We Bought An RV!

Well, we weren’t a one vehicle family for very long. We bought a Class C RV, the Winnebago Itasca Viva, the other day. You read that correctly. WE BOUGHT AN RV! Now, this wasn’t just a random, spur of the moment decision. We have been thinking about buying an RV for over a year now. We…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 24, 2023

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

We Bought A Class C RV - The Winnebago Itasca Viva!Well, we weren’t a one vehicle family for very long. We bought a Class C RV, the Winnebago Itasca Viva, the other day.

You read that correctly.

WE BOUGHT AN RV!

Now, this wasn’t just a random, spur of the moment decision. We have been thinking about buying an RV for over a year now.

We have done an insane amount of research, we have watched and read countless RV videos and websites, and more. We’ve thought about maintenance expenses, fuel costs, emergency repairs, RV parking, RV campgrounds, laundry, wifi, and so on.

We ended up buying a Winnebago Itasca Viva, which is a Class C RV. We thought about getting a Class B RV but decided on a Class C RV so that we could have a little more space.

Some of the reasons for why we decided on the Winnebago Itasca Viva include:

  • It’s not a huge motorhome, but it’s enough space for us at 24 feet long. We will be traveling with our dogs and there is plenty of space for the four of us.
  • It’s not hard to drive and it doesn’t get absolutely horrible gas mileage (it’s very similar to the Wrangler we used to own).
  • There’s a full bathroom with an actual shower, toilet, and sink.
  • There’s a bed. There’s actually enough room to sleep 6 in our RV. Who wants to join us?
  • There’s a kitchen with a big fridge, freezer, sink, stove, and microwave.
  • It has a dining table with plenty of space for me to work.

As you can see, the RV we chose is pretty amazing! We really love it and have already taken some day trips to test everything out.

Now, some of you may be wondering why we bought an RV in the first place. Below are some of the reasons we decided to buy an RV.

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We spend a lot of money on hotels.

Class C RV’s are not cheap, I do realize that. The Winnebago Itasca Viva isn’t cheap either.

However, we spend a decent amount of money on traveling each month. I would much rather put my money towards an RV and the costs related to that. I’m all for nice hotels and resorts, but with our trips lately we have been staying at many highway hotels which are not always the greatest.

After all of the traveling and spending money on hotels lately, traveling via RV just seems like a much better option. We do still plan on staying in hotels and Airbnbs occasionally, but it won’t be as often. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely love hotels, Airbnbs and resorts! We will just be able to stay in our “second home” more often.

There are ways we can save money too such as going on longer trips where we stay in place for a longer time (so that we spend less on gas), riding our bikes or moped whenever we can (we don’t plan on towing a car), and boondocking as much as we can.

Related: How To Camp For Free, Even In Beautiful and Desirable Places

 

We want to travel more comfortably.

Packing and unpacking our stuff each morning after staying in a hotel gets annoying after awhile. In fact, the other day I left my favorite shirt at a hotel and I’m still upset about that!

We realized that having an RV would make traveling much more comfortable for us as well as the dogs. Plus, we would have a place to pretty much call home for when we are not actually at home.

It will also be nice to have everything we need right in the RV. We can make meals and save a ton of money on food while traveling, have our own bathroom, a bed, and so on.

 

IMG_3397 (1)We want to be able to take breaks when we want and need to.

With an RV, we can stop whenever we want (okay, not literally but you get what I mean) instead of trying to race to the next hotel.

We often log around 12-15 hours in the car each day when on road trips because we don’t want to stop as frequently for hotel stays.

With an RV, we will be able to travel at a more casual pace.

 

We want to visit friends and family more.

While we love Colorado and the surrounding areas, we do miss friends and family. Having an RV means that we can visit them all more and stay longer (until they get annoyed of us). Since we will have everything we need in the RV, we won’t feel the need to rush home either.

 

We enjoy traveling.

We enjoy traveling, being on the road, and know that there’s still a lot of North America that we would like to see. Having an RV just seems like a much better way to travel.

I know many like to say that there’s no where in the U.S. to travel to and some even make fun of RVers for that reason, but I think those who say that are crazy! There are so many different dramatic landscapes to see here and I would like to spend more time experiencing everything.

