Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 06-05-2008, 04:17 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
1956 16' Bubble
1959 17' Pacer
1954 22' Flying Cloud
Daytona Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 32
Thumbs up What are your personal ways to save fuel?

The prices are insane. We have to figure out how to manage our fuel costs better, as a family who travels and camps, its not easy to justify trips and the big trucks we have to have for the Airstreams...

I'm born and raised in Europe, and we always had to think about fuel, but here its a new thing, so my husband and I sat down and started thinking like we do at home. We spend half the year in each place, so that Euro-fuel mentality is never far away anyhow.

1) We stopped driving to places we can wait and go on 1 trip. In other words- we'll try and plan a week in advance, if we need to go 30 miles away, we'll make all our stops on one trip- the motorcycle shop for an air filter, the trailer supply for bearings, marine supply for polishing pads, dads haircut, baby getting his hearing screening test, dropping the extra tires off at a friends warehouse, and Home Depot- that was yesterdays list. Normally we'd have spread it out over 2 days- but with fuel on our minds, leaving the house means going as many places at once.

2) Buying an extra car- we have 2 F350's with diesels. Lots of people are considering smaller cars and trading in or selling the big one for one. You lose an awful lot of money- we decided to buy a cheap used car with a small 4 cylinder, just to run around with. We'll trade a lot of miles we drive from the trucks, especially around town- to the small car. If you have a new SUV, the amount you'd lose would pay for a lot of fuel and a small car- like a VW, a Civic, etc. We have motorcycles, but with the baby, its not always an option.

3) Stocking up- we have a baby, 8 weeks old. Diapers, wipes, you get the picture. We bought enough size 2, which he's in now, and 3- his next needed size, to avoid any extra runs to Wal Mart, which is not close. We normally go weekly, now we go every 2-3 weeks, bought extra of everything.

4) Slowing down. My man just simply cruises at 55-60 now. We got a lot better mileage when he did. Just went to KY and back to Daytona hauling back full. It was more expensive on the way home, than out- fuel prices raised that much. On a 2000 mile trip, getting an average of 16, by slowing down, gets the trip done in 125 gallons, it was about $4.65 per, so we spent about $580. Speeding up to 70-75 drops us to about 12, cost would be $200 more. Thats a lotta diapers.

5) Feathering- my man starts the truck off slow, he called it feathering, where he lightly gets the truck up to speed. Doesn't stomp on it, unless it's absolutely necessary. Has to save something.

6) Bio-diesel. We have a place that sells bio diesel- B99 to be exact. They're about 50 cents a gallon cheaper. We also log onto the cheap fuel price web sites to shop when we're ready to fuel up- it helps.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO SAVE MONEY ON FUEL? Interesting to hear the stories. EZ
EllieZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 04:28 AM   #2
Rivet Master
balrgn's Avatar
1974 27' Overlander
1954 26' Romany Cruiser
1960 26' Overlander
Rockingham County , New Hampshire
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 4,410
Images: 74
Send a message via AIM to balrgn Send a message via Yahoo to balrgn
Good Post!

All of the above. Slowing down is a big savings. Hard to do after years of devil may care, push the speed limit to 6 - 7 MPH over posted speed. No more. Set the cruise @ or just below when towing.
I keep an eye on the prices by the on-line service that list the prices by city or zip code. Plan my refills that way and try not to go out of my way to fill.
Using a fuel additive in the Diesel. (Opti-Lube) this has gained me over 1 MPG, which pretty much pays for the cost of using it.
'74 Overlander (T-O-Bee)
'46 Spartan Manor (Rosie)
'54 Cruiser (Bogart)
'60 Overlander (Hoagy)
2007 GMC Sierra 2500 HD Duramax
WBCCI 1754 - AIR # 6281
balrgn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 04:34 AM   #3
Rivet Master
ZoominC6's Avatar
2004 30' Classic Slideout
Colleyville , TX
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,536
We had a bad habit of stopping at fast food joints when on the road. On my trip to the INDY 500 this year I never 'ate out' but instead stopped at a rest stop to prepare and eat a meal in the Airstream or TV. While a the race I cooked all our meals. This helped offset the increased cost of fuel immensely.

I'm parking my TV, driving one of our more economical vehicles and am looking forward to my new 'town car' a SmartCar which should be delivered after the first of the year. 2010 will debut a wide choice of alternate fuel vehicles to choose from for us all. About time.

Slow starts at the green light, easy on the pedal up hill and coasting down with the foot off the gas pedal works well for me as well.

