Man fueling his RV at a gas station

How to Improve Your RV Gas Mileage

With a bigger vehicle comes a greater responsibility to monitor gas prices. You’ve undoubtedly seen the soaring fuel costs at the pump when you gas up your car. So, what do these new high prices mean for RVers?

Since RV owners could spend 30% more on fuel in 2022 vs. 2021, we surveyed the Lippert Scouts to find out how gas prices are impacting their travel plans and asked them for advice on how to improve RV gas mileage.

About the Scouts Survey Respondents

In total, we surveyed 121 part-time and full-time RVers from the Scouts community across 31 different states. These Scouts members have been RVing for lengths of time ranging from less than a year to 10+ years. From our sample of 121 participants, 45% of them own a 5th wheel while 28% own a travel trailer.

Bar graph showing information about survey respondentsBar graph showing information about survey respondents
Geographical distribution of the Lippert ScoutsGeographical distribution of the Lippert Scouts

The Impact of Gas Prices on RV Travel

With gas prices soaring, we were interested in learning how the Scouts might change their upcoming travel plans or habits to better accommodate their budgets. Of the participants surveyed, 27% of the Scouts said they would change their travel plans while 16% said they might modify their plans, and 57% said they would not make any changes. Of those modifying their travel plans, 57% said they would camp closer to home while 22% said they would cancel big trips.

Similarly, the Scouts were asked if they would change their camping activities based on fuel prices. 21% of respondents said they would change their camping activities while 23% said they might modify their activities, and 56% said they would not make any changes. Of those changing their usual activities, the respondents said they would spend less on sightseeing, use a motorcycle or other vehicle with better fuel economy for exploring, or opt for activities closer to their campsite.

Lippert Scouts changing RV travel plans pie chartLippert Scouts changing RV travel plans pie chart
Lippert Scouts changing camping activities pie chartLippert Scouts changing camping activities pie chart

Changing RV Travel Habits

If you’re planning on making changes to your usual travel habits based on fuel prices and your RV miles per gallon, you should also consider the following tips from the Scouts that could help save some money at the pump:

  • Drive fewer miles to camp
  • Stay longer at your destinations
  • Limit the use of your tow vehicle and only use it for pulling your trailer instead of exploring
  • Install an external fuel tank to increase your range
  • Use the Gas Buddy or Open Roads mobile apps to get fuel discounts
  • Adjust your budget to cut back on other expenses
  • Hold off on planning trips for the next year

What the Scouts Have to Say

The Scouts came back with a variety of answers as to whether they would or would not be scaling back their travel plans. Some say fuel prices are part of RV life while others say they’ll have to reconsider traveling long distances.

Tracey Laubitz said she will not be making any changes to her RV travel plans. “We’re too old to scale back our plans now. Life is just too short,” Tracey said.

Rick Hopkins said he won’t be making major changes, but he won’t be quick to move locations either. "We are full-time so really no major changes. We’d already planned to be stationary near family for the summer before fuel went up. Maybe we won’t travel quite as quickly next winter (usually we are moving weekly), but we’re going to carry on," Rick said.

Joe Gross, who owns a diesel RV, said scaling back his trips this year will be a necessity. "We will be pulling back on all long trips other than the two we have booked until diesel fuel prices come down. Keeping it close to home," Joe said.

RV Gas Mileage & Fuel Efficiency Tips

If you are planning on traveling like normal this year, the Scouts suggest a few ways you can improve your RV fuel mileage on the road.

Truck pulling a travel trailerTruck pulling a travel trailer

Maintain proper tire inflation. 

You can easily monitor your tire pressure and temperature through a monitoring system such as the Tire Linc. Easily screw the monitors onto your existing tire valves and keep an eye on your tires through the OneControl app on your smartphone or tablet.

Keep up on your truck and trailer maintenance.

It’s always a good idea to keep a checklist of the maintenance tasks you have performed and need to perform in the future. For maintenance help, feel free to read our blog titled “The Ultimate RV Maintenance Checklist.”

Drive at or slightly below the speed limit. 

Most RVers recommend driving 55 to 65 mph (as the law allows) to get the ideal fuel economy for your RV.

Replace engine air filters and perform fuel injection cleaning at regular intervals.

Keeping your engine clean helps it perform better, which in turn helps you get good gas mileage. If you don’t replace your air filters and clean your fuel injectors regularly, those systems can become clogged or blocked, decreasing performance and potentially causing costly damage to your engine.

Use fuel additives.

By cleaning your RVs entire fuel system, a gasoline additive can help improve your fuel economy.

Carry less weight in your trailer.

It can be hard to downsize when living in an RV, but any effort you can make toward lightening your load is well worth it if you want to maximize your RV mpg.

Travel & Save

It seems that the majority of Lippert Scouts will not be deterred by gas prices, whether they are new or experienced RVers. Even so, it’s a good idea to follow their RV gas mileage tips to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck at the pump.