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How much will my RV's mileage increase with a lighter toad vehicle

by Robert Richards
(Waveland, MS)

How to Improve the Fuel Mileage of a Motorhome

How to Improve the Fuel Mileage of a Motorhome

* The RV picture above is by bradleygee reprinted under Creative Commons License

I have a 2008 Gulfstream Endura with a Chevy diesel engine. I tow a Dodge Dakota truck which weighs approx. 3355 pounds. We love towing this vehicle, but with the high cost of diesel, I am considering trading for a lighter vehicle.

Does anyone know a way to evaluate the increased fuel mileage with a lighter vehicle?


ANSWER: Hi Robert, I am afraid that I do not have a mathematical formula for you. Maybe one of our visitors can provide one for you. but I will tell you that lightening your towing load will indeed increase your fuel mileage. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the increased MPG your motorhome will get will be negligible at best. Depending on what length your Gulfstream Endura is the gross weight of RV is going to be around 26,000 pounds. So as you can see reducing the Toad weight is going to have minimal effect on overall weight and MPG.

Since you seem to like your Dodge Dakota so much I would say keep towing it. If you want to increase your RV's MPG read my suggestions below:

1. Make sure that your motorhome is properly maintained so that it runs as efficiently as it can. You can switch to a synthetic engine oil. Synthetic engine oils can help improve fuel mileage.

2. Make sure that your RV's and Toad' tires are properly inflated, properly inflated tires increases fuel mileage.

3. Dump your Black and Grey Water holding tanks before you hit the road. Even if
these tanks are only partially full they increase the RV's Weight.

4. If you are planning on staying at an RV Park or Resort that has water and you are not planning on doing any boondocking; I would suggest that you not fill up your Fresh Water Holding Tank. Just add enough water to the tank to get you to where you are going. A gallon of water weighs approximately 8.35 pounds. Again depending on your model motorhome, you could have an 85-gallon freshwater tank which weighs around 712 pounds when filled with water.

5. Take a long hard look at what you are carrying in your motorhome. Reducing some of the items you haul around will also help improve mileage.

6. When driving, try to maintain a speed of 55 to 60 miles per hour. Reducing your speed will improve fuel mileage.

7. When taking off from a stop light or stop sign, do so smoothly and try not to mash the gas pedal to the floor.

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Even if you follow all the steps I outlined above, do not expect a dramatic increase in overall fuel mileage. If you improve by 1 or 2 miles per gallon consider yourself lucky.

All that being said; if you go to a lighter more fuel-efficient Toad you will see a more significant increased fuel mileage in the Toad itself.

Hope this helps.

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

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I really hope that isn't accurate
by: Anonymous

7 to 8 gallons per mile? I hope you meant 7 to 8 miles per gallon. Also, for the record, changing loads with a Diesel makes minnimum difference. You will get similar fuel mileage with a full load or an empty load. Watching the RPM's and learning what is the optimal RPM will make the most difference.

Miles per gallon
by: Dana

Maybe this will help I have a 2005 Mandalay 41 ft diesel pusher 42000 gross lbs I pull a 13 ram sport 4200 gross lbs I have everything I need or want in the coach at all times I fill fresh water half full 55gal for traveling I don’t worry about the black or gray tank levels they never get out of hand I never get below quarter tank of fuel and always fill up 110 gal

I average 7.9 to 8.3 gal per mile I have an Allison tranny with two settings one for city and the other for fuel economy not much difference what will affect your coach the most is wind against you or pushing you that said you can do your part by watching the tach on your coach mine turns 1500 rpm at 65 mph that’s the best fuel economy speed for my unit period it gets better the slower you go but some states have a minimum so whatever works I have a cat six engine btw tire pressure air filter organic oil plus filter use the cruise steady gas pedal pressure remember your driving a house it’s going to cost something

good luck

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