Members of the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), gathering this week for the organization’s Northeast Area Rally in Springfield, Mass., have concerns about rising gas prices but remain committed to the lifestyle, according to a report in The Republican.
“Gas prices are the main topic of conversation when people get together like this. ‘Where did you find the cheapest gas?’ It’s a pain in the butt. However, everyone just fills up their tank and goes anyway,” said William Conway, FMCA national vice president.
Conway, who retired in 1997, was on a walkie-talkie much of Tuesday (July 12) as the expansive grounds of the Eastern States Exposition filled with as many as 850 recreational vehicles for this week’s rally.
The local paper reported that between Sunday and Tuesday, the average price of regular gas in Greater Springfield jumped 9 cents, hitting a regional average of $2.36 a gallon, a record, according to the American Automobile Association. Diesel prices also rose, jumping 26 cents in a month to $2.64 in Springfield.
So, fueling a tank on a big rig that can be 150 gallons or more is costly. But FMCA members said they generally factor the expense in when purchasing the motorhome.
“The way I feel about it, if we have this much money invested in the vehicle, we’re going to use it whatever the price of gas. We’re not going to sit in our house and watch the thing rot away in the back yard,” said Ray W. Noel of Waterford, N.Y., who, with his wife Joan, has logged more than 300,000 miles, from Mexico to Maine, in six motorhomes in 30 years.
However, the financial equation for an RV owner is not only about gas prices. It’s also about hotel bills and restaurant tabs avoided.
Jerry and Faye Jastremsky of Appalachian, N.Y., who were at the rally in their 36-foot coach, will go to weekend rallies around the region this summer. But this fall, when the leaves drop and the snow starts to fly in the Northeast, they’ll be on the road to Florida for the winter where they’ll stay at various camp sites for less than $400 a month – the price for one night at a beachfront hotel.
Conway said that for someone who can properly balance the financial equation, traveling by RV is cheaper than the conventional route of planes, taxis and hotels.
“If you go to the Cape Cod shore for a weekend in a motor coach, it will cost you almost equal to staying in a hotel (even with the higher gas prices). But if you’re going to Florida for three months, and staying in campgrounds, you’ll save a lot,” he said.