The sticker shock is not as severe if I fill up when half empty instead of completely empty
In dog years, I'm dead!
ZoominC6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 04:42 AM   #4
Rivet Master
ZoominC6's Avatar
2004 30' Classic Slideout
Colleyville , TX
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,536
OH....and most importantly.....slow down while towing. It saves the GoodYears and fuel. Since keeping our max towing speed to the ratings for the GoodYears i.e. 65psi and 65mph, we've had no tire issues and have saved fuel. How could I not include that in my initial response???
In dog years, I'm dead!
ZoominC6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 05:21 AM   #5
2 Rivet Member
1956 16' Bubble
1959 17' Pacer
1954 22' Flying Cloud
Daytona Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 32
We've had Smarts in Europe for years- they make a 700cc diesel that gets about 70MPG. I don't own one, but we rent them when its possible. Baby now changes that- the Smart ForFour is not as nice, or as cool, as the ForTwo. The best one is the ForTwo roadster- convertible with the diesel. We're both tall and fit perfectly in one.
EllieZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 05:40 AM   #6
Rivet Master
ZoominC6's Avatar
2004 30' Classic Slideout
Colleyville , TX
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,536
Hey there Ellie. The ForTwo is actually what I've ordered and it'll be with AC, the mid-price range unit. I've seen only one in our small town and it still had the paper plates. I think it'll be a great little car to drive around town and save on fuel. If I don't like it I just bet I'll be able to sell it for a profit since the wait list is so long.
In dog years, I'm dead!
ZoominC6 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 05:49 AM   #7
2 Rivet Member
1956 16' Bubble
1959 17' Pacer
1954 22' Flying Cloud
Daytona Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 32
You'll be surprised at the quality- if they're still built in Europe, and not Mexico. I was shocked at how nice they are and ride. Its so small, you'd think it would be scary to drive, but up to about 120KM/h- which is around your 70MPH- I felt fine and the car was totally stable. My man was bragging how great they are, how much room they have, but until I sat and drove, couldn't believe it.

A blend of a Smart and a big truck/SUV are a great way to beat the costs down. The only thing thats hard to swallow is the price- you can buy one on Europe for much less, which is why they're so sensible. Designed by Swatch, built by Mercedes, costing less than 10K (in EU). The design allows for perpendicular parking in Paris, which is why they have the length they do. If you've ever been in Paris, trying to park while late for an appointment- you can appreciate being able to park with your front bumper into the curb.
EllieZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 06:29 AM   #8
Rivet Master
Road Ruler's Avatar
Currently Looking...
St. Catharines , South Western Ontario
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 2,367
Images: 38
EllieZ... My guess is you are using the 350 pickups to haul a motorcycle in the bed while towing one of your light weight Airstreams.

Europeon Rver's have adapted to fuel prices by using fuel efficent vehicles for general use and towing.

Then again one could use a motorcycle to tow with but then where would you carry the baby???

Airstreams..... The best towing trailers on the planet!
Road Ruler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 06:41 AM   #9
Rivet Master
Steve & Susan's Avatar
2005 28' International CCD
Willoughby , Ohio
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 543
Ditto to driving slower (55-60 while towing, 60 when not).
Years ago the government lowered the national speed limit to 55 mph to conserve fuel.

This time, there isn't really a shortage - it's just more expensive and slowing down will have the same effect - burn less fuel and therefore spend less on it.

Driving slower is safer too - things happen a little slower at 60 than they do at 70. Most of us towing are playing the back nine of life and our reflexes aren't what they used to be. Driving slower allows our slowed reflexes to react better to emergency situations.
Steve & Susan
WBCCI# 03876
AIR# 6511
2005 28' CCD, 2011 Sierra 5.3L, Equal-I-Zer
Empty Nesters - spending our money on OURSELVES for a change!
Steve & Susan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 06:47 AM   #10
Rivet Master
fastrob's Avatar
1976 25' Tradewind
. , Maine to Arizona
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 593
Best Way To Save Money

The absolute best way to save is not to go anywhere or buy anything.
From there the price goes up.
Before we sprouted 3 teenagers everything was different.
Now with the government printing money like the Wienmar it all gets a lot more serious.
I am looking toward a smaller, older Airstream, and my 25 is not even renovated yet.
My 8 cylinder pick up, while we still have it for work, has been replaced by a 4 cyl diesel Jeep Liberty for towing, recreation and commuting. We also have a sweet Toyota Corolla.
The kids pay for gas, insurance and can drive as long as they work part time for us.
We bake bread with a bread machine, grow our own meat and have a little garden.
Have been thinking about brewing beer since Maine is just about the highest in taxes but do not drink enough beer to justify it unless prices go too much higher.
Learn to live on nothing and make a dollar do the work of 5.
Live in a community that will not seek to destroy you.
"Talk is cheap, Airstreams are expensive," Wally Byam.
'18 Promaster 1500 High Roof
fastrob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 07:35 AM   #11
2 Rivet Member
1956 16' Bubble
1959 17' Pacer
1954 22' Flying Cloud
Daytona Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 32
Ruler- We have a sidecar for one of our Harleys, its a 1940's torpedo shape from Hungary. Looks awesome. Baby's just a bit young for it now.