 

We can still work on the road.

Another great reason we decided to buy an RV is because we can work from wherever since we are location independent.

Working on the road and being able to travel wherever I want sounds like a dream to me!

Also, I’ve had a lot of you ask what I’m using for internet. I’m using a Verizon MiFi Jetpack.

Are we crazy? Does traveling in an RV interest you? Would you be interested in some RV-related posts on Making Sense of Cents?

Probably the most important question: Where should we go next in our Class C RV – the Winnebago Itasca Viva?!


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Wow, congrats on your new RV Michelle! I would love to read more updates about your RV and your coming travels!

  2. Wooow! Well done, you! Now you can combine business and pleasure. Keep us posted on your travels and adventures.

  3. I think it is a good choiche, it will became your second home during your travels…

  4. Wow! Jealous!!! I’ve always wanted a Winnebago. I really got hooked on the idea when we visited New Zealand and every second vehicle on the road seemed to be a campervan. The idea of parking one scares the [you know what] out of me though. πŸ™‚

    Congratulations! I can see there’ll be a lot more ‘awesomeness’ in your future.

  5. Congrats on your new purchase! I love the fact that you can work from anywhere, so that means you have total freedom over where you visit πŸ™‚ keep us updated on your travels!

  6. How exciting! It’s definitely a dream of mine to buy an RV once we are financially independent! I want to visit all 50 states (what kind of crazy person thinks there’s nothing to see in North America?) and take our time exploring all the lesser known places that you don’t get to see when you’re rushing through!

    1. I’ve visited 45 states. America is GORGEOUS!!! Just need to get the final 5 in.

    2. I don’t know why people think there’s nothing to see here. There’s plenty!

  7. Erin

    Congrats on your new RV! It looks gorgeous! I’d love to read more about your traveling adventures and how you structure your work day while traveling.

    1. Yeah, I’ll have to do another “Day In The Life” post, but for an RVer working on the road.

  8. Buying an RV is my husband’s dream! He wants to buy an RV and visit every state in the US. I’m still not convinced, but you do make some excellent points in favor of the RV. You’ll have to do a post on some of your RV adventures!

    1. Yes, I’ll definitely do some RV posts πŸ™‚

  9. Nikol

    Congratulations! Working on the road like that has always been a dream of mine. Enjoy seeing the country and making money while doing so!

  10. Lori

    Wow! This is the same RV we’ve been watching with similar plans…to use as a working/home base while traveling. We first saw it in candy-apple red and feel in love.

    1. Are you referring to the Winnebago Travato? I don’t think the Viva comes in red but the Travato does πŸ™‚

  11. Christopher

    When I was a kid, my folks had a Winnebago and we did a summer trip around the states. It was nice to have a place to stay after going fishing. Since my father was retired military, we would go for the campgrounds on post. The cost can go around 15-19 dollars a night during that time in the late 80s, early 90s. One time when we went to Assateague island, the safest place was the rv when we had no clue the mosquitoes attacked in swarms. It looked like a big dust cloud. I still recall my grandmother laughing looking through the window as we ran inside. Oh the memories!

  12. Jesse Gernigin

    I spent a summer touring the country performing at resorts and I took an RV all over the country with me. You will love it! You are in for such an amazing experience! Congratulations.

  13. Yay, I’ve been waiting for this post since your announcement on Twitter haha! I think this is so awesome that you went the RV route.

    It’s honestly something I never even considered until this year and now my hubby and I have been talking about potentially buying one ourselves when we are empty nesters so we can travel the country together. We will probably rent one for a few trips with kids while they are young, but I think it would be so fun to just be able to go wherever in the comfort of your own “home”.

    Hotels can not only get pricey to stay at a nice one, but even the nicest hotels still skeve me out with the germs and just general grossness lurking lol. I think RV traveling would be a great for me!

    I’d love to see more posts on this πŸ™‚

    1. Haha I am a germaphobe too so I often get grossed out at hotels easily.

  14. Good for you! We have had a travel trailer for four seasons now, and I’ve put up a fair amount of posts about how it’s saved us money, how it’s cost us money, some of the great adventures, and some of the misadventures we’ve had. I’d certainly look for posts from other bloggers to capture the experience!

