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Ways #Vanlifers Can Save Money on Gas

It’s Possible To Travel Farther When you Save Money On Gas

Gas is one of the most significant expenses for vanlifers. Road trips and adventures in your van are great, but vans aren’t the most fuel-efficient vehicles around, and the gas cost can add up. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways you can save money on gas for your van. Let’s look at ten ways you can save at the pump. 

Stay Longer To Save Money On Gas

A camper van parked and set up to camp
Staying in one place longer means traveling less, saving you gas money.

One of the best ways to save money on gas is to travel less. It might seem obvious, but if your van is stationary, you’re not using any gas!

Instead, stay longer at your campsite and enjoy more of what it offers before moving on. Look for activities close to your campsite like hikes, landmarks, fishing, or just spend a day watching movies in your bed. By seeing all there is to see before moving on, you can get the most out of your trip and save money on gas. 

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Make Shorter (and Fewer) Trips

When you do take your van out, taking it for shorter trips can really help you save money on gas. If you need to go for a grocery run, look for the closest store to you to cut down on driving. Make sure to get everything you need to avoid wasting gas on repeat trips. 

And this applies anywhere you go—going a shorter distance is always better if you want to save money on gas. When you take a trip, consider camping closer to home, so you drive less and spend less money on gas – like a modified “staycation.” 

Know Your Route

To help you stay on the fastest, most direct route and save money on gas, you should always plan your trip ahead and know your route. If you try to wing it, you’ll either end up on a less efficient route or, worst-case scenario, find yourself completely lost.

Instead, plan your route to take the most efficient route possible. Planning ahead will also help you anticipate and avoid heavy traffic and plan out gas stops to save even more money on gas.

Though RV LIFE Trip Wizard has RV in the name, van lifers can also benefit from the planning features, trip cost estimates, extensive campground database, and search capabilities. You can check out the site for more information and try it free for seven days to see if it’s something that will enhance your van adventures.

Drive Slower and Safer to Save Money on Gas

Woman driving a camper van
Driving at a slower and more consistent speed will save you money on gas and make you safer to boot.

Driving slower and safer isn’t just a good idea – it will help you save money on gas too. 

Every vehicle has an ideal speed for maximum fuel economy. This speed varies from vehicle to vehicle, but generally speaking, your fuel economy drops sharply above 50 mph. By driving at around 50 mph, you can improve your fuel economy by as much as 14%.

Keeping your speed consistent is also important. In fact, accelerating rapidly, braking suddenly, and other unsafe driving habits can massively impact fuel economy, dropping gas mileage by as much as 40%. 

To keep your speed even more consistent, consider using cruise control whenever you can. This will help you keep a consistent speed, and you won’t have to worry so much about watching your speedometer. 

Keep Your Weight Down

Every extra 100 pounds on your vehicle reduces your gas mileage by 1%. So, to maximize fuel economy and save money on gas, you should cut out any extra weight you can. 

Some common things to take out to cut down on weight are:

  • Cookware and kitchen items that you don’t use regularly
  • Unseasonable bedding and clothing
  • Heavy tools

Another major way to cut down on weight is to empty out your holding tanks. A gallon of water weighs about 8.3 pounds, so emptying out your fresh (and gray and black) water tanks can cut down a lot on weight. 

Keep Up with Maintenance

A poorly maintained camper van means poor fuel economy, plus a greater chance of costly breakdowns. By keeping up with maintenance, you’ll improve fuel economy, save money on gas, and reduce your chances of getting stuck or broken down on the side of the road. 

Keeping up with regular oil changes, filter replacements, and other typical maintenance will all go a long way towards improving fuel economy. Using the right kind of oil is important as well – using the manufacturer’s recommended motor oil increases fuel economy by 1% to 2%. 

One of the most important parts of RV maintenance is keeping up with your tires. Always make sure tires are properly inflated, and replace and rotate them when needed to ensure maximum fuel economy. 

Find the Best Prices with an App

Finding the best gas price will save you money on gas, but if you drive around hunting for the lowest price, the gas you use will eat into your savings. Instead, take advantage of technology and use an app to help you find the best gas prices. 

Pay Cash

A gas station price sign that shows paying cash can save money on gas.
The advertised price at many gas stations is a cash-only price, so paying with a card costs you more.

At many gas stations, the advertised gas price is a cash-only price. When you pay with a card, you’ll be charged an extra surcharge. This can leave you paying 5 to 10 cents extra per gallon. 

So, to save money, head inside and pay with cash. It’s not as convenient as swiping your card, but every penny counts. 

Use a Rewards Card

Most major gas stations offer rewards cards. These are a great way to save, especially if you mostly stick to one or two brands of gas stations. Rewards cards will net you discounts, cashback, and other great perks. 

Now You Know How to Save Money on Gas for Your Van

With these 10 tips, you can save money on gas for your van and get the most out of every trip – without breaking the bank. 

Do you have a method for saving money at the pump?

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