RVers planning their summer vacation routes are confronting yo-yoing gas prices, rising interest rates and unease over the economy, according to a sampling of New Hampshire recreational vehicle dealers.
The Union Leader, Manchester, reported that retailers throughout the state offered a varied landscape on how sales are going this year.
Business is off 20% to 25% at CampAmerica RV in Plaistow, owner Dave Forestell said.
“I think it’s more of the economy and country in general,” he said.
Predictions that gas could hit $4 or more a gallon “naturally puts the fear into people and that affects their plans,” he said. “If gas prices can stabilize somewhere under $3 a gallon, people will get used to that and go back to their normal activities.”
The drop-off in business has meant trimming staff and inventory.
At Cold Springs RV & Camp Resort in Weare, sales of higher-cost towables and motorhomes are down while ultralight travel trailers are up around 40%, according to Scott Silva, vice president and sales manager.
“Overall, business is probably about the same as last year,” he said.
Doug Stape, general manager at Meyers RV in Chichester, said business this year is up over last year, though, he declined to give specifics.
The newspaper reported that Concord’s Outdoor Sports Center hasn’t seen a downturn in sales this year, but the dealership doesn’t sell motorized RVs that use more gas.
“We’ve been pretty busy this year,” said co-owner Lev Koltookian. “It hasn’t really affected us at all.”
People are watching their wallets, several said.
“The tighter things get, people look closer at what they’re buying. They become more careful about spending their money,” Koltookian said.
But, he added, “Everything goes up. It’s all relative. If they go to an amusement park, it costs them more to run that because of electricity costs.”
Forestell said some people are uneasy about their world and how their government is operating.
He said potential customers face not only gas prices and rising interest rates but prices of the RV units themselves also are going up — “a good 5%, in some cases, a little bit more,” he said. “We’re seeing increases, in some cases, on a monthly basis because of materials.”