BuyingIf you're in the market for a new RV, look for a fuel-efficient model. Last summer, Damon Motor Coach introduced the Avanti, a Class-A clean diesel motorhome that promises to get at least 14.5 miles per gallon. That may sound dismal, but it's more than 80% better than the average RV, which gets just 8 mpg. The Avanti -- with an aerodynamic design that the manufacturer calls "the most drivable Class-A motorhome" -- starts at $144,060. Sportsmobile offers Class-B motorhomes, also known as camper vans. The company converts Ford ( F), Dodge and Chevrolet/ GM ( GM) vans into custom RVs with fuel-efficiency ratings between 12 and 20 miles per gallon. Base costs vary depending on the van model: A Sportsmobile 2009 Ford RB Van starts around $56,000, while the more fuel-efficient Sportsmobile 2009 Dodge Sprinter RB Van starts around $73,000.
|Travel the country without leaving behind a giant carbon footprint.|
RetrofittingUntil manufacturers catch up with the Green RV trend, you might be better off making your own green RV. Soltrekker, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit, has created what it calls the "most eco-friendly motorhome in the universe." The Soltrekker RV runs on biodiesel and uses six roof-mounted solar panels and two roof-mounted solar thermal collectors to provide all of its electricity and heating. It's also equipped with a rainwater catchment system, a dehydrating toilet and LED lights. And the Soltrekker's interior is decked out in nontoxic sustainable materials ranging from recycled denim insulation to cork flooring and organic cotton upholstery. You can hire Soltrekker to retrofit an RV for you at a base cost of $50,000 (for the same systems used in the Soltrekker) -- or you can pimp your own eco-friendly ride.
Use BiofuelStart by switching to alternative fuel. Any diesel vehicle can run on biodiesel, a cleaner-burning fuel than petroleum-based diesel. BioWillie , country star Willie Nelson's brand of biodiesel, is a blend of petroleum-based diesel and foodstock-based biodiesel from American family farmers. If you're ready to take the next step in biofuel, convert your RV to run on vegetable oil, which you can obtain cheaply -- or even for free -- from local restaurants. If you're really handy, you could make the conversion yourself, as the Adler family did. If you're not up to the task, Golden Fuel Systems can do it for you at one of its 10 locations across the country.