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What Is The Best MPG For Diesel Motorhomes?

by Jan
(Yelm, WA)

I'm still motorhome researching & shopping. I've decided on a class A diesel, as small as I can find. Now I need to know about mpg in diesel motorhomes. What kinds of diesel engines get the best mpg? Also, which are the most reliable & have the least maintenance costs?

ANSWER: Greetings Jan thanks for submitting your question on our Ask An RV Question Page.

Oh Boy !!!!! I was hoping no one would ever ask this question. Well since you asked, I guess I will do the best I can to give you an answer. The first thing you need to know is that the general rule of thumb for RV MPG is that the bigger the RV the fewer miles per gallon it gets. That rule of thumb generally holds true for both gas and diesel powered RVs.

The average MPG for diesel RVs is around 9 - 14 MPG. There are a lot of diesel Motorhomes that get less then this and there are a lot of diesel Motorhomes that get better than this. You do not say whether you are looking for a new motorhome or a used motorhome. Generally a newer diesel motorhome will get better fuel mileage than an older diesel motorhome, because the newer Motorhomes are equipped with the newest generation of more fuel efficient diesel engines.

As far as maintenance costs are concerned, diesel powered RVs cost more to maintain then gasoline powered RVs. It really does not matter who manufactured the diesel engine the differences in maintenance costs between brand A and brand B is not going to be significant enough to make it the basis for an RV buying decision.

Which diesel engine is most reliable? All diesel engines currently manufactured are all very reliable as long as they are maintained following the engine manufacturers guidelines. Diesel engines will go for 100s of thousands of miles as long as they are maintained properly and not abused by their owners.

I guarantee that there are some RVers that say Cummins makes a better diesel engine then Caterpillar and then there are just as many RVers and so-called experts that say Caterpillar is better and so on, and so on. It is no different than the debate on who makes better cars Ford or Chevrolet. It is an opinion. I choose not to get involved in this debate. You should be fine regardless of what brand diesel engine you get in your RV.

When looking for an RV there are other factors you need to take into consideration aside from MPG. The biggest factors you should take into consideration are whether you will be comfortable in the RV you are looking at. Does the RV you are looking at fit your particular lifestyle? If you solely base your decision on MPG, you may end up being disappointed and may be missing the whole point of what the RVing lifestyle is all about.

I will use myself for example. When we were looking for our current motorhome; MPG was a factor that we took into consideration, but more than that we were looking for a motorhome that fit our own unique lifestyle and one that we would be comfortable in while traveling and camping. The one we finally chose did not have the best miles per gallon of all the ones we looked at, but it did have all of the amenities we wanted.

When the fuel price crisis hit, our family was affected by it just like the majority of other RVing families were. To make up for the lower MPG of our RV we planned trips of shorter distances. The fact that we did not travel as far as we did in the past did not diminish the enjoyment of our RV Camping experience, because we had a motorhome that had the amenities that enhanced our enjoyment. To this day I do not regret getting a motorhome that was not as fuel efficient as we originally planned.

I wish you the best of luck on your RV hunt and I hope that you find a fuel efficient motorhome that also has all of the amenities that will fit your particular lifestyle.

Do you have any suggestions or comments on this topic? You can add them to this page by clicking on the "Click Here To Post Comments" link located near the bottom of this page.

Happy RVing

RVing Al

Comments for What Is The Best MPG For Diesel Motorhomes?

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Diesel mpg
by: Ron

Thanks to all who have shared your advice concerning mpg with the 330CatC7 Diesel.I greatly appreciate your input.

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Diesel
by: Ron

Currently looking at a Newmar 40ft.DP 330CatC7.Anyone have any experience with this coach? Always had gas but going for the DP now.Hope this will be our last as we are getting up in years.

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diesel milage
by: roadster27

i drive slower than a lot of them , going 80 in a barn is not my idea of a family outing , we own a 1999 American Tradition 40 ft with a 330 hp cummins and 6 spd allison trans , at 55 mph we got 10.8 mpg and at 60 mph got 10.4 mpg , iether is very acceptable to me , a 120 gallon tank will take me as far as i feel like going in a day , i have an app on my phone , Gas Buddy and it will tell me where the best priced fuel is along my route and I can pick and choose where i should fill up . my unit weighs just under 28,000 lbs and I have seen some that weigh 45,000 lbs , it takes more fuel to push more weight , our 40 ft MH has a 12 ft slide that does not interfere with any inside appliance so we only put it out if we need more space in the living room . I hope this info helps someone

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Thank you Bob B for the Best Info
by: Ray D

Thank you Bob B for finaling answering the question with a full grasp of the English Language and punctuation, along with useful information. The use of your actual facts in answering the question was very helpful. I especially liked the fact that you gave facts based upon driving at two different speeds on cruise control.

I am ready to trade in my full-time work habits for seasonal work and do it in two different parts of the USA - California Mountains and Arizona Desert at times of the year that I can see temperatures in the 70's to 80.s. My use of a 35-40' Motorhome would be to get from point A to point B stay at each point for 5 - 6 months of the year and maybe some trips to the East Coast once per year. Although I was concerned about fuel economy when I first looked at this article, you, along with some other writers, have convinced me that a Diesel engine is the way to go because of the mountains I will be traversing in California. Because I plan on living in it when I am at either of A and B, I want comfort.