    1. I’ll have to check your posts out!

  15. We’ve been avid campers for a long time, and since 2008 we spend most of our time “on the road.” We’re on our 15th cross-country trip right now, and recently started a blog about our travels… I have about 7 years worth of stories to catch up on! I started following your blog to help me get started on ours, and have long thought you guys should look into doing what you’re doing now – congratulations! By the way, I hope you know your RV qualifies as a home for tax purposes!

    There are an awful lot of spectacular places to see and fun things to do, and a class C is the ideal way to go… much more comfortable and economical than hotels. You won’t look back! Happy travels πŸ™‚

    1. Shari

      How expensive are class c RVs to repair/maintain? That’s the reason we haven’t considered them. Also, because gas gets so expensive.

      1. There are many factors to consider, Shari. New vs used; how much will you really use the RV; the length of the warranty and what it covers, etc. I wouldn’t recommend buying a Class C for ‘casual’ campers, i.e. if you would only use it for a week or two every year. If you’re in a position to do a lot of traveling and don’t want to feel like you’re living our of suitcases, a Class C is a great home on wheels, much less expensive than hotels, even when you factor in gas prices. Living expenses can be kept pretty low too, since you don’t have to eat out. Maintenance and repair expenses are similar to a car or truck, as most manufacturers will offer warranties that provide good coverage. We bought a NexusRV Viper a year ago, direct from the factory, and they have been great about taking care of any issues we had. We had a Crossroads ‘fifth wheel’ trailer for 7 years and loved that too… here’s a post about our experience of becoming ‘full time RVers’ 7 years ago…

  16. How exciting! Congrats on your RV. The hubs and I both grew up going on RVing trips with our families and decided about ten years ago to do the same for our family. It’s so much fun.

    We still frequent hotels now and then, but an RV is a great way to go. Most of my articles are about our Southern Travels at http://thehowtoguru.org/category/southern-family-travel. I’m also editing a book right now for an Author that is part of a young, full-time family that is sharing their resources and what they’ve learned on the road in the past five years, traveling the U.S.

    #awesomesauce

    blessings,

    The How-to Guru

    1. I’ll check out your link now. Thanks!

  17. I am not surprised at all that you bought an RV. You travel so much and it’s perfect for road trips.

    1. I’m not surprised either πŸ™‚

  18. I hope you get enough use out of it to justify it Michelle. Not trying to be a Debbie-downer and I’m sure you did you research – but when my parents bought a camper it just sat there most of the time and cost them money to maintain.

    1. We’ve been on the road more than we’ve been home this year so I know we will use it πŸ™‚ We’ve already logged a few HUNDRED hours this summer in our car on road trips.

  19. Hah! I literally just wrote about mobile homes today – too funny.

    Way to go πŸ™‚ Though you didn’t include any of the sexy financial #’s! haha…

    1. Ha yeah I saw your post in an email and immediately had to hope over and read it.

      I plan on covering the financials of everything once we finally get used to the expenses. Still don’t know how much propane, gas, etc. will cost.

      1. Michelle, we went through a lot of propane on chilly nights when we first got our fifth wheel, until another camp host (we were volunteering at a beach in Southern California in the winter – another great way to save money and get to know an area) another camp host suggested we buy an electric heater, which runs off the campground’s electricity instead of your propane! It works great, and it was years before we had to refill the propane! For gas costs, keep track of your mileage; we have a 29 foot class B-plus (which is what yours looks like, by the way – no big overhang in front), we average 8 to 10 mpg, and we’re towing a Ford Fusion. You’ll probably do better with a 24-ft rig. Will you tow your more economical car to sight-see on trips?

        1. We don’t plan on towing. We plan on bringing our moped and a few bikes πŸ™‚

  20. So cool! I think this fits your adventurous outdoor lifestyle very well! πŸ™‚

  21. I was able to find a device that will let me access internet from pretty much everywhere. It was a tad expensive, but well worth it.

