Faced with rising fuel prices, the ingenuity of RV enthusiasts

Pump in hand, the septuagenarian observes moving – too quickly – the figures of the salty additive with which he will have to settle for his half-full diesel. “There we used to make 40 liters for 77.43 euros”, he comments, “Before we used to make 40 liters for about 60 euros”.

However, this small service station in Lurcy-Levis, at the bottom of the Allier, is trading at 1,902 euros per litre, a price lower than many of its competitors. “It’s a disaster, this rise in the price of gasoline,” says a laughing Bernard, whom nothing seems to bring down.

This outbreak, triggered in part by economic sanctions in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, hits the budget hardest for these nomadic tourists, especially since their heavy motorhomes consume twice as much as a car.

“It really starts to hurt, we ask ourselves the question, isn’t it becoming a luxury to travel this way? asks Simon Daval, 34, who travels through Europe in a motorhome with his partner and whose adventures are followed by 50,000 people on his YouTube channel “Peripléties”.

From economy to luxury?

“Basically, the motorhome is seen as a cheap vacation mode, but if it continues like this, you have to think”, confirms Pauline Moiret-Brasier in one of her videos where hundreds of motorhome owners share their fears.

This comes as holidays in motorhomes, vans and camper vans – more popular equivalents among young people thanks to their popularity on social media – are enjoying renewed interest since the Covid-19 epidemic and the return to force of local parties.

On the rental side, the increase in the price at the pump is also already being felt. “We saw some cancellations when oil was really very expensive,” said Augustin Bouyer, director of rental company WeVan.

But the effect “the most massive, is rather in the attitude of waiting, in the reservations that were not made,” he says, with a drop in requests for quotes.

“This frozen situation makes us relive the Covid crisis a bit,” he sighs, although an improvement has been noted since the entry into force at the beginning of April of a reduction of 15 cents at the pump.

But for the vast majority who own their own vehicle, walking away from this vacation after the initial investment is more difficult. “Even if people complain, they go there,” says Christian Millot, vice president of the French Federation of Motorhome Associations and Clubs.

“Mostly in my club I have people who tell me + we reduce additional expenses in relation to the price of diesel, since we don’t want to reduce the kilometers we do +”, he specifies, posing proudly in front of his decorated windshield. with a myriad of small stuffed animals.

Applications

“We work in the middle to have time to find an interesting station”, confirms Bernard Jacob, who still tours France thanks to “resources”.

His technique? “We use apps like Eco Fuel, Fuel Flash or Cheaper Fuel to find the best stations,” he explains, shaking his phone.

“Given the price of fuel, we will cut costs on other things, such as outings,” adds Michel Couturier, an 80-year-old retiree. “Perhaps we will go to the restaurant a little less,” confirms his wife Marie-Madeleine, 73.

Sitting at the modular table of his spacious vehicle, the seasoned motorhome driver thinks of “the fairest economically”, believing that many “will go less far” or will dispense with “campsites or payment areas”.

“The future of our motorhome trips is not all gray”, clarifies Pauline Moiret-Brasier, “there are always ways to embark on an adventure by reducing our consumption”. Thanks to eco-driving, she explains that she reduced it by four liters per hundred, thus saving the equivalent of “800 euros a year”.

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