Thursday, October 30, 2014


When choosing a vehicle for living on the road full time, there's the battle between room and fuel economy. That's less of a problem if you can be comfortable in a small space. But if you're not a small person, and if you want to be able to sleep stretched out rather than in a fetal position or reclined in a car seat, and tenting isn't appealing, then you'll need a longer vehicle. That's why vans are a popular solution.

But the fuel mileage of full sized vans is only in the teens, even with a 6-cylinder engine. Minivans get better mileage. Though they're smaller, there's still room for most people to sleep uncurled. Crossovers (the smaller SUVs built on automobile platforms rather than truck platforms) usually get better milage, but they're short, leaving less room for you and your necessities. I've seen people do it, but they don't seem thrilled about it. Some folks are even living in sedans.

If your body says, "More room," while your wallet says, "Better mileage," my advice is this: you can stretch your mileage budget by staying in one place for longer periods, but you can't stretch your vehicle.


  1. I bought a longer van than I was planning to buy because I couldn't get enough solar panels on the shorter one. I sure am glad to have that extra space inside, though.

  2. "Staying in one place for longer periods of time." This is an excellent suggestion that tends to get overlooked, perhaps because it belies the standard RV Dream fantasy of going from place to place to place, ad infinitum.

    But about those crossover CUVs that get high miles per gallon: don't new ones start at $30,000? Overpaying by many thousands of dollars sounds like false economy to me.

    1. Most van dwellers tend to travel less after the first year or so. They've checked things out, seen the sights, and sort of set up a circuit of favorite places, following the seasons.

      Buying a new vehicle of any kind is usually a mistake. By the way, a brand new plain Jane cargo van starts at almost $30K, too.