Friday, February 25, 2011

How Fuel prices may affect us

Everyone is watching the cost of fuel rise.

I've heard it said that if you have to ask about the mileage a rig gets, you shouldn't be considering buying one.  A version of "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it!"

On the other hand, I have read some full timers and others who RV part time, write that they are staying in one place longer, or not planning any long trips in the near future.  Who knows how many, like Mike and Gerri, have parked and bought a small house again?

I wonder how high it will go in the next five to ten years. 

I've heard speculation about prices rising to $5.00 per gallon this summer, and who knows if it will ever go down again.  

$7.00 or $7.50 may well be the price in a few years.

Will this keep us in our "sticks and bricks?" 

 Maybe.     Maybe not. 

 Being an optimist, I can see one bright side to this situation for people like us.  People who have not yet bought an RV.  

If fuel prices continue to rise, fewer people will feel they can afford to travel in one.  They may put their rigs on the used market. 

So maybe the result will be lower prices on used rigs, and more rigs to choose from.

If we can buy a nice used Class A for $10,000 or $20,000 less, the savings will go a long way toward balancing the higher cost of fuel.  

I'm no good at figuring such things out, so if I'm off on this thinking please correct me.

The way I see it is if you get 7 miles to the gallon, you will burn 5000 gallons of gas to go 35,000 miles.  With a pump price of $3.50 (about where it is now) this will cost $17,500.

If fuel prices go up by $2.00 per gallon, to $5.50, the same 5000 gallons of fuel will cost $27,500.  That is $10,000 more.  

But if you save $10,000 on the price of your RV, and apply that to your fuel budget, you will be even on your travel cost for the first 35,000 miles.  (17,500 miles at $7.50)

So maybe we can go after all!

Unfortunately this does not apply to those who already have an RV.  Higher fuel costs will depress the value of your RV on the used market, while making it more costly for you to travel.  A double-edged sword...


  1. We plan to travel less & stay longer. In Dec '08, we purchased a new '07 Class A. The RV industry was in a downward spiral and the dealership NEEDED to sell, so we got it for several thousand less and we got a great deal. Don't give up on your dream:)

  2. Hi Merikay,

    Thanks so much for your comments. I have really appreciated them.

    Talking of fuel costs. Imagine this.

    Our regular petrol,(gas), is around the $9.50, (USD 7.10) gal. We also expect more increases.

    That was fun working it out. The result is shocking.

    Considering our net monthly income is around $2400 (USD1800) petrol is a major consideration. Not much fun when we are so dependent on our car for everything.

    And we want to come to USA and live the RV life. It's a nice dream But I won't give up unless it really does become impossible.

  3. Our plan is (and was before gas started rising again) is to travel slowly and see all the sights along the way. I see no need to get to say Maine in 2-3 days passing by a ton of other great places we haven't explored either. I'd rather take several months to get to the destination, staying longer in each area. I like the way Howard and Linda (Rv Dreams) travel, and we plan to do the same.

  4. Yup, travel less, stay put longer. We won't give up on our dream either. May have to stretch our food budget, clothes, all that stuff, but to give up because of fuel prices, NO WAY :)

  5. We're already traveling less and staying longer. Two years of increasing costs and decreasing income. This summer we will park the RV and do more motorcycle exploring and tent camping (gulp).

  6. I was thinking the same things as I was filling up my little Mazda at the pump yesterday. Ouch!

  7. Fuel prices seem to rise, cause panic for a while, and soon everyone goes back to our normal gas guzzling ways. I haven't seen any real change in that since the first oil crisis hit us way back some 30 or 40 years ago. I really have no idea what the actual 'tipping point' is but I don't think we're near it.

  8. I agree during high prices we will move around a little slower, even though we are pretty slow already and probably stay longer. I disagree a little with Rick, during the last crisis they did see people taking more mass transit and traveling less. Enough so that the demand also went down. The oil producers didn't like that and the prices changed, went down and we all went back to using the same amount of gas. The oil producing countries need us to buy their oil to survive. I think that it may be longer this time with all the unrest but those countries also need our dollars. I do think the prices will remain higher for quite some time.

  9. I agree with your fuel price/rv cost logic. Just be sure you set aside the rv purchase savings for those increased fuel costs. When we sold our home in 2009 we got a little less for it, but we also bought our RV at a greatly reduced price. If you want to be fulltime RV'ers, you will find a way to justify it and to make it work. We've learned to "park" longer as a way to save money for the high diesel prices. We may not travel as far as originally planned when we head out of FL at the end of May either.

  10. I don't suppose they are making hybrid rigs or putting solar panels on any of them?


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