It will be my first experience with RVing but am not afraid of driving a larger MH. I plan to tow either my Nissan Leaf or some other subcompact car so will get the benefit of fuel efficiency and lower carbon footprint when I'm at my destinations and want to travel around town and see the sights. I had first considered buying and/or renting property in both places, but the thought of the hassles of renting them while I'm away or leaving them vacant and hoping for the best as far as vandalism, etc got me thinking in the direction of "taking my home with me".

Again, thanks to all, but especially Bob B for enlightening me.

Blessings,
Ray D

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RV MPG
by: Marty

Owned a 27" Allegro Class A for 20 years. Donated it to an organization after Katrina and I hope someone is still living in it. A good coach got 7-9 MPG across the board with a Chevy 454 Gas. Presently have a Cougar 5th Wheel pulled by a Ford F250 Super Duty w/ 6.7 Diesel. Get 10 MPG towing and 12 overall in City driving. Upgrading this spring to a Thor 40 BX with a Cummings 360. I'll let you know.

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Texas RV salesman's best answer for Class A MPG
by: Anonymous

If you re worried about the MPG, then you probably should not buy a large Class A RV.

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old trucker
by: Anonymous

you only live once. you deserve comfort. doing research for over a year. soon to retire. most every thing larger is 6-12 mpg gas or diesel. I have decided on beaver foretravel or country coach and a few other upper end coaches 36ft. to 40ft. figure on 8mpg. you can drive slower keep about 100psi in 22.5 tires use eco tires carry less wt. stay out of headwinds use cruise control and use powerservice in silver jug to boost cetane for better mpg. 28000lbs to 33000lbs about same mpg.my truck&trailer about 30000lbs empty 8.3 mpg 41 1/2 years trucking I should know wtf its just an opinion nothing is absolute.

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Diesel MPG
by: Anonymous

I asked this same question only to be told if you worry about MPG you can't afford the coach.

Well I ignored that comment as RVing isn't just for the wealthy.

I have owned a 5th wheel and had a 1 ton GMC with a 454. I also used a Aero wing which gave me 2 miles per gal extra when towing averaging 11 mpg across the board with or without trailer.

I then moved up to a 33 ft Motorhome (Gulf Stream+ with a 5.9 Cummins Diesel Motor and 4 speed Allison Transmission, My average MPG is 12.3 and on a resent trip from Texas to Oregon I averaged 12.1 using the 101 and I 40.

A more powerful motor would have been a waste, the 5.9 pulled superbly and never used a drop of oil during the whole trip.

It is also interesting to note in California Diesel is at present cheaper than Gasoline....

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ECO FOOL
by: Anonymous

Great info from so many different perspectives, opinions yes - absolutes NO. One area of complete disappointment - Karl and his misplaced ECO bilge has no place on this forum. You eco fools 'claim' to be the most tolerant of others BUT you never miss a chance to display your intolerance for anyone who doesn't march 'lock-step' with your way of thinking. Take your emotional, pompis, unfounded, unscientific, bumper sticker chatter to a like-minded liberal forum. Let the RV community alone. To all else, RVing is fun, relaxing, great times and as different as each of us. its recreational not political....enjoy!

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2015 Thor Citation 24SR
by: Anonymous

My 2015 Citation 24SR with 70% highway (65mph) 30% mixed 35~45mph: After 2 full tanks, I gets just about 16mpg. Hope this help.

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Vixen21
by: dieseldude

I own a 1986 Vixen21 RV with a 524td turbo diesel power plant. I consistently get 24 to 26 MPG. Winter blended fuel takes me as low as to 23mpg. summer up to 30Mpg MPH typical for me is 60-65mph

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best fuel milage
by: roadster27

mercedes mh gets the best but are a little on the small side 20-25 mpg driving nice and the older 5 cyl ones get 2-4 mpg better than the newer ones with 6 cyl

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my experance
by: gerald

I have a 1993 34ft Damon 454 Chev fuel Injected which I still own. I initially got 9 to 11 miles per gal and I still do. I have found the major cause of the milage differance is the gas I use. Blended fuels cause a little over 2 miles reduction in my millage rate. Needless to say I rarely burn blended gas. Also my interstate driving is usually at 75 MPH. Before I purchased the Damon I owned a 1978 class C 24 Ft 360 Dodge carbirated which got 8-9 MPG.

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full tank how many miles approx
by: Mike

How big are the fuel tanks normally on diesels in a motorhome I'm just looking to see how far i can get before refueling within 100 miles going from Erie, Pa to Houston, Tx

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Diesel Pusher 41 ft
by: dmb1950

After installing new injectors in a 330 cat diesel and 41 ft rear engine pusher. I get around 8.5 miles per gal and average speed of 65, less speed up hills, and pulling a wrangler unlimited 4 wheels down. 2004 Gulfstream 41 ft, freight liner chassis, 330 cat diesel

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You did great!
by: James

A lot of these guys are correct. There can be a lot of pending factors, such as weight, the size of the vehicle, age, with other significant factors. For example my folks and I have just gotten into a 2006 winnebago View which has a 5 cylinder mercedes benz common rail turbo Diesel engine, and a 5 speed torquShift Automatic, electronically controlled Overdrive transmission. With a mercedes 3500 chassis.

