite beach destination. By taking the RV, we save what would have been a weekly beach cottage rental fee of $900, plus eating out, and it's only a 200 mile round trip. My thoughts are that higher fuel prices balance out with the savings in these other areas.
I am offering these tips for increasing your fuel economy:
* 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 70 mph add 20 cents to the price on the pump!
* Speeding and rapid acceleration reduces fuel economy anywhere from 5 to 33% depending on your individual driving habits.
* Something as simple as a clean air filter can improve your fuel economy up to 10%.
* 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.
* 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 are cold, before traveling more than one mile.
I think former RVIA president, David Humphreys, sums it up best when he said "RVs are a comfortable, convenient, stress-free way to travel, enjoy the great outdoors and spend quality time with family."
Copyright 2006 by Mark J. Polk owner of RV Education 101
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. http://www.rveducation101.com/
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