Keeping Fuel Costs to a Minimum 10 Comments

Touring Europe Motorhome

All motorhome and campers want to improve their mileage and keep fuel costs to a minimum. Fuel prices are constantly changing and even when prices are low it is a fair amount of cash to fill up the tank. At the end of the day, Motorhomes are big vehicles, so they are never going to be that great on fuel but any saving is better than none. If you are planning a long journey or just tootling back and forth at weekend, a small improvement in the daily MPG can save you a big chunk of cash during the course of your travels. Here are a few tips that you may help improve the MPG.

Driving Habits

Good driving habits will certainly help towards good fuel consumption. We see so many motorhomes being pushed to their limits and bad driving habits like constantly flooring it (foot on the accelerator) will increase your fuel consumption. Driving at a steady, constant speed will give better mpg than driving at uneven speeds. Driving too fast and then breaking is just wasting the fuel you used to creat the speed in the first place. Steady speeds and minimum breaking all help contribute to better fuel consumption. One tip – use gravity to your advantage and build up momentum when going downhill to help you then get uphill, rather than accelerating more to get up the incline.

Plan and Prepare

We are all guilty of packing too much or panicking we have not got enough stuff only to find at the end of a trip we didn’t use half the stuff. The best way is to plan what you need, organise everything and if need be make a list. If you have the garage space, place everything together, so you can easily see all your stuff in one place. That way you are not constantly wondering, did I pack X, where did I put Y and how many Z do I have. You can see everything, appreciate how much stuff you are taking and ensure you are not overloading your motorhome. In addition, when packing try and distribute the weight evenly over the motorhome. Packing light and even will add to an improvement in fuel usage.

Keeping Trim

If you don’t empty your motorhome after every trip and just keep adding more stuff then it might be worth checking the weight. Equally, if you go away and buy a lot more stuff like gifts and duty free then your overall weight will increase. A heavier motorhome will use more fuel but also if over weight, it could become unsafe (as well as illegal). One of the best things you can do to improve your gas mileage is simply to reduce the amount of weight that you are pulling around.

Remove Drag

If you do not use external carrying kit such as roof boxes or bike racks then remove. The motorhome has to work harder to cut through the air due to the extra wind resistance. Working harder means more fuel.


Try and ensure you travel with the grey waste tank empty. There is no point carrying around unwanted waste water. Keep fresh water tanks to a minimum . You should be able to fill up the water tanks once you arrive (unless you are camping somewhere without water), so there is no need to haul all of that heavy water along the road. There is a profound connection between weight and miles per gallon, so each and every pound matters when planning your road trip.

Servicing & Maintenance

Annual or routine servicing will help keep your engine in good condition. We travel a lot, so for us it feel it is important to keep the ‘engine ticking’ and in the best condition we can. We have noticed that efficiency starts to suffer when there are issues within the engine. Our vehicle is only 3 years old but already we have replaced the precision sensor/filter twice. Each time the filter is getting ready for a change the MPG starts to suffer. The other one to check on a regular basis is the tyre pressure to reduce resistance.


Unless it’s really cold or uncomfortably warm in the motorhome, leave the air-con turned off. Using it can put a strain on the engine and burn more fuel, especially at low speeds. The same goes for heated windscreens and other electrical appliances.

Shop Around

Each country has its own quirky pricing system, so it is worth checking on the best time to fill the tank and where. Also if you are moving from country to country, it is good to find out which country is the cheapest especially if you are near a duty free zone. Global Petrol Prices website is worth using to check out the prices along your route.

Pennies soon become pounds and saving on fuel means more pennies for the fun fund.

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10 thoughts on “Keeping Fuel Costs to a Minimum

  • Robert Ellis

    When I was a truck driver ,we used to ( knock the stick out ) but in those days there was no power steering Today you can’t do that,if the engine cuts out so does the steering The only way I see ,don’t fill tank up to brim ,if you know the next garage is not miles away ,but being in a Foreign country that will be hard to do ,The other way let Joanne & the two dudes walk behind for a few miles ,that will save a bob or two he he he l don’t think that would work,Never mind keep safe,keep traveling & ENJOY loads of luv Pops xxxxx& tell the Dudes they don’t have to walk Woof woof xxxx until next time xxx

  • Ann

    Excellent advice from the Bumbles as usual.

    We have a spread sheet list in two halves (1) What is kept IN the motorhome and (2) What we must ADD to the motorhome for trips. Works for us 🙂

  • John

    I have driven our camper with the same philosophy as you have stated.
    I even had the instant consumption display set so I could drive accordingly.
    The trouble is with the modern diesel and the emissions controls fitted in these engines.
    As you have found out the build up of carbon/particulates can and does cost use in garage costs.
    Ours has the same problem with the engine management light, thankfully it does not go into limp mode.
    The advice we received from the French garage was to run the engine hot he said “30 minutes at over 3000 revs”.
    Now every trip out we run in 4th gear @ 3500 revs, it clears the fault.
    As the garage told you, ( as you published) run the engine up the hills don’t let it labour.
    The difference in running costs over 10000 miles based on the consumption of 28 to 25 miles per gallon is approximately 200 litres @ £1.00 per litre.
    Your repair was £2000.00 approximately that’s a 100000 range with the higher fuel consumption.
    This is all shoulda, woulda,coulda speculation.
    I think your blogs are great and are a inspiration for others to gain the confedance to explore as you have.
    Thank you again for sharing.

    • Bumble Crew Post author

      Hi John, all good points and thanks for input. Modern diesel engines are a nightmare and a fine balancing act.
      When we first experienced the problem the garage said it might be the dpf but it wasn’t. It turned out the issue was attributed to the tempersture sensor, a part which they do not fit as standard in Norway (apparently). The temperature sensor failed and with no temperature sensor we got excessive build up in the exhaust. Normally it would only take an hour to change but do to the motorhome build, it took over a day.
      We have an automatic and ideally we should be able to just drive but we sometimes override. Like you we keep the rev’s higher until the engine warms.
      Sacrificing a few mpg at the start of a journey to offset any potential large garage bills is a valid and good point. Afterall no one wants a motorhome in a garage when there are places to visit.

  • Neal

    Thanks for that link guys. I found it most interesting, if a little disturbing. I have used for UK fuel prices for 5+ years but hadn’t heard of this one before.

  • Nick Pearce

    Our vehicle is only 3 years old but already we have replaced the precision sensor/filter twice. Each time the filter is getting ready for a change the MPG starts to suffer. Can you tell me what this please ??

    • Bumble Crew Post author

      I wish we could Nick but our knowledge on mechanical stuff is very limited.
      We too have changed our dpf twice too and apparently it is all down to the emission regulations. When a filter or part fails then the engine automatically goes in to protection mode.
      If you do plenty stop/start driving or slow bumbling then the manual recommends you drive on the highway at approximately 3000 rpm for around 20 minutes or so. This helps clear the filter of any diesel particle build up.
      Hope that helps