Some here in New Jersey are getting RV buyer’s remorse
One industry that made a killing during the pandemic is the RV industry. RVs were typically reserved for those retirees who want to pack up the Winnebago and head down to Florida, stopping to see the grandkids on the way there.
I’m a big fan of RVs but I like the 45’ diesel pusher that has the big engine and glides down the highway. I have slowly but surely grown a disgust for air travel, it has become worse than traveling by bus. As a result, I enjoy gassing up my SUV or renting an RV and heading to where I want to go, traveling with want I want to eat and drink in my refrigerator, and always having a bathroom at my disposal.
With an RV I have a place for a great nap when I’m tired and the ability to make a cup of coffee when I’m ready to hit the road. As a result, I am more refreshed and I enjoy the trip. I love to drive and check out the scenery. I have driven across the country and have seen some amazing things. For me, it’s a great way to see the country.
During the pandemic with air travel restricted, hotel rooms were scarce, and RVs made sense. 2020 numbers showed the increase in RV sales went through the roof and that 40 – 50% of the 2020 new sales were purchased by millennials which was a 100% increase in sales for the demographic. 50 to 80% of those buying RVs were first-time RV buyers. According to RV Industry Association, some area sales are up 170% from 2018 to 2020. The numbers are in for 2021 and the year posted a 34% increase in sales over the incredible large increase that 2020 experienced.
Many are trading in their previously owned RVs and getting top dollar and turning around with an RV upgrade. Used inventory is at a premium and many new orders for RVs have delays in getting them filled.
At the time that the pandemic hit regular gas prices here in New Jersey were hovering around $2.25 a gallon today the New Jersey average is $4.25 a gallon of regular gas and diesel averaging close to $5.50 a gallon. That price hasn’t slowed down sales even though most large RVs average 5 – 7 miles per gallon. Filling up the old RV can cost you dearly. Most of the larger RVs have a 100 or 150-gallon gas tank. That means when you tell the attendant to “fill er’ up” it’s going to cost you between $425 and $600 for regular and $550 - $825 for diesel.
Add an average of $150 a month for storage of the unit and just to put the RV on the road will cost you a small fortune. Blow a tire and it’ll cost you $800. The full set will run you $5,000. If the generator for the RV goes on the fritz you should be prepared to dish out $6,000. Service on RVs is expensive and time-consuming with some RV repair shops having a two to a three-month backlog.
These day-to-day costs and the current overly high sales prices on new and used RVs have kept me away from purchasing an RV. I’ll wait until the market softens to pre-pandemic pricing.
There are those who have made the switch to RVs and more are enjoying the travel. If you’re heading down the road good luck and drive safe
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 weekend host Big Joe Henry. Any opinions expressed are Big Joe’s own.