RV Gas Mileage: Averages & How To ImproveAnthony Day
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- Motorhomes get between 7 to 22 miles per gallon, depending on size and class.
- Class B motorhomes are the lightest and most aerodynamic, getting the best mileage.
- Diesel engines also get more power and better fuel efficiency, though at higher fuel costs.
- Sound vehicle maintenance and inflated tires can boost your fuel economy as well.
- You can also improve your gas mileage and use less fuel with steady speed and handling.
Fuel prices are high and we all want to maximize fuel efficiency across the board, so it’s important to think about fuel mileage in your RV.
The average gas mileage for RVs can be anywhere from 7 to 22 miles per gallon, depending on the size and condition of your RV. Smaller RVs will generally get better fuel mileage than larger ones, but lots of factors can boost your performance.
We’ve brought together the best RV gas mileage information, plus tips on how you can make the most out of every gallon and every mile.
What Are the Averages of RV Gas Mileage?
An RV requires more gas than regular vehicles. They are larger, and require more power to get them where they need to go. Because of this, it’s important that drivers think about their RV gas mileage to make sure they can afford the ongoing costs of an RV.
The average gas mileage range for RVs can vary by lots of factors, but the type of RV you are driving will be the largest dictating factor. There are three major classes of RVs, and we’ve unpacked how to improve RV gas mileage for each below.
Class A RV Motorhomes
Class A motorhomes are the largest and heaviest RVs on the road, and usually have the most boxy designs - which makes them the least aerodynamic and less fuel efficient than others.
A Class A RV will get between 7 and 10 miles to the gallon on the road.
Class B RV Motorhomes
Class B motorhomes are a bit smaller, and have a more aerodynamic design than their Class A counterparts, which greatly helps with fuel economy. They are also much lighter than Class A motorhomes.
A Class B RV will get between 18 and 22 miles to the gallon on the road.
Class C RV Motorhomes
Class C motorhomes perform in the middle of the pack on fuel consumption. They have an aerodynamic front area, but the rear sticks out further beyond the wheelbase which adds more weight and negatively affects aerodynamics.
They are also a bit larger than Class B RVs, though not as sizable as Class A RVs.
A Class C RV will get between 10 and 15 miles to the gallon on the road.
How Can I Improve RV Gas Mileage?
Beyond the weight of the vehicle, lots of things will determine how many miles to the gallon your RV will get.
The aerodynamics of your motorhome’s design is the first factor. Airflow around your vehicle will create more or less wind resistance depending on the design. Vehicles with better airflow will naturally have better fuel economy, as well as more stable handling.
Other Road Conditions and Indirect Factors
The size of the fuel tank may not affect your fuel economy directly, although it will dictate how far you can get before refueling.
Other changes include road quality (smooth versus bumpy), how much acceleration or braking you have to do, tire pressure and tread, your driving style, and even the weather. Packing heavy or light will also determine the overall weight, which can affect gas mileage, too.
Diesel vs. Gasoline
Another key factor in determining fuel economy is what kind of fuel your RV uses. Diesel gives you an edge where fuel economy is concerned, because it provides more energy and burns differently and more efficiently than gasoline.
Generally, diesel vehicles get about 25% better gas mileage than gas-powered vehicles. However, diesel fuel is quite a bit more expensive, so this may be an added expense.
Ways to Improve Your RV’s Gas Mileage
From your driveway to your campsite, there are several things you can do to give yourself the best chance possible with your RV’s gas mileage.
Some tweaks may be more impactful than others, but the sum total of your efforts will really affect that bottom line number we’re chasing.
Think About the Size of Your RV
We’ve already seen that smaller RVs get better gas mileage. If you have the choice, and if a smaller RV aligns with your lifestyle and needs, maybe pass up on the oversized deluxe model and pick something more reasonable.
Sometimes you need a larger RV to accommodate larger traveling parties, but if you choose a slightly smaller vehicle you can give yourself the best shot at getting decent fuel economy on the road.
Perform Scheduled Maintenance
The first and arguably most important thing you can do to get the best gas mileage possible is to check your owner’s manual and perform the recommended maintenance on your RV.
This includes regular oil changes, changing out a dirty air filter or oil filter, maintaining proper tire pressure, and cleaning out the brake and transmission systems.
As with any motor vehicle, proper maintenance and upkeep will not only keep the car looking good, but regular tune ups will reduce wear and make a big difference on the life of your engine. It can also prevent major mechanical failures that could involve costly repair jobs.
Of course, some accidents will happen, and harsh conditions may speed up your need for preventative maintenance, but stay vigilant and proactive by checking your motorhome’s maintenance schedule and following it closely. Regular maintenance will improve your rv’s fuel economy and save money in the long run.
Plan Your Trip
It may seem simple enough, but mapping out your route before you leave home can assist your fuel efficiency. Map out the most direct route possible to prevent any backtracking or winding through longer paths.
Even small changes like avoiding lots of uphill and downhill tracks can help boost your fuel economy. Keeping your vehicle from accelerating and braking too much will put less wear and tear on the engine, which will keep your mileage a bit higher. Taking a little time to map out a fuel efficient route will improve fuel economy and make for a better road trip overall.
Pack Lighter - Consider How Much You’re Carrying
An RV can give you the opportunity to bring all the comforts of home with you, but think about how much added weight you actually need to pack before setting off.
Remember, the more weight you carry, the harder your engine has to work to get it wherever you’re going. This means every pound affects your fuel consumption.
Travel light, but don’t lose your minds over every ounce you pack - after all, an RV affords you the chance to be gone for days or weeks at a time while still living in relative comfort.
Just think about how much you’re bringing with you, and how much you’re realistically going to need.
Inflate Tires Properly
Paying attention to your tires goes along with proper vehicle maintenance, but is worth mentioning on its own because it’s easier to check and maintain your tires’ recommended pressure in the midst of your trip. Tires that are under-inflated can affect how your RV’s weight is distributed, which can negatively affect gas mileage.
Try to remember to fill your tires to the correct tire pressure at each major stop. This small difference in road habits only takes a few minutes, and properly inflated tires can keep your ride smooth and your vehicle from getting that much more overworked.
Develop Good Driving Habits
We’re not going to police your every driving habit here, but there are some tricks of the road that will help you eke out the most power from every drop of gas in your tank.
First, try slightly slower speeds. Stick to the posted speed limits (which you should be doing anyway), but maybe try going just a hair slower than that. If you keep running at high speeds, you’ll burn more gas and your fuel economy decreases, so you’ll get better mileage if you drive slowly.
Use cruise control whenever possible. Keeping your engine at steady highway speeds without rapid acceleration changes and unnecessary braking will keep your engine from burning too much fuel at once.
In addition to cruise control, smooth and steady driving will help with your fuel economy as well. This means steady speeds, but also means avoiding heavy traffic and rough roads, instead choosing roads that are relatively straight and don’t have lots of twists and turns. Choosing a steady lane decreases the strain on your engine and other vehicle systems, and additional wear means worse gas mileage.
Even something as small as turning down your air conditioning can put less strain on your engine. Also, avoid idling for hours on end once you reach your destination; turn the engine all the way off to keep it from constantly burning extra fuel.