Gas Prices Don't Affect RV Vacationers
RV owners plan to use their vehicles more this spring/summer than last year, despite higher fuel prices. This finding comes from a newly released “Campfire Canvass” survey of 444 RV owners, taken as gasoline prices were climbing rapidly in March.
Almost seven out of 10 RV owners surveyed plan to use their RVs more this spring/summer than they did a year ago. Over a quarter (27%) are planning to use their RVs the same amount as last year. Only about four percent of RV owners plan to use their RVs less this season.
These findings indicate that as in 2004, when RV shipments rose 15 percent despite record-high fuel prices, the price of gas will have little impact on RV use this spring and summer.
“RVers are as enthusiastic as ever about traveling this season,” explains Dr. Robert Hitlin, president of Robert Hitlin Research Associates, Inc., who conducted the study for Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “Over the last several years it appears that spikes in fuel prices have had a minimal impact on RV travel plans. RVers are desensitized to these fuel price spikes because we have had several of them in the past few years.”
A desire to take more mini-vacations emerged as the top reason for RV owners to travel more this season, the survey found. This trend reflects Americans’ increased preference for shorter, more frequent getaways, travel experts say.
The popularity of mini-vacations does not necessarily mean RVers will be traveling less in total this season. Close to half of those surveyed expect to travel more miles in total than last. RVers plan to log an average of 3,000 miles—nearly 100 more than last year despite the rise in fuel prices—and travel an average of 35 days and eight weekends this season, the survey shows.
Nearly a quarter of respondents indicated they would stay closer to home. These travel patterns reflect the sentiments of RV owners surveyed:
- “The price of gas hasn’t changed our plans. We usually make two big trips a year and do a lot of camping locally, 20 to 40 miles away,” says Eric Bray of Houston, Miss.
- “I don’t like the high prices, but they’re not going to change my plans. I’ll continue to make short stops here and there and a couple of long trips once or twice a year,” says Harley Infinger of Odessa, Fla.
- “I’ll try to use the RV more than I did last
year, but the trips will be shorter,” said Thaddeus
Openhowski of Sioux Falls, South Dakota
“Whether traveling five or 500 miles, RVers enjoy the same quality time with loved ones, taking advantage of closer-to-home recreation opportunities and destinations or staying in one place to cut costs,” observes David J. Humphreys, RVIA president.
“Although some RV owners are concerned about fuel prices, the added cost is only a small part of the equation and not an overriding issue,” added Humphreys. “Gas price hikes impact all forms of travel, and RV trips remain less expensive than flying or driving, staying in hotels and eating in restaurants. For most RV owners, the advantages of RVing—such as greater flexibility, control and comfort—outweigh the higher costs of fuel.”
Survey respondents also cited desires to enjoy nature (41%), escape stress (38%), spend more quality time with family (38%) and enjoy outdoor activities (36%) as key reasons for using their RVs more this year.
Camping is the overwhelming favorite activity of RVers, according to nearly nine out of 10 respondents. Grilling/cookouts (85%), campfires (81%), hiking/walking (68%), scenic drives (67%), visiting historic sites (66%), fishing (59%), swimming (55%), visiting family/friends (55%) and shopping (54%) were also cited as top activities enjoyed by RV owners.
Reflecting the family-friendly nature of RVing, 97 percent of respondents feel that RVs enable their family to spend more quality time together. Two-thirds of those surveyed said they will travel with either their children or grandchildren. In addition, 60 percent of RV owners plan to bring family pets on RV trips this season.
RVIA is the national association representing more than 550 manufacturers and component suppliers producing approximately 98 percent of all RVs made in the United States. Find More RV Facts at www.rvia.org.