Friday, August 17, 2012

8/17 Environmentally Unfriendly??

I have had people comment on how environmentally unfriendly my motorhome is beause I only get 8-10 MPG.  That is true, but I am hoping that as time goes on, I will be driving fewer miles per year than when I worked.  I did drive a lot to get out here to California, and I will be driving about 750 miles to get to Grand Canyon, but once there, I will be parked for 6 days and using only national park shuttles.  Lake Powell also has some shuttles, so I will be using those when I can.  Ditto for Bryce and Zion National Parks.  I will have to drive a bit when I stay at the North Rim of Grand Canyon because I don't believe there are any there.

However, consider my other usages:  I can manage for at least three days on only 60 gallons of water if I am alone.  I take what I call my "dribble" shower rather than use the not-quite-so-clean campground showers, and I can take three showers, flush the toilet when needed, and do dishes on those 60 gallons for three days.  That's not bad, even considering a couple of loads of laundry at a public laundromat once a week.  

I also use propane to operate my two little furnaces, stove and oven, water heater, and refrigerator when I am not hooked up to electric.  10 gallons of propane will last at least a month, even if the temps drop at night substantially. 

Admittedly, I do use a lot of electricity, especially when it is hot because I need my air conditioning.  electricity also powers my refrigerator when available and the microwave and TVs, plus it powers the 120 volt plugs I have so I can recharge all my electronics.  I managed without external power in Rocky Mountain National Park because it was cool, but I really had a problem with charging stuff and had to find a visitor center to plug into every couple of days.  Also, no TV or even DVDs without external power.  I can use my generator, but it runs on gasoline, so that can be expensive and parks limit usage time because of the noise factor.

I do have two deep-cycle coach batteries that will power my lights and fans, plus the water pump, for several days. In fact, in Rocky Mountain National Park, they never seemed to budge from full.  I need to find a way to get an inverter hooked directly to my coach batteries so I can pull power from them for recharging electronics instead of my truck battery. 

All in all, however, I suspect I am using a lot less energy than most of house dwellers are using.  I have no second vehicle.  I also don't water a lawn or run a dishwasher.  My water heater gets turned off when I am not heating water, instead of heating those 50 gallons constantly as my old one did.

What do you think?


  1. I think that people who concentrate only on gas mileage don't really know much about how environmentally friendly an RV is. You hit on many of the major points where your "smaller" home does so much better. Even the amount of electricity you use when plugged in is miniscule compared to a house. You can get a small unit that plugs into your cigarette lighter to charge your electronics while driving. You may also have a 12v outlet elsewhere in your RV. Many motorhomes have at least one. Sometimes it is by the TV antenna. Of course, if you charge off the house batteries, you will have to figure out how much you are using. You are indeed a very good energy saver so blow off the naysayers.

  2. I've searched for a 12v plug, and I just don't have one, unless it is really, really hidden. (Checked in all the places people have suggested.) I will be going into the dealer this coming week, so will ask them and get an estimate. Yes, I can charge from the car battery, but would rather charge from my larger coach batteries. Maybe I can get them to convert one of my ceiling fixtures to a 12 volt connection since they draw from the coach batteries???

    You are right about the electicity. Even in my condo, I had at least a 36,000 BTU AC unit, compared to the 10,000 BTU one in my motorhome.

  3. I don't have one either but people always tell me motorhomes have them. They should be able to run wiring from one of your lights without you losing that light.