Author Topic: Question for full timers: Monthly fuel costs  (Read 5010 times)

Offline Cary and Don

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 799
Re: Question for full timers: Monthly fuel costs
« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2014, 07:34:00 AM »
We have found that if you have to run a generator for heat or air conditioning, it is cheaper to stay in an rv park.  When boondocking, we are all electric, we try to keep the generator under two hours a day.  We are energy hogs.

Don and Cary
1973 05 Eagle
Neoplan AN340

Offline shelled

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 121
Re: Question for full timers: Monthly fuel costs
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2014, 12:17:30 AM »

monthly fuel costs depend on more than the number of miles driven.  You can make large differences in your traveling costs depending on (1) vehicle selection and (2) driving speed.

The examples above reflect the vehicle and driving speed for specific cases and generally for large (40+ feet) buses with automatic transmissions and a toad.  At the other end of the spectrum, a GM PD-4104 with manual transmission driven at 55 mph on flat land can get over 13 miles per gallon BUT that drops a lot when you go faster or are driving with a lot of up and down.  As the Bridgestone folks say when writing about the effect of tire choices, test results and other peoples experience are not good predictors.

Rampside/UltraVan/Excalibur/4104/4107/etc -- Dallas Tx

Offline Seangie

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1255
  • And We're Off... Like a Herd of Turtles
    • Herd of Turtles
Re: Re: Question for full timers: Monthly fuel costs
« Reply #17 on: June 16, 2014, 08:44:54 AM »
There are a lot of great little gems in this thread. We are on day 361 of fulltiming and have learned alot about what it takes to live on the road.  I think most of the fuel costs questions have been covered to this point.

I think Jon made a good point earlier in the thread about repair costs.  Buses are expensive.  Just ask the Technomads as they recently had their engine rebuilt which was no small feat.  The Technomads have great resources though for budgeting and set real world expectations for living full time.  We ourselves just replaced a starter yesterday at 350.00 and that was doing the work myself.  It would have easily been another 400$ or more for labor had a shop done the work. More than that if we didnt have a parts place down the road and needed to be towed. I think to realistically get a grasp of costs on fulltiming you need to look at more than just fuel.

Here are things we consider for budget
(mostly restated from previous posts)-

Miles per month - for fuel alone we factor a dollar per mile (we get 6-8mpg)
Generator run times (when boondocking) - 1-2 gallons per day.  If its hot enough to need AC it could be more than that. We typically average 12$ a day to boondock.

Campgrounds - How long to stay?  Ideally we would like to try and stay a month in each place to keep it cheap and not drive too far to the next place. 

Food -  This doesn't have to be but always seems to be our biggest expense.

Repairs -  Looking over total costs of repairs for the last year this is just over 300 a month for us.  Tire replacement at 500.00, Oil change at 180.00, Tie rod, tranny fluid and other work that needed to be done for about 1800.  Starter at 350.  This isnt everything and It adds up quick.  Also think about generator upkeep as well as RV repairs - fridge, lights, toilet, electrical....etc.

Toad - fuel costs and repairs.

One last thing is lifestyle.  We just boondocked (no hookups) in Yosemite for a week at the cost of 10$ a day plus generator (12$ day) if we stayed in a nearby campground it would have been 70 a day plus a whole lot of fuel to drive our giant toad into the park everyday. 

So if you like being in a great location with full hookups, wifi that works, a swimming pool, all your cable channels and a nice paved pad each time you stop it might be a few dollars more than staying off the beaten path, stealth boondocking and overnighting in sub par campgrounds. 

We have payed as much as 550$ for a week in an RV park and as much as 80$ to overnight in prime loacations. We have also gone months where our total costs for fuel is 0$ and our campground fees were 350.00.  The most expensive places were because of lack of planning and being in California and the cheapest place was a planned stay in Texas.  Slowing down and putting less miles on the road also spreads out the costs of repairs and fuel over time.

One last thing to mention is that compared to our 1800.00 a month mortgage payment and house repairs and land scaping and bills it is much cheaper to live on the road.  It does have its tradeoffs but so far we will accept those challenges that we are faced with for the amazing experience that we have had over the past year.


Fulltiming somewhere in the USA
1984 Eagle 10S
'Cause you know we,
we live in a van (Eagle 10 Suburban)
Driving through the night
To that old promised land'