National Park

What is your tolerance for high gas prices?

What is your breaking point when it comes to fuel costs? RV Trader

What is your breaking point for fuel costs this summer? Will you stay out of the national park system if you have to pay more than $4.50 per gallon, or $5 per gallon?

On my recent road trip through Wyoming, Nebraska, and Kansas, gas prices certainly caught my eye. I found a good deal in McPherson, Kansas where I paid $4,249/gallon for “Super 93” unleaded, while in Rawlins, Wyoming the price was $4,799 for regular unleaded. Even though my 2012 Subaru Outback averaged about 26 miles per gallon, fuel was a major expense for the trip.

But there were a lot of travelers on the highways, where I saw more than a few three-quarter-ton pickup trucks carrying fifth wheel campers, and you know they’re lucky if they can average 15 miles a gallon. Although I’ve never paid $70 or more to fill my 16 gallon tank, filling a 36 gallon tank with diesel can cost $200 or more, an eye-watering cost. It could cost four or five times as much to fill one of these bus conversion recreational vehicles.

According to RV Trader, RV owners are watching fuel costs and adjusting their summer plans. In March, in its first survey of 1,800 RV owners, the company found that 51% were adjusting their travel plans due to fuel costs. Now, in a follow-up survey, RV Trader found that over 57% of respondents change their plans.

Just like in March, the best solution RVers think they should resort to to save gas is to simply drive less. Although a motorhome is supposed to be a home away from home, more than 50% decided to stay in the area and drive fewer miles. Additionally, 4% more travelers chose to skip their multi-site road trip and settle in and enjoy a longer stop (36%).

Another solution for many is to shorten the length of their trip, with 18% returning home at the start of March. This holds true in our June survey with 20% making it their plan. Unfortunately, in the worst-case scenario, both surveys found that around 21% of RVers had to make the difficult decision to cancel their trip altogether.

Some, however, take a completely different route by considering a new purchase that will offer more bang for their buck. Over 10% of respondents said they were considering purchasing a more fuel-efficient unit for their excursions. — RV dealer.

The latest survey also revealed that 54% of RV owners began adjusting their travel plans once fuel hit $4/gallon. Forty-three percent said $5/gallon was the tipping point for changing their initial travel plans. When it comes to simply canceling a trip, 50% of respondents said fuel costs of $5/gallon were the breaking point, while 20% said they could afford up to at $5.50/gallon before canceling a trip.

So what’s your breaking point for changing or canceling a summer vacation in the parks when it comes to fuel costs?