Now before my Parents ( hence forth your getting this from a 16 year old with autism) invested in this major purchase, we had rented a 24 foot intermediate class rv from cruise America built on a ford econoline 350 V 10 engine, gasoline chassis.

Demonstrated by this immense statement, efficiency can be improve or compromised, based on fuel, diesel or gasoline, the gross loading weight, ( bags, luggage, people, holding tanks, etc) . All rv, motor home all different, and by logic I agree with the others, there are basically too many external possibilities to put together a solid answer as I have demonstrated. Miles per gallon is only one intermediate factor in an entire category of other detrimental (possibly) factor that can hinder or improve the mechanical capabilities of a specific motorhome.

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Diesel pusher
by: Dennis

We have a 1995 Allegro Bus, 34ft, just made a 3600 mile trip hauling a trailer up over many mountain passes and avg 10-10.5 mpg. 220 turbo Cummings.

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diesel vs gas
by: Anonymous

The Mercedes get the best milage of the smaller c class. the domestic brands are fair but as for maintenance costs I recommend dodge and gm ,ford has too many problems. I have 2 dead fords in my yard that I had paid $14000 in repairs and neither runs,

A gas engine costs about $5000 to replace , a diesel about $20000 . an injector pump and injectors cost $8000 for diesel and $1000 for gas . oil changes for gas are half the price and servicing the fuel system is about one tenth for gas , unless you plan on putting hundreds of thousands of miles on your motorhome you would be better off with gas ,consider the miles you would use it per year and add up all the costs involved , then multiply by the years you would keep it and then consider the extra $10000 it cost for the diesel upgrade and subtract what it is worth used and look at the final number ,you will be surprised .

The only reason for a diesel is pulling power if tow a trailer as I do you may want the extra torque of the diesel but for short trips still not worth it . I purchased my gas mh $12800 , 16 yrs old with 46000 miles , that is 3000+ miles a year , put another 5000 miles in the last 2 years and get 9.2 or so with just the motorhome and 7.2 towing my dragrace car + 24 ft enclosed trailer .

Power is not lacking in the 460 ford big block and cruised up and down hills to my liking (I live in the rocky mountains) and maintenance has been $200 using the best Amsoil oil in the engine and trans service as well as the generator . Consider all the costs involved and what you need for power , either will work well for most needs but diesel costs a lot more for the total costs and very difficult to repair yourself .

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MPG in RV
by: Rev Jerry

We've had an 88 Vixen 21TD pusher diesel RV for over 15 years now, driven it 179,000 miles. Powered by a BMW 524TD engine with 5sp manual transaxle

Overall the average mpg has been 27.4 mpg. It's only 21 feet long, but drives like a car, parks in a standard garage (only 76" tall but roof goes up to 6'6" inside height). Fully self contained. Love it. Worst mileage ever 22, best 33 at 55mph.

It likes 62-63mph. Yes, it will actually deliver 30mpg as it was advertised to do from the factory. Not a lot of storage room, but we spent 255 days on the road with it in 2011. Gets lots of attention everywhere we go.

We would like a bigger coach, but the mileage makes this thing affordable to drive anywhere, park anywhere, without a "toad". And it's retained about 70% of it's new price.

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Considering the diesel RV
by: Joe

Having never owned a diesel powered RV, I can only comment on the current fuel mileage that my 2004 Class A 36' National gets. I am presently on a trip from KC to the west coast, Tacoma, then home.

Through the mountains, on the flat, around the turns, in the straight away.....plan on 6.75 to 7 MPG. I am pulling a car on a trailer but have also previously flat towed a car as well as towing nothing. VERY rarely will it ever sway from those numbers. The best I have ever gotten was 7.9.


We are presently considering an upgrade to a 40'. Diesel pusher and was hoping to get some input on that for comparison to what I presently have.
Yeah, I read most of the comments on here and very few actually answer the guys initial question.
Sorry, neither did I.

Can someone just say what you drive, what year and HP rating is, and what mileage you tend to get without all of the BS?

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All I know is...
by: Tennisshoe 2

I drive a Roadtrek Adventurous RS on a 2008 Sprinter chassis and get 24-25 mpg (that is fully loaded with my "lead foot." Space is at a premium but you learn to live with that. Besides, if you get a little tired of close quarters, you can park it and stay in a hotel almostbanywhere.

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the Vixen gets 30 mpg
by: Someone Else

The vixen motorhome is fairly small, I think its a class c or b+, but it gets 25-30 mpg (diesel). it was made back in the 80s and looks like a van version of the Delorean.

They are very rare as less than 600 were made in the states. Or you could tow a ultra light such as a Lil Snoozy, Escape Camper, Trailmanor or a Livinlite, and get fairly good gas mileage.

I haven't researched 5th wheels very much, but that might be another option.

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Regarding No Answer
by: Anonymous

When you go look at a new Automobile or Truck they have a Window sticker that has the Required Government MPG estimate... but it still has the disclamer, that your MPG may be different. The RV industry is not required to publish that information,and it's not tracked, so it's everyones best guess.. The MPG is on of the least important factors.. (ever owned a boat?) If it is your most #1 issue ... then a VW Jetta TDI Sportwagen with a tent camper (42 MPG) may be your answer... It'll still be FUN!!... and that's what it's all about!

