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Old 01-01-2014, 07:26 PM   #1
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Ok you shoppers: MPG and RV Type

I thought I would share some info. I have gathered from various forums and well, anywhere I could get information on MPG and RV type. After my purchase of the Airstream my father has begun to consider an RV. One of his primary concerns has been MPG. So, through a series of discussions healthy discourse, I will share what we have found. Note that the MPG ranges are based upon intersecting information rather that one "Joe" who claimed 20 mpg on his 45' Class A diesel using fuel additive! Needless to say, MPG is not everything but for those that care, here tis:

I dug all over the Internet for this! Again, overall reported MPG by RV Class by owners on MANY forums combined- most models 2002 and newer.
Figures calculated overall averages in normal (not mountains or storms) conditions @ reported 62-65 mph in most cases.

Gas Motorhomes- Class A, Class C 6-9 mpg
Diesel Motorhomes Class A 8-11 mpg
Diesel Class C/A Variant(Via/View/Navion) 15-17mpg
@60mph- 10mpg (several late model 35-40' Class A Diesels reports)
@70mph- 7 mpg
(interestingly some had toads and said little to no difference BUT the MPH DID make a difference)

Fifth Wheels- 9-11mpg. This one was all over the place probably due to various truck and length/weight combinations; however the range is certainly is that of MOST owners' reports. One particular site polled many owners and a gentleman summed it up (as they compared Travel Trailers to Fifth Wheels), "Trailers average 2-3 mpg better than a similar fifth wheel primarily due to the towing height and wind resistance."

Travel Trailers @65mph Overall findings

12-14 mpg Diesel truck 3/4 ton
10-12 mpg Gas truck 1/2 ton

Some probably look at this and say what's new. I found it interesting as show sales people really give some wild figures. I did find one outlier, a class A/C variant, the View/Navion and Via line. They are reported as diesels to get 15-17 by MOST owners but they are also narrow and smaller coaches.

Again, these are reported by MANY owners.
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Old 01-01-2014, 08:04 PM   #2
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I have learned if you want to get better mpg, slow down. I get 11 towing at 55, 10 at 65, and 9 towing at 70. All with the same trailer on the same road.
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Old 01-01-2014, 09:21 PM   #3
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Agreed. Keeping the speed below 60 with my straight six gas engine 1/2 ton gets me 13 - 14 miles per gallon towing. This with 1960's engine management technology ( 4 BBL carburetor. ) Above that, mileage drops like a rock.
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:08 PM   #4
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Looks mostly accurate. Speed has a major effect on fuel economy for all RV types.
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Old 01-01-2014, 10:16 PM   #5
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Looks like what most report. Need to consider the higher cost of diesel fuel compared to gas.

Airstream's rounded shape and low profile would be among the best travel trailers.
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:43 PM   #6
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Just some info on our recent 2013 Tour with the Class A Airstream Clipper diesel pusher in Aug.

300 Cummins, pulling a Suzuki Sidekick, full load of fuel/water/gear leaving home on Vancouver Island.

Aux. power unit (PTS CD 7000 diesel genset) running for a/c while held up because of traffic accident on Rogers Pass for approx. 4 hrs. midday, and a couple hours in Medicine Hat, Alberta, while the spouse visited the Living Sky Casino in the afternoon heat and I rested. Also ran for probably less than 1/2HR for 2 boondock overnights.

All fluids are still carried as our first dump and supplies refresh is not till Virden, Manitoba the 4th day out.

Mileage from home to 2nd fuel top off in downtown Regina, Saskatchewan 1176 miles.

MPG 12.23 MPG

Speed was flow of traffic which is speed limits +

This was mountain driving for first 600 miles on many miles of 2 lane highway.

We had higher numbers later in the trip, but the landscape was pretty flat.

If one can keep a light foot, better numbers could be had. Hard to drive slower than the flow when traffic is busy in the Aug. stampede.

Dave
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Old 01-02-2014, 05:48 AM   #7
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I no longer fret the MPG's while Streaming...it's supposed to be fun after-all.

Rationalize...it seems to work for everything else Airstream.

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Old 01-02-2014, 06:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodsterinfl View Post
(interestingly some had toads and said little to no difference BUT the MPH DID make a difference)
I have a 2012 Airstream Interstate class B on a 2011 Sprinter 3500 chassis (GVWR 11,030#, GCWR 15,300#). I tow a 2013 Honda Fit toad (GVWR 3500#, curb weight 2700#). Not towing, I get about 17mpg on the highway at 70mph. I'm limited to towing at 65mph or less due to Honda's stated towing requirements, and normally tow at 60mph. I get about 17mpg towing at 60mph. So the toad makes no difference on the fuel economy in that regard, but it takes me longer to reach my destination.

However, if I compare towing at 60mph (17mpg) to not towing at 60mph (19mpg) then towing costs me about 2 mpg.