We use the F350's because we need the room for everything, and have a camper that goes in the bed as well, for long trips. We have a hauling trailer thats 50' long, as well- holds 3 Bambi's.

Rob- ditto on the sustainability theme, and the money printing.
EllieZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 11:38 AM   #12
Vintage Kin
Fort Worth , Texas
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 8,014
Images: 1
The cars are paid for, the depreciation is minimal, the upkeep is easily reasonable, so there would be no benefit to changing vehicles. That's usually false economy (someone who trades-in a vehicle every 3-4 years has lost the equivalent of a brand-new, paid-for vehicle every 12 years), and there is more to consider than fuel economy, unless, of course, the vehicle wasn't well chosen in the first place.

Our trailers are already ideal from the standpoint of fuel economy, it's only a question of size. From there, a reasonably safe speed, better trip planning, plus small economies that add up make them economical.

Compared to the junk-bond quality giant fifth wheels wheezing along at 9 mpg behind a diesel dually, we got it made.

And maybe our Canadian neighbors will finally get the respect they've earned (along with disciples of Can Am RV's Andy Thomson) for stressing wide-stanced, independently-suspended tow vehicles achielving high teens fuel economy.

Personally, no changes. I was already combining trips in the 1970's and never really changed. I've always enjoyed beating the EPA mileage estimates that others whined were unrealistic. I've simply been practicing "not stopping" as much as possible (for signal lights), and always recalling that the average speed of traffic in metro areas off of highways/expressways/parkways is but 15 mph. No point in accelerating past 10 mph BELOW the speed limit, and sort of drifting along at whatever allows me to make the lights.

Slow acceleration isn't always the point, my old man could beat me at the mpg game and ALWAYS out-accelerated me. The key is to be in top gear as long as possible. (How to know you're doing a good job? I almost always get 70,000 miles out of a set of brakes. But Pops would get 90,000. And we NEVER ran them down to fail safe. How many miles do you get?)

Economy, performance and safety go hand in hand. Proper driving posture means more than comfort. The use of mirrors is easily as important as using the brake. Ultra-clean glass, headlights, tail-lights, the list goes on. It's more than a knee-jerk reaction to pump up the tires to maximum as that may badly affect handling. I keep my tires at their recommended numbers, although I have experimented within ranges, keeping FF/RR balances.

I average better mpg in town than my wife in her ultra-modern variable-valve timing 3-liter six that probably weighs 3,400-lbs. My truck weighs almost 4-tons. And she is a careful driver. Practice makes for good habits.

Ever wonder why so many old people are poor drivers? My old man, with senile dementia, has his doctor and the folks at DPS in fits because they CAN'T fail him. Why? Because his driving habits have been impeccable since 1939. The keys will have to go away sooner than later, but YOU CAN'T BEAT GOOD SAFE HABITS. Those "bad" old people nevef had any good habits in the first place; proper understanding. Now, old, decrepit, they have nothing solid to fall back on.

Here's a little one for you. And, it's the law: Do you come to a full stop somewhere within ten-feet BEFORE a stop sign, never crossing the imaginary line across the road? Or, do you not come to your "stop" until you are in the intersection(causing a threat to other drivers, present or not)?

If I'm the one rolling along the other road, that you have stopped for in the intersection then I MUST modify my driving to deal with the threat you've presented; in order to be safe. As a result, I loose some tiny bit of fuel economy which -- beyond the already mentioned proper vehicle selection, necessary planned trips, and careful attitude -- coming second to safety, loses one of those small bits that, together, add up to consistent savings year after year.

To answer the OP question of what I do, then, simply, it is that I have become better about observing, practicing ALL the rules of the road. We're in this together, despite what the advertisers and too many others would have us believe is a difference of "lifestyle" (a bogus, false term if there ever was one).

My answer is that some years ago I wanted to overcome my slack habits that had accumulated, and I got the drivers handbook they give the kiddies and started over. The dividends, ALL of them, are satisfying.
slowmover is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 12:05 PM   #13
Area 63 Productions
Commercial Member
1963 26' Overlander
1958 22' Flying Cloud
1963 19' Globetrotter
Orange , California
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 156
Send a message via Skype™ to Area63
I have always been driving somewhat conservative. Not necessarily slow, but conservative. So there is not much I can do to save fuel on that end.
I do use my motorcycle and bicycle now whenever possible. Bicycle get's 200miles per gallon of water, and the motorcycle about 45miles per gallon of Supreme. The nice thing about the motorcycle is that it saves a lot of gas ( and time ) while it's still a lot of fun to ride.
Area63 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 01:42 PM   #14
Kevin245's Avatar

Vintage Kin Owner
... , ...
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 11,141
Images: 9
At this point I've left the AS at the campground and ride the motorbike ( a BMW fitting of the snob AS image they say) to it. They charge me $40 a month and put it on/off the site and level it. The bike averaged 48.6 mpg on my last trip up in May. With the savings I can afford to buy a couple more of those wonderful pink flamingos and a real bottle of wine without a screw cap.