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Too few reader inputs
by: RandyY

I think we had some good answers. I too will be looking to upgrade my 87 34' Winny w a 460cid to a newer 2008 & up pusher. I see nothing wrong with wantyiong to know what kind of mileage to expect. I get 8-10 in my gas rig , loaded up, and am happy with that, but i want to know should i spend the extra 50-80k to get a diesel only to find my mileage is about the same as a newer v10 ford?

I talkin a 34-36" rig. I for 1 am glad a few readers offered their mpgs a hope more would.
Of course conditions always vary, but after driving a year we all should know what we get.

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Real answer
by: John will travel

My wife and I along with my son and wife rented a Winnebago View (Dodge Sprinter Winnebago Motorhome on the Mercedes Diesel,one slide out)and got 18 mpgs driving from Phoenix AZ to the grand canyon . I can tell you what I got. It was small but very comfortable. Slide outs are the best.

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Best MPG for Diesel
by: Jerry Worley

Really liked your answer, could not have been explained any better ! You get a few A_ _ es that know everything ,but I`ll bet they could not do better !

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Politician
by: Anonymous

You should have been a politician. You beat around the bush just like them. You never came close to answering the question. Could it be because you simply don't know??

Comment From RVing Al: It is amazing that comments like this always come from Anonymous sources. At least when answering a question I put my name on it. If you have a better answer to this question please feel free to post your opinion here rather then wasting your time criticizing someone else for giving an honest answer.

Trust me if I were a politician I would be making a lot more money for doing less work :-)

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Avanti
by: Anonymous

I have an Avanti 32`and get 15.4 MPG. I don`t know how but it does the job. They now use the Freightliner chassis

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How to get the most value from your decision!
by: Anonymous

I make my living teaching value to Motorhome buyers. If you take a look at Motorhome sales figures, you will see that class A sales are equal to sales of B and C sales combined.

The fact is that there are many more repeat buyers than first time buyers. Most repeat buyers purchase pre-owned coaches larger than their first coaches. Most first time Motorhome buyers purchase smaller coaches.

I found it takes the same amount of time to gain confidence in a 42 ft coach as it does in a 28. Look deep within yourself and ask why? Also the best years for larger coaches was 02 to 08.
I can find top of the line larger diesels for what you will pay for a starter coach.

Joe Bruno

Www.rvbuyersadvocate.net

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mileage
by: Anonymous

Hi, I am currently looking to buy my 1st RV, not sure abnout class A 25 - 28 ft. or a class B that resembles the C. 25 - 28 ft. I was looking for Diesel but now that I read all the info I am not sure. I am interested in mileage but I will get what is comfortable for me, I will not get a diesel engine if it does not have the amenities I want. I am looking at a MH 2009 - to 2011. Which do you think the better gas mileage. THANKS

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rv types
by: Anonymous

We had a 27 ft class A with a 454 f.i. We pull a 24 ft race car trailer. It got 7 mpg and had enough power. The knock was the brakes and suspension. it was a handful in a crosswind. Last year we bought a 1994 34 ft Monaco Dynasty with an 8.3 cummins. It is rock steady and has power to burn. We get over 10 mpg. Air brakes and suspension bus chassis with semi grade tires. Fornus,nthat was worth the upgrade.

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Missed the point
by: Anonymous

You can either afford to RV or you cannot. We dont buy them for the mileage but for the lifestyle. If you dont like fun and freedom, do not RV.
Those that want must decide what they want in an RV. For me, several times. Sold house. Bought RV. No regrets!

Ya caint spend da muny ifn you is daid

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strange and elitist
by: Anonymous

What's the deal, guys?

Someone asked a legitimate question, and half the answers were self-righteous diatribes about not understanding the RVing lifestyle, or asking the wrong question, some nonsense about "too many variables"

If you don't know, just say you don't know.

Better yet, Don't answer. There are many of us new to RV's, who would like to know some pretty simple answers before we buy our next rig.

Yes, there are variables. Just like in a car or truck.

If I drive my Ford Explorer loaded with camping gear, a canoe on top, blasting the AC, and racing from one stop light to the next, I won't be getting the best mileage suggested by Ford, but I could give a pretty decent estimate without declaring it impossible to figure out, because of all the ungodly variables, or refuse to answer due to it not being in the "spirit" of the Ford Explorer lifestyle...

We would all love to hear anyone's history with diesel MH's, and we'd be helped quite a bit by anybody who knows of a decent resource, or comparison of engine/load MPG expectations.

What doesn't help is weird elitists telling us we don't know what's good for us.

If you don't have anything helpful to share or say, just move on to the next forum, where your voice may well be just what someone is hoping to hear.

And to those who shared their experiences & helpful links (and hopefully those who will in the future), thank you very much for the information! Your answers are exactly what I was hoping to find when I searched out this page

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Cost per trip VS MPG
by: Anonymous

In an article I wrote on www.rvnews.com several months ago, I referred to "Cost per trip VS MPG. I factor all of my trips at $1.00 per mile. This includes things like loan interest, depreciation,insurance and maintenance, on top of the cost of fuel.

Then, there is what I spend for food and entertainment. The bigger the rig, the larger the return. If I needed affordable transportation to get from one part of the country to another and put 15,000 plus miles per year on the road to visit relatives, friends, kids in college, then I should buy a sprinter chassis that gets 17 to 20 MPG.

