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Despite gas prices, RV sales are at a record high

Posted at 4:16 PM, Jun 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-11 19:16:56-04

Summer is here and your travel plans may be shifting a bit due to record-high gas prices.

AAA says the national average for regular unleaded is $4.97 a gallon. Here in Arizona, prices jumped eight cents overnight, to $5.26 a gallon.

The pandemic had people longing for the open road, making 2021 "The Year of the RV," but with those record-breaking gas prices, will people be trading in their campers this summer?

When empty, filling up a full RV tank can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000. But as ABC15 found out, that's not enough to stop people from hitting the road.

Glendale resident Chris Small is driving his RV, with his car in tow, to all 50 states. It's a venture he started last year and something he never thought he'd do until he retired. That was until the pandemic hit.

"I lost my job during COVID and then I started doing Uber full time in Arizona," Small said. "I realized there's a lot of earning opportunity with it and that I could move it around with me. So I just kind of took a leap of faith and I decided to just do it and it's worked out well for me so far."

According to the RV Industry Association, RV shipments across the country have gone up by about 200,000 from 2020 to 2021. Patrick Buchanan with the digital community RV Life says 2022 continues to break records.

"Right now, we're still seeing month over month above 2021 which were above 2020," he said.

That's despite gas prices being $4, $5 or even surpassing $6 a gallon in some parts of the country.

"The fear of missing out on those memories, particularly with the way things are in the world right now, they just don't want to take a chance of missing their opportunity to see some of the great places they can see," Buchanan said.

For Small, he drives his hybrid vehicle for Uber in each state for about two months before moving on to the next state in his RV. He says he fills up his RV's tank before it is ever on empty, so it might not be as much as you'd think.

"That can be $150 to $200 easily," he said.

Small has this message for anyone thinking of packing up and seeing the world around them.

"Don't be discouraged — it's definitely doable," he said.

If you have an RV but are discouraged by the gas prices, Buchanan recommends finding a campsite near your home. He says you can still get the "vacation experience" and there are plenty of places in Arizona that are just a few hours away.