Any motorist knows the sting when gas prices rise and the relief when they fall, but recreational vehicle owners can be especially susceptible to struggles from fluctuating gas prices.

Bowling Green Daily News Mark Woltjen, general manager of Dunlap RV Center in Bowling Green, Ky., said hiked gas prices will cause people to shy away from buying an RV – whether a motorhome or a travel trailer – if they had been considering it.

“People that have never RVed will be affected by gas prices,” Woltjen said.

Woltjen said RV owners won’t stop camping, regardless of the price of gasoline. “They know the lifestyle and they’re not going to stop the lifestyle for gas,” Woltjen said.

RV owners have, however, had to tweak that lifestyle in the shadow of higher gas prices in the past several years, Woltjen said.

“We see the length of the trips shortened because of price of gas. … We see people downsizing in the vehicles they use to tow with. The purchasing has changed somewhat,” Woltjen said.

The RV industry as a whole has adapted to the climb of gas prices, Woltjen said. In the past 10 years, RV manufacturers have used different materials to make RVs stronger and lighter – and a lighter load means better gas mileage. The insulation inside the RVs is also more environmentally friendly, Woltjen said.

These changes haven’t just helped ease the potential financial issues that can arise from camping, but also have given campers a broader camping opportunity. Once the camping lifestyle envelops you, you’re hooked, Woltjen said.

“When you go camping, it goes back to family values,” Woltjen said. “It’s just so much of a healthy, wholesome atmosphere. … You get out of the rat race every day and go to another world.”

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