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Old 06-04-2011, 11:43 AM   #1
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Following the Airlines to Save $ ?

I had discussion with a friend who flies for a major airline about a subject which is painful to the airline and RV business alike - the cost of fuel.

The reality is that when oil hits $100 a barrel, the airlines cannot make money. His company recently did another "search and remove" mission. Everything deemed non-essential to the safe operation/evacuation of the airplane was removed, including extra magazines in the passenger cabin.
Extra magazines??? My friend said the cummulative effect of this removal is surprising when it comes to the airplane's fuel burn.

So, have you done the same with your Airstream or do you really care, i.e. you are used to certain comforts and don't mind sacrificing that "cummulative effect?"

Secondly, for those who are concerned about your Airstream and "fuel burn," how have you "lightened" your load so to speak?

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Old 06-04-2011, 12:53 PM   #2
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IMHO weight doesn't have a huge impact. We upsized trailers and gained 3,000 pounds...mpg dropped about 1 on similar trips of several thousand miles. We aren't using power to lift the extra weight, just overcome the small increase in rolling friction.
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Old 06-04-2011, 02:16 PM   #3
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I agree! The price of fuel hurts, but we didn't spend mega bucks on an RV to skimp on the comfort level while we use it. If you are worried about the cost, probably another avenue for recreation might be more appropriate. That dosen't mean we don't shop for the best deal, but once you are into ownership there are going to be expenses.
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IMHO weight doesn't have a huge impact. We upsized trailers and gained 3,000 pounds...mpg dropped about 1 on similar trips of several thousand miles. We aren't using power to lift the extra weight, just overcome the small increase in rolling friction.
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Old 06-04-2011, 02:54 PM   #4
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Controlling weight normally has a small effect on mileage, except when dealing with very hilly terrain. In that case, additional weight can make a significant difference if it forces one to climb in a lower gear.

For most of us, fighting the wind: e.g. speed is the big factor. Like it or not, the power needed to push our rigs through the air varies as the cube of the airspeed. Suppose you got 10 mpg at 70 mph.... that's:

7 gals/hour, or roughly 70 hp. You'd use 10 gallons of fuel to go 100 miles.

If you slowed down to 60 mph, you'd need less power:

7 gals/hour * 60**3/70**3 = 4.4 gallons/hour... of course, you travel more slowly, but you still would only use 100/60*4.4 = 7.3 gallons to do 100 miles, or 13.6 mpg.

Now, it's actually more complicated than this because of rolling resistance, varying efficiency of engines with load, etc.... but at freeway speeds for our rigs, wind resistance dominates.

So, when there's a stiff headwind, your mileage will suffer significantly. You can help it somewhat by slowing down, of course. When you have a tailwind, you can (subject to safety and legal issues) wick it up a bit, or stay at the same speed and reap the fuel saving benefits.

Unlike the airlines, we don't need to move to keep our traveling aluminum cigars in the air.... in fact, we work hard at keeping them on the ground where they belong.

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Old 06-04-2011, 03:08 PM   #5
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also unlike the airlines, we don't have to turn a profit with our aluminum tubes.
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Old 06-04-2011, 10:38 PM   #6
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Air resistance is quite a factor at hiway speeds. I suspect an awning would increase drag a lot but do not know how it affects mileage.

Or, what else you can do to streamline your rig.

Years ago I heard of a guy who put his rig on a strict diet to improve mileage. He towed with a Ford pickup with a cap and an aluminum boat on top. One time he left the boat and motor at home, along with every other thing he could do without. His mileage went down. It turned out the boat acted as an air deflector and cut air resistance quite a bit.
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Old 06-06-2011, 11:54 PM   #7
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When gas is high, just change travel plans. Do lots of local camping, instead of driving for days. Case in point cancelled planned trip to the west cost this year, will visit some lakes a couple of hours away instead.
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Old 06-07-2011, 08:55 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ganaraska View Post
Air resistance is quite a factor at hiway speeds. His mileage went down. It turned out the boat acted as an air deflector and cut air resistance quite a bit.
I know that first hand....
I go up about .4mpg.

On a cross-country trip last Season, it was still cheeper with Cloudsplitter,
no lodging, fooding, toileting, scheduling concerns.


Plus Stream'n is just plain FUN!!!
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