A large 40 plus ft. motorhome is a destination in itself. There is no need to hurry in most cases. It is the most efficient way to travel for extended periods to anywhere on the continent. The larger it is, the easier it drives, the less stress on the driver. Dealers want you to start small because they know that 99% of first timers are afraid of big motorhomes. Listening to most sales people will sell you about 5 to ten feet short of achieving your ultimate comfort level before you run out of money. Start big! The cost is truly the difference between what is in your bank account before you leave and when you get home from your trip.

Joe Bruno

www.rvbuyersadvocate.net

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Karl
by: brswarb

Alot of your concerns go away when you sell your house first. A nice rv will burn some fuel, but what energy aren't you using by not maintaining a 3-4000 s.f. home!
Think about it-- lawn mower, snow blower, swimming pool,jacuzzi,garbage disposal, big water heater, lawn sprinklers, not to mention heating and cooling costs!
Think about all the STUFF you WON'T be BUYING because it doesn't FIT!
Think about all the stuff you won't be throwing away because you won't be buying!
I know it's hard to think of someone who has a nice rv as a conservationist, but reconsider....

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We keep things simple.
by: Anonymous

We are fulltimers, MH with a toad. We keep things simple.

We go from point "A" to point "B", and that, continuously. Where we are is "A", no matter where we are. When we get to "B", it becomes "A". We often don't know where "B" is. If we do know where "B" is, there is always an "A1", an "A2" or several more along the way.

Our work life was structured enough. Did the "finger in the wind" for a direction to go on vacations. For us, the best plan was no plan. Still is.

We don't figure out our fuel mileage. Doesn't matter anymore.

We simply have fun, and grin in our sleep.

The Journey is Our Destination.

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Total cost per mile (TCM) VS MPG
by: RV Buyers Advocate

Calculating mileage for a diesel MH involves input such as torque, RPM, wind resistance calculated using weight and size.

For example: I can get about 9 MPG with a 45 ft 45,000 lb coach with 650 hp and 2050 ft/lbs of torque at 5 lbs turbo boost.

Those of you concerned with mileage need to shift your thinking to total cost per mile including fuel, food maintainence, etc...

Fuel economy only counts for transportation from point to point. If you want to go from point A to pt B, fly. It's cheaper!

A diesel high end Motorhome is "NOT" transportation, it I a destination!

Joe bruno

www.rvbuyersadvocate.net

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To Karl and roaster27
by: Anonymous

Karl, you missed the point. We do this for two reasons: because we love it, because we can. Damn the cash flow, full speed ahead!

Roadster27, you have hit the right notes. I relax, go sight-seeing, and carve wood. I enjoy it even tho everything ends up pretty much just looking like a slightly modified stick.

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enjoy it
by: roadster27

my first mh a 74 dodge a class ,318 propane got 6-7 mpg ,my current 98 georgie boy ford 460 has got 8.8 best and 5 worst,much more comfy than the dodge and 10 ft longer with very nice comforts ,no slides and will do to pull my 27 t big block 502 alcohol roadster drag car and stay at the track for the weekend and when I retire in 5 yrs we want to buy a diesel pusher and do the tour of the drag strips on the east coast and the south and holiday getting to each one, no rush as I rush when I get there,8.5 seconds @155 mph in the 1/4 mile and I only use 2.5 gallons of fuel to do it,but the sights are great and many friends enjoying the same pass time ,have slept in the back seat of the racecar at the track when I was young 45 years ago and progressed to more comfort from a van I bought at an auction for $800 to a caravan with an air mattress and the wife and I enjoy each other for more time together but we are finally getting spoiled ,it's our turn

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Diesel MPG
by: Lobo13

oops i for got to tell you with Electronic Transmissions we have now they can be programed to change the shifting i read my owners manual and did It myself took a bit but got 1 to 2 Miles per gallon more and on Flat towing 40ft 330hp HP even got 13,7 OK Here the draw back Take of slower but that is it.


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Diesel Motorhomes MPG
by: Lobo13

I have owned several and deliver motorhomes all over the USA Basic I pull the largest RV ford makes with a 40 foot HR 330 hp average 10 miles per I find that most motorHomes will give 10 mpg at 60 to 65 some 45 footers we get 7 to 9 miles per.
not a light foot but very impotent a steady foot and feel what the unit is telling by sound and feeling.

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300HP & Small Diesel Motorhomes = Good Fuel Economy
by: Floyd Mayweather

I deliver motorhomes for a living and I have to pay close attention to my fuel cost to ensure a profit.. I just got done delivering a Palazzo (http://PalazzoRV.com), a 34 foot small rear diesel across the country with with better than expected fuel economy, 15.3 MPG highway and 13.9 in the mountains. I typical don't get this high of MPG when delivering the the larger diesel pusher like the Tuscany (http:\\TuscanyRV.com).

But then again because I'm paid on a flat rate for mileage I have learned to take it easy and find that the pusher perform well at about 62-64 MPH.

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Doing it smart
by: Anonymous

I'm a full timer. Sold house, bought mo-ho, money left over. Gotta spend it all. Will drive RV about 7000 miles/year, so about 100k in 15 years. Diesel rig good for 350k miles. Car = 10k/year at 38 mpg. Avg of both: 20 mpg. Better than the average pickup truck and most SUVs. RVing is a passion, a lifestyle that we enjoy. Just doing it as smart as we can. We are gonna have fun now cuz we will be dead a long time.