    1. Can you mention what that device is?

      1. Verizon jetpack 6620 πŸ™‚

  22. Sarah

    Congrats! My husband and I really want an RV. We love to travel and having an RV would make traveling a lot easier with two kids. It is not in our budget at the moment (or for a while), but I would love to road trip across the continental U.S. With as much as you guys travel, an RV sounds like a really good investment.

  23. Congrats! We have been talking about the same. I am with you regarding having a smaller RV than the larger ones we see lumbering down the highway every summer. I just returned from a vacation in the Black Hills SD. Mount Rushmore, Deadwood, Devils Tower WY, etc. that I would recommend as a great RV destination. If you haven’t been up there before it isn’t too far from CO. Lots of places to park an RV over night. Just avoid going their during the coming couple of weeks around the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Have fun traveling..

    1. I haven’t been to any of those places so we will definitely have to add those to our list πŸ™‚

  24. Haha I’ll have to do one eventually.

  25. Heather @ Simply Save

    Wow, congrats! We had one when I was a kid and I loved it! I’m curious about them because I have an interest in the Tiny House lifestyle…I know that’s a little different than the reason you bought one, but still very exciting! Looking forward to reading about your adventures!

  26. Lisa L.

    Congrats! THERV lifestyle is good as long as you have funds to cover it all. I won my RV. I need to pay 20k in taxes on the 85K retail value.
    Well seeing as we are a low income family, I need to sell it. 2015 Fleetwood Storm Game Day Edition. Elevate your Tailgate sweepstakes grand prize winner, ME!!!!!! It is an awesome RV, I want 68K for it, thanks for spreading the news. We are in Golden Colorado for Buffalo Bill days, then Parker Colorado to visit family. Then the Great Sand Dunes is calling, lol. This is a new RV with less than 4 thousand
    miles on it.

    1. Wow I’m so jealous that you won an RV! I hope you are able to sell it.

    2. Roxans

      Did you sold you RV?

  27. Dane Hinson

    Just got back from a family camping trip and I’m definitely considering buying something to make it easier. I may not go the RV route but I’ve been checking out those teardrop trailers. A great compromise on a budget and it would make our camping trips sooooo much easier.

    1. Love the teardrop trailers as well!

  28. So many great reasons! Congrats on the RV. Now that I’ve read this post, it makes me realize how great this would be for us someday too. We have out of town family we only see once a year. And we would love to take our kids on road trips. Thanks for the inspiration!

  29. You are not crazy for purchasing an RV. Its something that I have thought about getting one in a few years. I think it would be awesome to see the 48 states via RV.

  30. Amy @ DebtGal

    Congratulations! It sounds like a great choice for your family!

    I’m RV-ignorant. What’s “boondocking”, and where can you park overnight when you’re on the road?

    1. Boondocking is pretty much just free camping. You can park overnight in many places for free. There’s a site called “Free Campsites” that lists BLM land, national forests, parking lots, and more where you can park for free.

  31. If we were location independent, we would definitely be looking hard at an RV. Looking forward to seeing the travel photos!

    1. Thanks! You can check out my Instagram and I have a TON of travel photos πŸ™‚ https://instagram.com/michelleschro/

  32. Congrats on your RV! We have a travel trailer and love having a “home away from home”. I’m sure it will make your travel that much more enjoyable.

  33. Shari

    We also want to buy a RV, but are looking at smaller trailers. We have a Tacoma and it won’t pull those big jobs. We don’t have enough to buy a bigger truck, so there you have it. Anyway, would love to read blogs on RV travel savings, etc. Sounds like some great info we can use! Love your blog.

  34. Sue Dixon

    Congratulations on your new lifestyle choice. A little more than five years ago my husband and I sold our home and bought an RV. We’ve never looked back. When we’re not traveling, we have a home base in a beautiful RV park. The beauty of the RV lifestyle is that you can pick up and go at any time.

    I’m a freelance copywriter and this life choice conforms nicely to my work.

    Your new “home on wheels” is beautiful! Wishing you many happy miles.

    1. Thank you Sue! I am so happy! πŸ™‚

  35. Wow! Congratulations, Michelle! It’s definitely a plus to be traveling on the road for long hours without having to worry how long it will be before the next rest/stop. Good luck on your (many) future travels!

