How Much Does It Cost To Fill Up An RV Gas Tank?Anthony Day
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With gas prices increasing, you may worry about the cost of filling up your RV. How much does filling up an RV gas tank cost these days?
You should estimate the cost when planning a trip, including an RV trip. Underestimating or not estimating at all can drain your savings. You need to figure out what gas, as well as other things, will cost.
If your RV holds 50 gallons of gas, it will cost about $230 to fill it up today. It might cost you less than $100 (with a 25-gallon tank) or nearly $700 (with a 150-gallon tank). Gas currently costs four or five cents per gallon.
A class A motorhome (the largest type) gets 7-13 miles per gallon, compared to 18-25 mpg for a class B (the smallest) or 14-18 mpg for a class C. If you have a trailer rather than a motorhome, you will spend a lot more on fuel than you would if your truck wasn't pulling the trailer.
I have driven many miles with either an RV or a trailer before, and while gas costs do make the hobby fairly expensive, they do not make it unaffordable. Unless you really can't afford it, don't let rising gas prices scare you away from an RV vacation.
The Cost to Fill Up Your Tank
The cost to fill up your tank depends on the price of gas and the size of your tank. At 4.6 cents per gallon (as of July 2022) it costs up to $920 to fill up an exceptionally large RV gas tank. Some examples of RV tank sizes and costs for class A motorhomes are:
- $920 to fill up a King Aire (200 gallons)
- $690 to fill up a Dutch Star (150 gallons)
- $460 to fill up a Navigator (100 gallons)
- $368 to fill up a Canyon Star (80 gallons)
- $253 to fill up an Axis (55 gallons)
Class B and class C motorhomes usually cost less to fill up because they usually have smaller tanks. However, the class or size of the RV doesn't determine how large the tank is. Sometimes, a smaller class C RV has a larger tank than a larger class A.
- $460 to fill up an Accolade (100 gallons)
- $322 to fill up a Triumph (70 gallons)
- $253 to fill up a Greyhawk (55 gallons)
- $115 to fill up a Sunseeker TS (25 gallons)
While many class C motorhomes have small 24, 25, or 27-gallon tanks, you can also get class C motorhomes with 100-gallon tanks. Driving around with a full tank of gas can worsen your mileage, but large tanks are still very useful in some situations.
Class B motorhomes are even smaller than class C motorhomes and have smaller tanks. Most of their tanks are around 25 gallons, with a few being over 50. They are not expensive to fill up:
- $253 to fill up a Platinum (55 gallons)
- $120 to fill up an Eagle (26 gallons)
- $115 to fill up a Beyond (25 gallons)
- $110 to fill up a Tellaro (24 gallons)
Gas Prices in Different States
Since gas prices change from time to time and are different in different parts of the country, you need to look up gas prices for where you will be traveling. You can save money by filling up in a state where gas is cheaper.
As of May 2023, gas prices were:
- $5.49 per gallon on the west coast
- $4.78 per gallon in the central Atlantic region
- $4.70 in New England
- $4.40 in the midwest
- $4.33 in the rocky mountain region
- $4.33 in the lower Atlantic
- $4.26 on the gulf coast
How Expensive is Gas For RVs?
The cost of gas depends on your mileage, which for such large vehicles is low. Traveling 1000 miles at 10 miles per gallon uses 100 gallons of gas, which currently costs 4.6 cents per gallon. It will cost you $460 to travel a thousand miles.
Driving Conditions Can Affect Mileage
A vehicle's mileage depends on the situation. If you are going up and down a lot of hills, your will need more gas to cover the same distance. Wind can make a significant difference (if you have to work against strong winds, you will use more fuel) and so can other types of bad weather.
Mileage for Class A Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are the most luxurious motorhomes you can buy but are also the most expensive. Since these are large, bus-sized vehicles, you might get as little as 6 miles per gallon. Other class A motorhomes give you more like 10 miles per gallon.
More expensive motorhomes often offer better fuel mileage, but it isn't always enough to make a more expensive motorhome cheaper in the long run. The better fuel mileage may never pay for a far more expensive RV.