When pulling a toad four-down (on its own wheels) the tongue weight is next to nothing, only half the weight of the towbar because the toad is entirely supported on its own chassis. Towing on a dolly or on a trailer would have more effect on the tow vehicle because the tongue weight adds to the total vehicle weight, plus the towed weight would go up by the weight of said dolly or trailer.

Quote:
I did find one outlier, a class A/C variant, the View/Navion and Via line. They are reported as diesels to get 15-17 by MOST owners but they are also narrow and smaller coaches.
Since these are also based on a Sprinter 3500 chassis (but with fiberglass bodies in place of the fine German steel Sprinter body of an Interstate) that's no surprise. The lighter weight of the fiberglass body is offset by the boxier shape creating more drag, for a slight net loss in fuel economy.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:00 AM   #9
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I have a 2012 Chevy 2500HD CC 4X4 with 3.73 rear axle and 6.0 gas engine towing a 6300# Safari 25. My trips are usually 1000 miles or more and towing mpg runs around 8.5 to 9.0. I tow at around 60 mph but I use non-interstate highways as much as possible. I have owned three GM trucks with the same setup and all three have had similar towing mpg. I feel my mpg are low when compared to what others report. Perhaps my use of secondary roads explains my lower mpg's.
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Old 01-02-2014, 09:15 AM   #10
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Towing my 28' International, I average 12-13 mpg over a season with my V6 3.5L Toyota Sienna. The biggest variance factor is weather; driving into a headwind and the mileage is noticeably worse. For example, highway driving at 60 mph between Albany NY and Middleboro MA I managed a respectable 14 mpg with the wind behind me. Between Quebec City and Montreal, highway driving into a horrible headwind, I was only in the high tens.

I'd like to say that I don't fret over MPG, that it's an academic exercise, but I can't help being pleased when I get a good return.
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:34 AM   #11
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Quote:
I no longer fret the MPG's while Streaming...it's supposed to be fun after-all.
After comparing, I am elated to find that travel trailers and, of course, Airstream as a trailer is at the top of MPG. I am confirmed in my choice but my father is now being swayed by slide-outs. My thoughts on slides is that they are great but there are trade offs. It is all about how a person plans to use their RV. Some set up camp and have all kinds of equipment and stay at one place for a while. Others seem to be minimalists and keep things simple.
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Old 01-02-2014, 11:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodsterinfl View Post
After comparing, I am elated to find that travel trailers and, of course, Airstream as a trailer is at the top of MPG. I am confirmed in my choice but my father is now being swayed by slide-outs. My thoughts on slides is that they are great but there are trade offs. It is all about how a person plans to use their RV. Some set up camp and have all kinds of equipment and stay at one place for a while. Others seem to be minimalists and keep things simple.
One thing to look for is, what kind of interior room do you have with the slide-outs slid in? I've seen motorhomes and trailers where everything aft of the entrance is unusable unless the slide-outs are out, because everything meets in the middle and there's no aisle space left. Don't ever buy something with a slide-out until you see it slid-in.

A trailer or motorhome with no slide-outs may have less total floor space, but every bit of the space is usable all the time, including for quick impromptu stops where it wouldn't be practical to slide out the slides. Or at heavily-wooded campsites where the trees are too close to let you slide out your slide-outs all the way.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:25 PM   #13
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no slide-outs may have less total floor space, but every bit of the space is usable all the time, including for quick impromptu stops where it wouldn't be practical to slide out the slides.
I am with you on that one. Eh, dad, not so much. He looked at an opposing slide motorhome a few weeks ago and that made quite the impression. It was nice but when the sides were in it was tight as the couch on one end was L shaped and in the way, except for a small 24" passage space as counter was on the other side. The bedroom was almost unusable when closed- if you wanted or needed to get to any clothing other than crawl around on the bed.
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Old 01-04-2014, 01:59 PM   #14
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Slide-outs also add to the overall weight and the number of things that will eventually break.

We had a 27' B+ motor home with one slide out. It was very nice when slid out and usable when not. Still, our 27FB Airstream feels like it has much more space. Possibly for three reasons (1) every square foot of floor space is usable, no wasted cabin, (2) the lighter colors and exposed aluminum inside, and (3) all that glass and all those skylights in the dinette, bedroom and hallway. The AS feels, as our friend said, "palatial!" Even though our MH was really nice with lovely cherry cabinets and all that, it always felt darker and more cramped than I liked. If he's really set on a MH, he could do worse than a Phoenix Cruiser (our old MH), but we're very happy to have made the switch.

Oh, and gas mileage is about the same. The MH got between 10-12 MPG and the TT with our truck for the initial short hauls got around 11. However, we now realize the tires were a bit under-inflated for the brief tow home and then to storage after leaving the dealership. Good thing it was an empty trailer! We've since pumped the tires up to proper pressures (65 psi) and are hoping the next tow will provide better mileage. Our first stop: nearby scales to weigh out our rig!

Ah yes, and the wife and I have sworn a blood oath that while towing we'll never exceed 65MPH, and generally cruise at 60. We believe that will help with both MPG and safety. We're just going to have to learn not to be in a hurry while towing!
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