  36. Congrats!!! I think you should totally blog about it! Minimalists and travel-hungry people would both love it and that is ALOT of people!

    1. I will definitely be blogging about it πŸ™‚

  37. Congratulations on your RV purchase! Can’t wait to read about your amazing adventures. Our goal is to buy a 36 ft boat next year to do the same thing, only by sea!

    PS. If anyone is active duty military, don’t forget about the free national park card for military members.

    1. We are definitely interested in doing this by boat in the future as well. Sounds like a blast!

  38. It looks quite lovely! Congratulations. I am so sure it will compliment your lifestyle, and cut down on the dodgy hotels.. :-).

  39. Oh congratulations! That is great we are definitely hoping to buy an RV once we pay off our house so I love seeing your ideas on them, I have a long time to do some research! Can’t wait to see some pics from your first trip!

  40. How exciting! Buying an RV sounds like it was a smart buy for you guys. I am so jealous that you have the US to explore. It’s such a beautiful and diverse country. I live in New Zealand which is gorgeous too but a lot smaller. In the US you could literally travel for decades without seeing everything. Can’t wait to read more about your adventures.

    1. Yes, that’s exactly what I love about the US – there is so much to see!

  41. Congratulations!! Such big changes for you – I’m so happy to see you living your dreams. I think it’s fantastic!

  42. That’s really cool! I love the idea of traveling via driving vs. just driving through. You won’t have as big of a schedule constraint now since you don’t have to get to a hotel. Plus, adding a little bit of “hardship” always makes me appreciate the nice things (like fancy hotels). I don’t want them becoming the norm, and it seems like you’re doing the same.

  43. That’s a sweet looking RV! If you travel enough, it will pay for itself over time and allows you the ultimate flexibility in how you travel. Nice work and if it’s in your budget, then no complaints here…

  44. Sue Squires

    Congratulations!!! We have a travel trailer, and love it!! We are able because of 4 wheel drive trucks, to camp ON the beaches in our area. My husband’s work is seasonal (summer) and we are able to take family vacations locally while he works!! We have also camped in NY, PA, and Florida. I have three teenagers now, and we all love it. We call it forced family time!
    I haven’t read all the comments in their entirety so I don’t know if anyone else offered this, but if you’ve financed your RV and use it more than 14 days a year, you can claim the interest paid as a “second” mortgage interest on your taxes. Since you plan to work while RV’ing, if you write about something specific to your trip, it is considered a business expense.
    If you’re ever stuck or need a place overnight en-route, Walmart allows overnight RV parking.
    I would suggest getting a portable grill to do most of your cooking on–outside. Cooking odors linger for a LONG time!! LOL.
    Joining KOA something we have done. It is a great resource-planning trips, making reservations, plus there are other benefits.
    Anyway, just thought I’d mention some things that we have used, that you might find helpful.
    Good Luck, and Have FUN!!!

    1. Thank you Sue! I cooked something indoors yesterday and the smell definitely lingered for awhile. My eyes hurt so bad from the onions haha!

  45. Tracey

    YAY! Congrats! My fiancΓ© and I are seriously considering buying a class A to live in. We both LOVE to camp and be outdoors, we would save over $1.000/mo just in rent alone, not including utilities.

    It’s scary to think we’d be downsizing considerably, but exciting at the same time. Once we decided to go back to being in a home, we’d have the money saved to buy something if that’s what we wanted to do.

    Life can be limitless!

  46. I’ve been sooooo jealous since you tweeted about first getting it! Congrats! I worked at an RV campground for years, and loved it. I would probably get one the exact same size as the one you purchased, as it’s spacious but won’t be a pain to drive or fill up. Can’t wait to hear stories about traveling and working from the RV.

  47. Hey Michelle!

    I found your blog months ago from when you commented on a guest post I did on GoneWithTheWynns on how to make money and travel and LOVED your site and your mission. Definitely a big inspiration for our current theme of 2015 which has been RV VS. Student Debt. In the past year my wife and I (both of us are now 24) have traveled to all 50 states (49 in our RV) and this year while living inexpensively in our RV have already been able to pay off 38% of our total student debt. Starting at $27,000 in January of this year and we’ve already gotten it down to $16,000, while still full-time RVing around. πŸ™‚

    SO awesome to see that you guys are now traveling and would love to meet up with you some time. Wish you the best in this awesome life transition and I can say that it’s been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.