One tip if you want to save money on gas is to not always drive around with a full tank. If you fill up a large tank all the way, that will weigh your RV down and worsen your gas mileage. 150 gallons of gasoline weighs more than 900 pounds at a little over six pounds per gallon, so driving with your tank only 1/3rd full is a good idea.
Mileage for Class B Motorhomes
Class B motorhomes are relatively small and affordable. They usually have bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, tiny dining areas, and room to store your belongings. However, they do not attempt to have everything a home would have, like class A motorhomes do.
Since they are relatively small (16 to 22 feet in length) class B motorhomes get decent gas mileage. They can get 18 or even 25 miles per gallon. The shape of class B motorhomes also helps make them fuel efficient - they cut through the wind easily.
25 miles per gallon is rather impressive for such large vehicles. Some trucks get worse mileage than the most efficient class B motorhomes.
Mileage for Class C Motorhomes
Class C motorhomes are in between class A homes and class B homes in size and in mileage. You will get around 14-18 miles per gallon, somewhat expensive but not so much that people who can afford RVs won't be able to afford the gas money.
Class C motorhomes use more fuel than class B motorhomes because of the weight distribution and not only the size. They are also pushed around more by the wind than class B homes.
Mileage for Vehicles Pulling Trailers
If you tow a camper behind a vehicle, you will lose very roughly seven miles per gallon. This is a very rough guess - you could lose a lot less or a lot more.
More than anything else, it depends on how heavy the camper is compared to the power of your vehicle. If your vehicle is smaller than adequate for pulling your camper, you will get very poor mileage. Using a car rather than a truck to pull a lighter camper can work better than you would think, but for a heavier one, you need a truck.
Another thing that matters is aerodynamics. If you get a camper that is streamlined and minimizes wind resistance, it won't reduce your mileage as much. Smaller campers also don't create as much drag as larger ones.
Are Diesel RVs Better?
Many large vehicles including RVs use diesel engines because you get better gas mileage this way. You can save a lot of money, especially in the long run, if you get a diesel RV.
However, diesel is not available everywhere. Diesel is better in most ways, but you might have to plan ahead a little bit as diesel is not available at every gas station. Diesel is also better for the environment than gas, but diesel RVs are somewhat more expensive.
How Much Money Will Diesel Save You?
If you are buying a new RV, you might estimate the long-term benefits of a diesel engine. How much will you save over the years? How many miles will you drive, and how much is diesel per mile?
Sometimes, you could lose rather than save money buying a diesel RV. If it only gets slightly better mileage, and diesel is a bit more expensive per gallon than gas, then it might not cost much less per mile to drive it. This could be outweighed by the higher cost of the RV.
Diesel RVs are probably cheaper in the long run, but that is not necessarily true. There is also the issue of engine repair - a gas engine may be cheaper to fix, but it also needs to be fixed more often.
Diesel Motorhomes Are Easier to Resell
If you are selling a used RV, you will get a good price more easily if it has a diesel engine. This is because a diesel engine is more durable and won't wear out for a long time. Even after many parts of an old diesel RV are worn out, the engine is often still good.
Carrying More Stuff In Your RV Worsens Your Gas Mileage
Just because your RV can carry a lot of weight or has a lot of room doesn't mean you have to bring as much stuff as possible. The more you weigh your RV down with stuff, the worse your gas mileage will be.
If you are going to use something, bring it, but don't bring anything you probably won't even use. Bringing unnecessary things along will make your RV more crowded as well as make fuel more expensive.
Buy Most of Your Food After You Get There
You don't always have to shop for food and buy enough food for your whole trip in advance. Instead, you can head to your destination and buy food closer to your campsite. This will save you a bit of gas money.
There are also many others ways to reduce the weight of your RV without reducing the quality of your trip. These little things add up and can save you more than a little money, especially if you are traveling a long distance.
What is Gross Vehicle Weight?
Gross vehicle weight (GSV) is how much your RV can carry safely. If you exceed that by putting too many heavy things in your RV, it won't be safe because it will be too hard to control such a heavy vehicle.
Think About Fuel Efficiency When Buying a New RV
While fuel efficiency is not the most important consideration, it does matter. Remember that it costs $500 to travel a thousand miles if your mileage is fairly low. It could even cost you $650 to travel a thousand miles, or it could cost you only $180 if you are getting 25 rather than 7 miles per gallon.