The journey is our destination!!!

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Considering the plunge!
by: Donna

Thanks to all for your comments....very thought provoking. Because we live in Alaska and will be driving the Al-Can Hwy., availability,cost and fuel usage is a definate consideration.

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Carbon Footprint Awareness or State of Denial?
by: Karl

In researching our first purchase of a MH, I'm coming at this decision with an environmental ethic and some financial reality as well. Let's consider the $number$ first. Typically an RV'er puts 200,000 miles into the 1 or 2 or 3 vehicles he serially owns through 15 years of retirement. At $4.00 - $5.00 per gallon (average of current U.S. and Canadian prices), and 9 miles per gallon, he's blown perhaps $100,000 out the tailpipe.

In addition, the depreciation, maintenance, etc. (or rentals) on a $125,000 "toy" would easily exceed double the cost of the fuel. So your 50 nights away from home per year, over those 15 years, might come to $400 per night. Renting a Class A plus buying fuel could be higher.
These figures are assuming an average travel of under 300 miles per day. On the other hand, if you merely go to the nearest RV park just for provoking envy in your campground neighbours, the above results might be 2/3 as high - still obscene!

I guess that the folks for whom this is totally OK must be secure enough financially to not bother with the $$ accounting. The carbon accounting, on the other hand, needs to be faced. There's no excuse for some of us to feel we have the right to emit CO2 at a rate that's five times that of other travellers. Perhaps all Class A owners should be required to have a bumper sticker that says "Not only doing our best to spend our children's inheritances, but also bringing on global warming as soon as possible".

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1991 Champion Ultrastar
by: Anonymous

Our first motorhome was a 19' Midas class C powered by a chevy 350. It would get maybe 6 MPG towing a 19' boat and the same without the boat.

Our current RV is an Ultrastar, built on an Oshkosh chassis. Powered by a Cummins 6bt5.9. We took a 6K trip from Florida out West. Average 10.9 MPG with 6 people and supplies. 1/2 tank of water. With a 90 Gal fuel tank, plenty of range so we could shop for fuel a bit. Towing a 23' boat will cost about 1 MPG. Have about 11K invested including new rubber, brakes, etc. The long wheel base makes it a dream to drive compared to the much smaller Midas.

Better drive, more space, generator, better fuel mileage. No contest. wouldn't trade it for anything.

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Found the Serrano 31X
by: Fomentus

I am on my 3rd motor home since 1995. Had a 23 ft C, 350 gas, a 1984, 9MPG overall. Loved it. It fit my needs. 2nd was a 25 ft A, 454 gas, 9MPG overall. Loved it. It fit my needs.

I researched #3 for over 3 years, as I approached retirement. Gas/diesel/long/longer/slides/yadda-yadda. Narrowed to 3: 40 pusher, 38 pusher, and (thank you technology) the Thor Serrano 31X FRED, 2011.

It fit my needs of long-distance travel, full-time, for the next 10-15 years. Ample space and storage, nice amenities, quiet ride, well-engineered suspension. The MaxxForce 7 is all it is advertized to be!

I tow a small Saturn. 10.7 avg MPG if mostly on long pulls. 12MPG overall, but have not had it on the flats yet. I'm good with this. The 40 pusher will come later on.

It is truly each to their own. Everyone that REALLY wants to RV can find what fits. In my case, patience was a helpful virtue.

Get out there folks. Have fun NOW! You'll be dead a long time.

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the best mpg RV is no longer produced
by: Anonymous

http://www.vixenrv.com/vixen_history.php

some of you probably won't consider it a "true" RV but diesel versions got up to 30 mpg.

There are some used gas models still on the market that get 20 mpg.

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Les - Safari M.H.
by: Bob B

Les,

Before we bought the Monaco, a buddy had a 38 ft Safari with the Cat Diesel. He hauled a trailer with a dirt modified race car inside with all the tools. He said the Safari was rock solid and pulled very well. We wanted to buy it, but he wouldn't sell. The ONLY issue I had was it didn't have a pull out.

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Engine size is a MPG factor
by: Anonymous

Like all vehicles the smallest engine may not get the besy milage. A underpowered vehicle has to work harder therefor it may burn more gas.
Case i point; the VW bug when the Toyota and Datsun first came to America. I experienced all three back then. The Toyota and Datsun not only got a lot better milage but could run circles around the gutless VW.

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Thanks for nothing
by: Anonymous

You did a great job of saying nothing. To sum up your article. Rv mileage varies and all diesels are built equivalently well.

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Looking to Purchase Diesel Motorhome
by: Les

am looking at purchasing a '99 Safari 30ft, with a Cat for power. I found your mileage answers very helpful. Know of any quirks on these motorhomes? Thanks

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Yet another point on this
by: Bob B

All great points that everyone brings up. I've mentioned mileage earlier in this chain based on my experience with previously owned class A motorhomes. There is yet another point.

This, my 4th motorhome is a diesel. All others were gas and/or propane powered. All but the diesel would run mileage as stated in my earlier messages well below 10 mpg.