    Heath

  48. Stephanie

    I love reading your posts. Congrats on the RV. I want one so bad. Not one of the huge ones, but like what you bought. I am counting down the years (6 to go and I’m not trying to rush it) till the boys all graduate high school and then I want to get one so the hubs and I can go out on the road.

  49. Now that y’all have had the new Class A RV for a bit and sold the Class C/B do you have a post somewhere on how it compared on MPG? I read the budget post on y’all are averaging $200 a month on gas by moving slowly, but as a family considering to get into the RV game I am frugal and want to go cheap on a sprinter van or Class B but now y’all have me rethinking that πŸ™‚

    1. We got around 14-15 in our Class B+. We now get around 7. We travel a lot more slowly than we did before. We like to really experience a new area, and doing it slowly is the best way.

      1. Wow Michelle y’all are great about responding so quickly, impressive. I perhaps was kidding myself into thinking some Mercedes diesel class B’s would get in the upper-teen’s.

        1. I’ve heard that they do. We didn’t have a diesel. Ours was a gas.

  50. Terry Brinston

    I am retired and my husband travels for business 2-4 times per month. We are going to look at a 2016 Winnebago Viva 23L tomorrow. Now that you have owned yours for quite some time, would you recommend the purchase? Also, the pros and cons, please?

    1. We actually don’t own it anymore. We loved having it but when we bought it it was more of a part-time thing. Now that we are full-timing, we’ve decided that we want to tow our Jeep.

  51. Brenda lee

    I’m struggling with buying an RV vs a T@B 400 travel trailer. Can you comment on this, please?

    1. All travel trailers are RVs. When you say “RV” do you actually mean a Class A? Or a Class C?

    2. Donna Stiles

      HI Brenda, I was all set to buy a T@B 320 S Max……haul it with my Jeep. Then I started watching YOUTUBE about all the problems just hitching it and hauling. Then the problems with the campgrounds, the cost. I am now looking at a Camper Van. Drive in Drive out
      Good luck.

  52. Love this! We’ve just quit our jobs so we can travel Europe in our motorhome and it’s such an amazing life. I’ve been enjoying reading your posts on how you’ve adapted to it and the tricks you’ve learnt. Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring!

  53. Sharon Cloutier

    Husband will be 80 next month, I will be 75 in January. We own a 2000 Fleetwood Bounder 36s. We cannot afford to keep our Vermont home and RV full time. Considering buying a 2005 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37C, sell our home, we get about 2000 per month Social Security. Your thoughts on this?

  54. Laurie Biederman

    Hi: I am new to all this and RV has always appealed to me. I’m a mature single woman with a Pug; not mechanically inclined at all!

    I plan to sell my house in the next year and hit the road! Will probably still have to work along the way.

    My concerns are cost; repairs; safety for a single woman along the road.. scary but so appealing to just be able to go and see and stop and relax!

    What do you you recommend for first RV for one or two people?

    Thanks,

    Laurie

    1. It all really depends on what you want to do. The type of RV will depend on that πŸ™‚

    2. Debra

      Hey Laurie,
      There’s a book β€œBumping Down Highways” by Jenni Raney Edwards. Written by a woman who left corporate America to RV full time by herself. I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to.

  55. CHRIS

    Michelle i know you sold this but would you still recommend the Itasca 23B to someone looking at their first RV. I want to get this for my family and my 2 little girls. Road trips are where the best memories are formed. We currently have a 2001 VW Eurovan Weekender which is great for a day trip but when it comes to sleeping its just too tight. I’ve researched thousands of RV’s and just keep coming back to the Winnebago VIVA 23B due to quality and the drop down bed is just amazing

    Love your honest feedback now that you have hindsight

  56. I get about 8-10 mpg in my Class A motorhome. Cost about $200 for 80 gallons to fill up sometimes more. But, driving 55-60 mph max helps and I also add lucas oil treatment to my gas tank and get an additional 1-2 mpg