How To Get The Most MPG From Your RV
Whether you tow it or drive it, you’ll generally get fewer miles per gallon with any recreational vehicle than you get with a car. RVs are heavy and their bulky surfaces offer increased wind resistance, which accounts for their greater fuel consumption. But if you keep these factors in mind when you rent or buy, you can select a vehicle that will be fun to use and economical.
Medium-sized camping trailers, whether of the fold-out or crank-up variety, can be expected to cut mileage by about two miles per gallon when pulled by a properly equipped tow car. Those trailers with the sleekest profiles and lightest weights will offer better rates of fuel consumption. The more luxurious and self-contained the trailer, the greater the fuel penalty.
Travel trailers are thirsty consumers of fuel because their abundant surface area creates proportionate drag. There are, however, several trailers on the market made of fiberglass that have sculptured lines and thus less wind resistance. One model can be lowered hydraulically to a less wind-resistant height, but when erected has normal inside clearance.
Van conversions, with or without added bubble tops, usually get good mileage at reasonable speeds. These vehicles have clean lines and are only a little heavier than standard units. Depending upon the engine size and your driving habits, getting 15 miles per gallon or more is not impossible. A van conversion offers most of the conveniences of a large motor home without the bulk.
If you use the larger variety of motor homes, make sure that:
- The engine is tuned and the air filter is clean and new.
- Water and waste tanks are empty when traveling.
- Tires are inflated to maximum pressure (or slightly under).
- Wheels are in balance and brakes don’t drag.
- The automatic transmission has the correct type and level of fluid and is adjusted to shift properly.
- Your driving habits incorporate slower speeds, minimum engine idling and less use of low transmission ranges.
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