How to Save Fuel With Your Campervan

An easy to follow guide to Maximise your MPG

Motorhomes are known to use a lot of fuel. However, that does not mean that the high fuel prices have to spoil your holiday.  When you maintain your RV or van appropriately and plan your trip well, you can keep the amount of fuel you use at an affordable level and save money. The newer models are much more a fuel efficient vehicle than older ones. When you follow good fuel-saving tips, you can save even more.

1) A reliable campervan is still a good mode of holiday transportation

reliable campervan

Compared to various modes of transportation, travelling by campervan is cheaper. The cost of flying continues to increase, so travelling by plane is going to be expensive. In addition, after you get off the plane, you still have to find transportation to get around. This adds more travel costs to your trip. You can always opt to take a train, which is a cheaper way to travel. However, that means your holiday can only be limited to where the train goes.

If you compare travelling by car against travelling by campervan for your road trip, you will be using fuel for both travel methods. However, with a campervan, you do not have to pay extra for accommodations. The only fee is for campsites where you park, but that is a lot cheaper than staying in a hotel. If you plan your trip well and use the right strategies, you can save a bit of money.

If you are tempted to cancel your trip because of the high cost of fuel, please reconsider! You worked hard all year, and you deserve a holiday! Going on a road trip is the perfect way to unwind, relax, and let go of stress. Do not wait until the summer season to take a holiday because that is a high travel season, and everything will cost more. Reward yourself now with a small getaway, and just take measures to budget your fuel usage.

2) Choose a high-quality fuel

Another point to consider on your road trip is to fill up your campervan with high-quality fuel. Fuel evaporates more at sea level than at higher elevations. If you fill up your tank with fuel that is blended for high altitudes, and your road trip takes you down to sea level, you might get worse fuel economy because of the evaporation. Large RVs have a large tank. This is intended to be more convenient to the driver because the large tank allows the driver to go a long distance with only one fill-up. However, if the tank is filled with fuel that is designed for one elevation and you travel to another elevation, that can result in drivability issues. Just keep that in mind.

Another possible concern is filling up your campervan with diesel at a fuel station that does not sell much diesel. Diesel that has been stored for a long time can get contaminated. A better choice is to get your diesel at a station where semi-trucks go. This way, you will get fuel from a station that gets a fresh supply of fuel regularly.

Filling up with a high-quality fuel is also important. Major brands like Chevron and Shell provide a better quality product than off-brand or grocery store fuel stations.

Avoid topping off your fuel tank. It is tempting to fill up your tank a little more, but some pumps use vapour recovery, which means the extra fuel you try to fill in your tank ends up back in the fuel station's tank. Filling your tank too much can also risk saturating the granules that cover the storage canister. This might have negative effects on drivability and cause damage to your canister in the long run.

3) Keep the weight down

A big factor that affects how fuel efficient a campervan is its weight. Simply put, the less the campervan weighs, the less fuel it uses. Therefore, when you pack for your trip, pack only what you need to bring. See if you can go without some items that you were planning to take along. If you can do without those heavier items, you will see a difference in your fuel efficiency.

campervan tyre pressure

Water really adds weight to your motorhome. Road trip novices make the common mistake of filling up the clean water tank before they leave. You really do not require that much water while you are on the road, and all that water will add a lot of extra weight to your camper van, which lowers your how fuel efficient you are. Rather, before you depart, take along several bottles of drinking water for the road. When you arrive at your designated campsite, you can fill up your freshwater tank. Along the same lines, always empty your toilet cassette and wastewater tank before you depart so you won't carry that extra weight.

4) Check your tyre pressure

Tyres with low pressure can make your camper van use two to five percent more petrol. On a road trip, that can really add up! So, before you drive off in a camper van you own, always check the pressure of your tyres. If you hired the campervan, ask the owner when the tyre pressure was last checked. When the tyres have the right pressure, your campervan will give you a smooth ride.

5) Make Good Use of Cruise Control

After you have driven the campervan for a bit, you can tell at what speed the vehicle is best driven at that will not tax the engine too much and which will give you the most fuel efficient trip. If the vehicle has optimal performance at 100km/h, for example, then don't drive any faster than that. Just set your cruise control at that speed and enjoy the scenery around you.

6) Minimise Drag

Improving aerodynamics is always a good idea. Instead of packing your things on the roof of the campervan, consider fitting your cargo inside the vehicle. Also, reduce drag by keeping your windows closed and using your air conditioning instead to reduce fuel consumption. You may be surprised to know that it is actually more fuel efficient that way.

campervan driving

7) Be a Defensive Driver

The reward of a road trip is not just the destination. The journey is half the fun! So, take your time on the road and avoid rushing on the highways. There is no need to drive fast. Go at a steady speed of about 100km/h, and you will have a relaxing journey while saving a lot more fuel.

Stay in high gear to avoid taxing your engine. Stay at a slower speed so you will not have to hit the brakes as frequently.

8) Avoid Idling Your Engine

If you are stuck in a traffic jam, or if you are waiting to cross a draw bridge, and the wait is going to be long, turn off your engine. An idle engine can waste as much as 45% of fuel. By turning off your engine, you will be doing the environment a favour by not spewing out engine exhaust while the car is not moving, and you can save on fuel at the same time.

9) Combine Your Trips

If you need to visit a few different places during the day, plan ahead and try to go to these places on the same trip so you won't end up going back and forth. Starting a cold engine for every short trip can use two times as much fuel as starting the vehicle once and going to different places while the engine is warm. Planning a route for be be fuel efficient can reduce the actual distance you drive and stop you using more fuel increasing gas mileage.

10) Choose a local destination

Going on a holiday does not have to mean going to a faraway place. There are probably places locally that you have not yet explored enough. Ireland attracts many tourists every year, and there is a reason for it. Maybe it is time you find out what you have been overlooking.

Exploring your own city can be quite interesting. Staying close to home for your holidays can cut down on your fuel expenses. The distance does not make the holiday. It is the experience of exploration and relaxation that makes a great holiday. So, give a staycation a try.

11) Avoid Traffic

As mentioned in an earlier tip, idling your engine can waste a lot more fuel. Do your best in planning routes that avoid busy roads. Even if the route on the map looks longer, when you factor in the time you waste getting stuck in traffic on more popular roads, you might end up saving time going the longer way. Not idling your engine will save you fuel, and avoiding stop-and-start traffic will be better for the engine.

12) Limit driving after you arrive

After you have arrived at your campsite, there is really no need to drive anymore. If you want to visit a local market or a nearby attraction, ride your bike or take a walk instead. Use public transportation if it's nearby. This simplifies camper van travel as you do not have to pack up the vehicle every time you need to go somewhere.