"One of the best lessons I've learned is that you don't worry about criticism from people you wouldn't seek advice from."

William C. Swinney

Kevin245 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 07:23 PM   #15
Site Team
azflycaster's Avatar

2002 25' Safari
Dewey , Arizona
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 14,815
Images: 62
Blog Entries: 1
When I tow in the mountains I try to go downhill as much as possible. So far it is working about 50% of the time.


Wally Byam Airstream Club 7513
azflycaster is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 08:16 PM   #16
2 Rivet Member
1956 16' Bubble
1959 17' Pacer
1954 22' Flying Cloud
Daytona Beach , Florida
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 32

My man was trying to teach me his system of using the speed to get up the next hill. I'm not sure if everyone agrees, but here it is-

Judge the hill by length and incline. Drift downhill as much as possible, when it starts to level, or just before it levels if need be, start to accelerate- not stomp, but enough to feel that the truck will go up the hill by its own inertia, without having to downshift or stomp on the accelerator. He'll go down the first section of hill at 60, bottom out hitting 65 or better, and basically coast up the hill at 50-55, then he considers it a success if he didn't have to downshift.

Its almost like a game to him, but I know that its helping with fuel.

Does it make sense to anyone else? Or is it just me? EZ.
EllieZ is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-05-2008, 08:32 PM   #17
Rivet Master
davidz71's Avatar
1986 25' Sovereign
Southern Middle , Tennessee
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 3,282
Images: 23
I see truck drivers do it all the time so it must work. I just make sure I stay out their way when they are headed down hill.

AIR #0078
'01 2500hd ext. cab, 8.1 litre gas, 5 sp. Allison auto
3.73 rear end
Mag-Hytec rear diff cover
Amsoil Dual by-pass oil filtration system
Amsoil synthetics all around
265 watt AM Solar, Inc. system
davidz71 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2008, 06:44 PM   #18
Rivet Master
Cracker's Avatar
Currently Looking...
Pittsfield , Maine
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,099
Aside from being real easy on the gas pedal when starting, and trying to slow down steadily when approaching a stop, I drive 55 all of the time on the Interstates and never more than that, or the speed limit, on the secondary roads. I've been doing that ever since the price of fuel started its ridiculous climb! That includes towing and running solo with the tow vehicle (---see below.) The other vehicles in my stable - a '93 Subaru and a '91 Saab get excellent mpg - and they run just great at 55!

2003 GMC 3500 D/A, CC, LB, 4x4 and 2000 Airstream Excella 30. WBCCI 7074
Cracker is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2008, 07:00 PM   #19
Rivet Master
CaddyGrn's Avatar
1963 16' Bambi
1962 22' Safari
Yreka , California
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1,936
I agree with Cracker!

We get off the Interstate as much as possible... one has a tendency to slow down and look at the scenery a bit more! We also drive 55... sometimes even 53... it saves fuel, and is much more relaxing!

When at home, I can walk a few blocks to go grab a carton of milk, whatever... rather than firing up the car. Good for me, good for budget, good for the air.... We also try to plan our errands so we don't double back and waste fuel. It may only be a little bit, but it doesn't take much driving to spend $20 anymore! That $20 can go in the travel kitty! I also turn off the automatic temperature control if it is nice weather, instead of running the air ~ I open the windows!

Next plan, maybe get a goat to eat the lawn, then the riding lawn mower won't need to be fed...

Mrs. NorCal Bambi traveling in S Tardis ~ from the Great State of Jefferson
My new blog: Yreka History
CaddyGrn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-07-2008, 07:33 PM   #20

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , Milky Way
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 17,822
Images: 1

I make the co-pilot drive

"It is more wiser to ponder all things with diligent suspicion, than follow with blind assumption."
ROBERT CROSS is online now   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The adventure begins.... in more ways than one! katzklaw 1960 - 1964 Overlander 157 12-21-2014 03:54 AM
Over-inflate Tires to save fuel? ldetsf Tires 7 11-16-2006 08:07 AM
Why do I love my AS? Let me count the ways... Stefrobrts On The Road... 8 07-28-2003 05:36 PM
Electric fuel pump and fuel line routing cooperhawk Mechanics Corner - Engines, Transmission & More... 7 02-06-2003 10:16 AM
On the road--in more ways than one sectionc General Repair Forum 1 01-28-2003 04:44 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 12:22 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.