Understanding miles per gallon in an RV

By: Guaranty RV
Posted On: May 9, 2012
It seems that fuel costs are on everyone's mind these days especially when you own an RV, so we'd like to give you a few guidelines to understanding how miles per gallon in an RV works.

The industry average for miles driven in your RV each year is about 5,000 miles. We've seen a few full-timers drive up to 9,000 a year, but it's rare. For the purposes of this blog, we'll assume that 5,000 is the average. Manufacturers claim that their RVs get anywhere from 10-20 miles per gallon. That is not the full story however! Here are a few of your questions about fuel economy and RVs.

Is diesel more fuel-efficient than gasoline in an RV?

This really depends. You'll see a great deal of discussion on this topic in the message boards and forums of RV magazines and RV associations. Most would say that diesel is more fuel efficient than gas, but it's not by much; usually one or two miles per gallon. The real advantage of diesel is not so much the fuel economy but the towing capacity. Gas RVs can have better fuel economy than diesel, but this is often due to a smaller vehicle size and weight. And the gas RV has the advantage in initial cost to purchase (it's less).

What's GVW have to do with it?

GVW stands for Gross Vehicle Weight. This is a tricky one to figure out in an RV because your GVW is affected dramatically by a number of things such as whether or not the rig is fully loaded with gear, if you're towing something, and how full your fuel tank is. GVW can help you calculate your miles per gallon in an RV as the weight of the vehicle has a direct correlation to fuel economy. Here's a handy calculator that will help you better plan your trip.

If I add a fuel economy chip to my RV will my MPG improve?

The fuel economy chip can certainly have an impact, though it's also a small one. It's usually 1-2 miles per gallon.

What is the best way to save on fuel in my RV?

There are a few tips that will really help you keep the fuel economy at the optimum level. One, keep your RV serviced as regular maintenance improves the efficiency of your miles per gallon. Two, know your driving pattern. Are you a speeder? A slow and steady? Knowing this will help you plan. And three, check out the sites such as www.GasBuddy.com that have fueling stations across the nation so you can anticipate prices.