How Are RV Travelers Adjusting to High Gas Prices?

Taking a road trip by car can be an enjoyable experience, but it’s even better if you have an RV. RV travelers have more space for everyone to move around, and you can even use them as temporary hotel rooms. As we’ve seen, some RVs are even nice enough to serve as permanent residences.

Still, a large vehicle like an RV consumes more gas than the average car. Has the high gas price deterred RV drivers from taking as many trips?

How much does it cost to fill up an RV?

A Chevron gas station displaying high gas prices that RV travelers are trying to beat.
High gas prices | Getty Images

According to CNN, one Alabama family said it could take $900 to fill up their RV. This isn’t surprising, given that RVs typically only get around 10 mpg at best.

However, as CNN points out, taking vacations inside RVs can help you manage other costs. Since drivers feel comfortable taking longer trips inside these vehicles, they don’t need to spend money on plane tickets. Depending on where you fly, Bankrate says that the average round-trip could cost over $350 per person.

Even if flying takes less time, you’re hit with several costs after you disembark. You have to arrange for a rideshare service to get to your hotel or rent a car. Unless you’re arriving at a suite or a friend’s house, you’ll probably also spend a lot of money on cooked food through takeout restaurants.

RV parks might not be entirely free, but they’re generally less expensive than hotel rooms. The kitchens inside RVs are functional despite their small sizes. RVs also have a lot of interior storage, so you can bring more items along for your trip without worrying about extra luggage fees.

How RV travelers can manage high gas prices

An excellent way to cut fuel costs in any vehicle is to take shorter trips. “Near-cations” is reportedly gaining popularity amongst RV owners. This is when you take a vacation within around 100 miles of your home.

If your destination is further away, stick to highway driving as much as possible. Leave your RV parked for the majority of the trip, ideally only moving it on the first and last day of travel. Companies like RV Share are also making the journey easier for their customers by offering gift cards for gas.

There are also ways to experience the perks of RV vacationing without spending thousands on fuel. RV Share will have RVs delivered to an RV park or campsite after you pay a rental fee. This is also an excellent way to see if RV living or traveling is right for you before purchasing one of your own.

RV travelers are holding onto their vehicles

Despite the rising gas prices, RV sales will probably still be very high in 2022. One popular EV distributor reported at it had nearly $14 billion worth of RV orders waiting to be fulfilled. 

According to CNN, RV sales are currently up almost 35% compared to 2021. Over 600,000 RVs were built and sold last year, over 100,000 more than manufacturers initially predicted. RV rentals are also increasing, especially in anticipation of July 4th festivities.

Current RV owners also don’t see themselves selling their RVs anytime soon. Dane and Jenna Lee of Dallas say that they appreciate the flexibility owning an RV gives them. They can decide to take trips spur of the moment without worrying about finding housesitters. 

The Lees live full-time in their RV and seem to prefer it that way. It makes sense from a financial standpoint: paying off an RV is probably preferable to paying a mortgage. 

According to RV Share, an RV can also last 20 years with proper maintenance. If you save gas by reducing your traveling distance, you’ll have your RV for even longer.

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