We’re currently down south working our way down the Murray and interesting point of conversation with other vanners has been about fuel economy. Several of the vanners that spoke to us had just returned from a lengthy stint up north – so for obvious reasons, they’ve done some serious kays and burned through a substantial amount of fuel. 

Outside of accommodation, fuel is probably your biggest expenditure on the road – and likely to be your number-one if you’re a frequent free camper. It might surprise you, but fuel-costs don’t have to be an ever-growing hole in your pocket – or at least, there are simple ways to minimise fuel consumption you may not be aware of! I was shocked last night when a vanner told me about his average fuel cost, only then to tell me he always travels in overdrive!

So in light of that, I thought I’d share some of my tips for more economical fuel consumption so that hopefully, you can beat the bowser in your future travels.


Before you hit the road for that epic adventure you should have your vehicle serviced – primarily for safety and comfort, but there’s another reason. Have the mechanic tune your vehicle for optimal fuel economy towing. He or she will adjust the fuel ratio in your engine diagnostics – remember to ask for a print out of the adjustments!


I’ve always said that if you’re to spend extra on one thing for your travels – make it your tyres. A decent pair versus the budget option means smooth towing reduced bumps and smoother control. Keep them inflated at the correct pressure otherwise you might be copping extra load and drag.


A great way to lessen strain on your engine is to have low-profile appliances on top of your van – this greatly reduces drag. The same goes for roof racks and other items you might have on top of your tow-vehicle. You might also consider purchasing a wind deflector – this directs air over your van instead of directly into it. This might save you up to 15% in fuel savings!


And I don’t mean around the waistline! A bigger payload on board means a bigger fuel bill – this is just a widely accepted fact. I find a great way to keep your load minimal is to only pack what you need, plus the few luxury items you can’t travel without. Before I head off on a trip I lay everything out on a big tarp, cut what I don’t need, revaluate, and then cut again – be brutal!


A lot of unnecessary fuel consumption comes down to how you drive – things like avoiding excessive use of the air-con make all the difference. Cruise control general uses higher revs so limit your use of that – and most importantly, avoid stop-start driving by travelling outside of peak hour!

Well those are my five top tips for enjoying a more fuel-efficient journey. With the money saved, you can afford to stay that extra night, treat yourself to a delicious dinner out, or just pocket it and be happy with the money saved! Oh, and one last thing – save those fuel dockets – every cent counts!

Safe travels,


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