On a trip 2 weeks ago in 100ºF weather, I traveled 350 miles to my destination. I live in Saskatchewan, Canada and you may know that it's flat here, very flat. I was able to conduct a back to back mileage test with the diesel. On the trip out, 350 miles, I traveled with the cruise locked at 62 mph. I got 11.8 mpg. On the trip home, same 350 miles, I traveled with the cruise locked at 75 mph (only 2050 rpm). I got 11.7 mpg (basically the same). These are real numbers from the pump, not a dash readout.

There is NO way I would have gotten near that kind of mileage pushing a gas engine that hard. I have tried. The same applies to pushing hills, wind, and pulling a trailer. The diesel just doesn't have to work as hard and is more consistent on the mileage.

For what it's worth!!

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The current higher mpg diesels
by: Dick

Lets start with Sprinter based RVs. There are over 30 models in the market.

The camper vans get the best mileage. The motorhomes get less. The 5-cylinder units of 2006 and 2007 get the highest mileage 19 to 22 mpg van and 17 to 19 motorhome. The 6-cylinder units starting 2008 get about 12% less. 17.5 to 19.5 van. 14.5 to 17 motorhome. The latest 2010-11 BlueTec engines that require DEF get slightly higher mpg.

The industry is responding to the trend for smaller more fuel efficient motorhomes. Look for front end diesel units, FRED.

Cummins has introduced a 6.7 litre engine in a Freightliner chassis. Thor uses this development in their Avanti line claiming 14 to 15 mpg. A slightly larger version called Serrano understandably gets slightly less mpg. Both require the DEF in the emission control system.

In the diesel pusher field the MaxxForce 7 engine that does not require DEF is new. Tiffen Motorhomes offers this engine in their Allegro Breeze line. It gets a reported 13 to 16 mpg.

Check the new offering at the Hershey show this month (October '11) to see if any new smaller higher mpg motorhomes are unveiled.

Otherwise, expect around 10 to 11 mpg in conventional diesel pushers.

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my .02 worth
by: Wandering Kat

I don't consider fuel efficiency a foolish question, but as noted in the article there are a myriad of variables involved in an answer.

I look for fuel efficiency when purchasing a vehicle, so why should I not have the same concern for anything else I drive? I want to be able to go from one coast to nearly the other to visit friends from time to time, and really low mpg will hinder the frequency. On the other hand, a rig with better mpg, such as the Serrano, will permit more freedom of travel which is part of what RVing is all about.

To answer the question of MPG for a given engine/chassis, I go to the manufacturer's website and see what they have posted. From there, one can make a semi-educated extrapolation on what expectations to have. It's still a guess but better than the salesman saying, 'oh, they all get 9 mpg.'

I also check the RV forums and message boards. It's hard to beat hands-on experience.

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Toyota motorhomes
by: Anonymous

I know this thread was about diesel RVs, but Toyota made a nice line of gas RVs that got real world mileage in the 12-18 mpg range. Used ones can be found for $2000-$9000. You'll crawl up hills, but get there with a bigger wallet. :)

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diesel best bet
by: Anonymous

I worked for cat for 32 yrs as a general service manager I love cat and now retired. we have been camping for 50 yrs. we have had them all. right now we have a ford dulley 7.3 and a 35 foot alfa 5th wheel 11 mpg. just bought a beaver patroit 1994 with a 250 cummins 34 ft. We get 13 mpg at 62 mph. it is the best we have ever owned. our ford 460 got 5/1/2 mpg. go diesel.

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Best gas mileage
by: Mechanic Rae

RVing Al,

I thought you DID answer the best to your ability. Having worked on vehicles (yes, I have my degree too)for OVER 20 years, there is NO WAY you can give a absolute answer to this question. The size of the rv, the size of the engine, what features you want ie. bathroom, slide out, full size kitchen, kitchenette, how many beds, how much storage, water tanks, I could go on. ALL of this has an effect on the gas mileage so to anonymous, listen to your tone of your email. Everyone is TRYING to help but with this question, there is absolutely NO WAY to come up with a difinitive answer!

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MPG Diesel RV's
by: Eric

I think at $4.00 a gallon, the industry will have to take the "Title" serious! These answers are NOT from people who travel great distances, or are from people with deep pockets. If your a salesman than your answer doesn't really count, you will spin the MPG thing into a sale either way.
If a Truck carrying tons of Wal-Mart products gets 6-8 mpg, than a Rv should get at least 3x's that! Just by the reduced size and weight alone!
So I'll rephrase the question: is there anyone out there that knows of any Rv's that get mileage in the 20's??
I have a 1996 e-350 Van; pull a 32' Traveltrailer and get a steady 10 Mpg, at 200,000 miles.

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DIESEL MILLAGE
by: Jon R

I am having the same problem. I own a Class c Tioga with the Ford V-10. It gets 6 MPG.

If I had a Diesel that got 10 MPG I would save about $700 on our next trip. That is in addition to the ease of refueling, added confort and ride.
The downside is the initial cost and added maintenance. I am looking at a 2004 Travel Supreme,that is supreme and has a 350 cummins and a 2007 Pathfinder Ledgend with a 400 Hp Cummins,also a very nice coach.

I have called the Dealer to inquire on fuel millage and they say between 7 and 10 no matter what you buy. Every car on the market has a reported millage range on the sticker. Why not RVS.

