Do U.S. RVers Deserve Better Coach Mileage?
Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece on motorhome fuel consumption was submitted to RVBUSINESS. com by Julian Gothard, a columnist for Examiner.com. Gothard is a freelance writer and photographer and an enthusiastic supporter of the RV lifestyle.
Ford Motor Co.’s recent announcement that the company plans to increase production of both its 6.8-liter V-10 engine and F-53 stripped Class A motorhome chassis is clearly good news for Henry Ford’s iconic company as well as RV upfitter Detroit Chassis LLC.
And while it’s clearly good news for the short-term availability of more affordable Class A’s, it’s perhaps not the best solution over the long haul for potential RV buyers seeking more fuel-efficient options from North American RV builders, Gothard tells RVBUSINESS.com.
“Indeed,” says Gothard, “a 21st century motorhome chassis that struggles to return double figures in respect of its gas mileage should certainly give potential RV owners pause for thought.”
“Of course,” Gothard maintains, “there’s absolutely nothing wrong with an engine that generates 362 horsepower and 457 lb.-ft. of torque. But for financially savvy RVers planning on taking more than a handful of vacation excursions every year, the mileage math just doesn’t add up.
“Outside of one’s vacation food bill, gas or diesel consumption is likely to be a well-traveled RV owner’s single biggest expense – far outstripping annual costs such as RV insurance, maintenance, vehicle registration fees and storage costs.”
“Ford’s stripped chassis users — like Winnebago Industries Inc., Thor Industries Inc. and Fleetwood RV Inc. — clearly need to be more proactive in addressing the issue of fuel economy because new entrants to the North American RV market will be quick to exploit the competitive advantage presented by the new breed of smaller, lighter and more fuel efficient RV platforms,” stated Gothard, who’s based in Southern California.
“This new generation of lightweight RV platforms — first heralded by the arrival of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter chassis in 2002 — will be buttressed this year by the U.S. launch of the Fiat Ducato (Ram ProMaster) and European Ford Transit Van chassis, both of which — when equipped with the diesel engine option — can deliver 30 plus miles per gallon,” says Gothard.