Originally Posted by LyleRussell
MPG is important to us all for economic reasons. The feasibility of any trip directly relates to the cost of fuel/gas.
MPG reduction tips include
1. Not carrying the weight of water unless expected campsite will be dry.
2. I have the 36 gallon tank it allows me to shop around for gas
3. A gas station finder app set for lowest price.
Are there any other good cost savings ideas out there?
A larger context on fuel consumption is helpful. Analysis of the annual fuel bill is where to start. Records, in short. Every mile and every gallon.
It is possible to underwrite a significant amount of travel by reducing the costs of solo driving.
The DHS released a report a few years back which noted that about 90% drove to the same places 90% of the time. This is fruit for combining trips (eliminating cold starts). One is setting up an errand route or routes (such as those used by FedEx and UPS) which eliminate left hand turns, excessive idling and the like. Same for a commute.
By reducing annual miles somewhat -- but significantly reducing cold starts in a serious way -- one can then focus on driving those reduced miles at a higher skill level. In short, by never stopping and never idling as ones mantra, change unthinking habits for fresh rewarding ones.
I already had good habits, overall, but took the challenge from a Cummins engineer that I was leaving food on the table in city driving. The context was the difference between highway and city driving. It is mainly skill which separates steady state higher highway mpg from stop and go city numbers.
For 1,100-miles I had each trip planned (remember, same places) and was adamant about avoiding stops (full stops, in main). I achieved a 23% increase in city mpg.
Most wouldn't have bothered. After all, how many people do you know who already get 18-mpg in the city with a one ton truck? But I took it to a solid 23-mpg over those miles.
On an annual basis given my use at that time, and the documented towing travel mpg, this would have underwritten 5,000-miles of "free" miles.
Otherwise, the mechanical details of the vehicles must be verified as top notch. Alignment, brake drag and tire pressure. "New" does not mean a pass from a professional inspection. Etcetera. (Steering slop on even a brand new 4WD truck is a mpg killer. There are quite a few avenues to explore).
And I would never set my trailer in tow without full fresh water. It helps lower the center of gravity, and is just as important as full propane.
A VPP hitch adds to the tenths by keeping steering wheel corrections to a dead minimum. Setting it correctly (or any other WDH) is worth MORE than a mpg.
So, past the annual fuel bill is looking to the "towing penalty" from solo to hitched.
Set a long solo round trip from home at the same speed as when towing and loop back to the same fuel pump. Stop fuel fill at first click. Ideally, the tow vehicle will weigh the same as when towing (the continued usefulness of the three pass scale tickets).
The "penalty" with an AS ought to be 40% or less. (An SOB 40% or higher). It can trend down to 30%. The actual number is pretty well set by the TV specification. The question is whether one can achieve it by operating skill.
This exercise highlights both real and potential problems. Weak links, so to speak, as to best mpg.
In both cases -- annual fuel bill, and in towing mpg -- it is in percentage improvements that the game is played. Thus, records, better habits (by planning and in applied skill) and verification of optimum mechanical settings are where the gains are found for a given towing combination.
As the typical family RV'er travels about 5000-miles per year, you can see how I won "free" fuel for vacation travel.
As contributor Robert Cross notes, being meticulous about scale readings for setting the WDH reveals the true range of adjustments. It is narrow. Small. Same for TV tire pressure. And it is then an annual matter of checking the rig on the scale to be well set for the rest of ones vacation season.
This two-pronged approach (safe handling/braking + highest fuel economy) is complementary. Bad handling/braking or reduced fuel economy is an alert to investigate.
What's my towing economy? I searched and found a dozen others using HPCR Cummins trucks pulling 7-11k lb aero aluminum trailers of 28-34' length in the South Central US where, at speeds of 65-mph or less, the range was from 14-16/mpg. Mine fell within that with my 33' and 35' Silver Streaks. The goal is now 17-mpg on that terrain.