In 2021, sales of RVs were at a record-high as more people searched for options to travel involving the great outdoors. According to the RV Industry Association (RVIA), manufacturers shipped an astonishing 600,240 RVs last year, a 39% increase from the year prior. This year, however, RV owners are facing a new challenge: the rising cost of gas.
Gas prices are at an all-time high despite record profits from oil companies. Shell posted a record $9.1 billion in the first quarter of 2022, tripling their profit from the same period in 2021, while ExxonMobil made $9.3 billion in Q1, their biggest windfall in seven years. Meanwhile, oil companies receive $30 billion in taxpayer subsidies from the U.S. government.
Unfortunately, the profits are unlikely to trickle down to RV owners, who are forced to reckon with price shock at the pump. RVIA said that it is estimated that the typical RV owner drives 4,500 miles per year, amounting to a significant chunk of change considering fuel rates are at a national average of $4.97 per gallon right now, according to AAA, a 62% increase since one year ago.
The biggest Class A motorhomes only get about 8-10 mpg. The smallest RVs, Class B models, such as altered Sprinter vans, get 18-25 mpg. The RV enthusiast site Outdoor Miles surveyed 700 owners and learned that gas prices would impact 75% of them.
About 37% said they’d travel less, and 27% said they’d follow their plans but cut back elsewhere. One owner interviewed by WBTV said he’s stopped towing his own vehicle with his RV and will instead rent one when needed.
On the other hand, the study revealed that 24% of RV owners said that fuel prices do not affect their plans. RVIA reports that through April, the most recent month of data, year-to-date RV shipments in 2022 have thus far outpaced 2021 in every month.
Part of the issue could be that, as with cars, there was a shortage of RVs last year due to the tremendous demand. Outdoor Miles states that RV dealer inventories are 40% below normal, with some owners waiting a year to take delivery. Compared to 2019, there are now 4.4 million more households who own an RV.
“If someone recently bought an RV, they’re not going to just park it all summer,” said Kevin Long, CEO of camping app The Dyrt. “But maybe they’ll save that cross-country road trip of a lifetime for 2023.”
This article originally appeared on Yahoo! News.