Can anyone give me a range for the above coaches?

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14.5 MPG! || Serrano or Avanti >>
by: Jason Korb

I have to say; selling motorhomes for over a decade I've worked with 1000's or coaches and the new bread of Motorhomes that Thor Motor Coach has put together answers the markets need for a fuel efficient Class A Diesel Motorhome. Reference: http://ThorMotorCoach.com

SERRANO: They have the Full Sized Serrano Class A with lengths over 31' feet that still get a solid 14 MPGs.

AVANTI: They also have the Yacht styled Avanti Class A Diesel Motorhomes also around 32' feet in length that achieve 14.5+ MPGs. Reference: http://Serrano-RV.com

At first I thought it was just manufacturers hype, but read the forums; The SERRANO & AVANTI are getting these numbers in the real world. Reference: http://AvantiRV.com

I WOULD HIGHLY RECOMMEND TAKING A LOOK AT THESE TWO COACHES TO SEE IF THEIR IS A FLOOR PLAN AND PRICE POINT FOR YOU.

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RVing Al - hit the nail on the head.
by: Bob B

You just simply can't rate mileage. What mileage do you want to get???

I can get 16~18 mpg. Travel @ 50 mph, don't drive into the wind, drive with empty water tanks, keep the groceries at home, don't pack the fun toys, keep the kids at home, don't run the a.c.,etc, etc.

My point being...as RVing Al was leading to....te RVing lifestyle is NOT about the mileage.

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mpg s of motorhomes
by: bob giordano

I'm surprized none of you mentioned all of the class c motorhomes built on the mercedes benz 5, or more recent 6 cylinder turbo charged engines. they are built on chrylser's vans and some are actually not class c's, but considered class b, or b + even. they are all getting the best mpg's of any other motorhome that I know of in any of their respective classes. I believe some of the class c's in the earliest productions of the 5 cylinder eng. are even reported in the 20's/ nice job. I also forgot to mention some manufactuers are beggining to try some class a front diesel eng. set-ups with the same eng. oforementioned and seem to be reporting significant mpg gaines. enjoy'

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Diesel MPG
by: Bob B

I will make a few comments based on my own experiences. I have owned 3 Motorhomes in the past, and now own a 4th. I've gotten different mileage based on size, engine, fuel and age. Below is the details (all based on Canadian Gallons).

1st ownded: 1972 19' Winnebago - Dodge 318 on propane. It could sleep 6 (very tight) and had a bathroom with shower. No air, nothing fancy. MPG - 7~8.

2nd owned: 1983 26' Winnebago - GMC 454 on gasoline. It could sleep 8 (kinda tight) complete with generator, roof and dash air. No separate bedroom. MPG - 6~7.

3rd ownded: 1987 32' Triple E - GMC 454 on gasoline. It could sleep 6 with separate rear bedroom and TONS of room, complete with generator. MPG 5~7.

4th owned (and current): 2000 Monaco 36' diesel pusher 260hp Turbo Cummins. It sleeps 4, rear queen bedroom, 2 roof air, washer/dryer. Built for 2, very comfortable and nice. MPG 10~12 1/2.

My take from experience is this:

You can save some money on purchase price and MPG staying to a very small unit. You do sacrifice space and comforts. There are benefits in parking and ease of driving.

The pushers are very expensive to buy and maintenance is not too bad if you're handy and can do some yourself. The big benefit is that you can stay for weeks and perhaps months with no sacrifice from comfort.

The other consideration....one that few speak of is "RV Envy". I've pulled into sites with the'72 19foot and parked next to the big guys and felt a little envious of the big rigs. I am finally in one of the "big rigs" and it does feel great.

Bottom line - each to their own.

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Shouldn't be RVing
by: Not Currently RVing James

I think you made a great attempt at answering the question. The range is 9-14, some higher some lower. So, best? Somewhat higher than 14.

The biggest issue that might be addressed is, if you are basing your decision solely on MPG, then maybe you shouldn't be RVing. If cost of gas is so important for you that it is the driving force of your decision. Time to rethink your decision and look at strengthening your financial decision more.

Now, if the question is about 'about what mileage can I expect from a diesel versus a gas RV.' You start asking a better question. Is the improvement in mileage of a diesel enough to offset the extra cost of purchase and higher price of routine maintenance? How much will it cost to get from point A to point B. Am I willing to learn how to tow a 5th wheel? (cost of ownership for an equally appointed 5th-wheel is significantly lower than a class-A pusher.)

Once you figure out if the RVing lifestyle (cost of driving and maintaining your RV) fits in your overall financial plan, then just buy the RV that has as many of the features as you can afford (I highly recommend cash, but in some cases, the loan on an RV can be considered a home mortgage.)

Have fun,

James
^examined the financials and isn't ready to RV yet :)

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A non-answer
by: Anonymous

You didn't even make an attempt at an answer???
He asked "Best MPG for Diesel Motorhomes". Is it really that hard? We'll all have to look elsewhere for the answer!

Comment From RVing Al Well I am sorry that you are disappointed in my answer, but there is no correct answer to this question. As I said in my answer MPG depends a lot on how you drive your motorhome and a lot of other factors. However if you do find a "correct answer elsewhere" please feel free to tell us where you got it and I will be more than happy to post that link here.

Happy RVing
RVing Al

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