Pump in hand, the seventy-year-old clocks are scrolling – far too quickly – the numbers of the salty supplement that he has to pay for with his half-full diesel. “We made 40 liters for 77.43 euros,” he comments, “before we would have made 40 liters for around 60 euros”.
However, at 1,902 euros/litre, this small petrol station in Lurcy-Levis, in the depths of the Allier, has a lower price than many of its competitors. “It’s a catastrophe, this increase in petrol prices,” comments a laughing Bernard, who doesn’t seem to mind.
This outbreak, fueled in part by economic sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, is hitting the budgets of these nomadic holidaymakers harder, especially since their heavy RVs use twice as much as a car.
“It’s really starting to burn, we ask ourselves, isn’t it becoming a luxury to travel like this? asks Simon Daval, 34, who travels through Europe with his partner in a motorhome and whose adventures are followed by 50,000 people on their YouTube channel “Peripléties”.
From economy to luxury?
“Basically, the motorhome is considered a cheap form of vacation, but if it continues like this, there is something to consider,” confirms Pauline Moiret-Brasier in one of her videos, in which hundreds of motorhome owners share their fears.
Holidays in RVs, vans and campervans – equivalents more popular among young people due to their popularity on social media – have enjoyed renewed popularity since the Covid-19 epidemic and the return to local holidays.
The price increase at the petrol pump is also already having an impact on the rental side. “We saw some cancellations when oil was really, really expensive,” said Augustin Bouyer, director of rental company WeVan.
But the effect “most massive is the wait-and-see attitude, in the reservations that didn’t take place,” he confirms with a decrease in requests for quotations.
“This frozen situation allows us to relive the Covid crisis a bit,” he sighs, even though there have been signs of an improvement since a reduction of 15 cents at the pump came into effect at the beginning of April.
But for the vast majority of owners of their own vehicle, turning away from those vacations after the initial investment is harder. “Even though people complain, they go there,” says Christian Millot, vice-president of the French Confederation of Motorhome Associations and Clubs.
“In my club, I usually have people who tell me + we are reducing the additional costs in relation to the diesel price because we do not want to reduce the mileage +”, he specifies and poses proudly in front of his decorated windscreen with countless small cuddly toys.
“We work half-time to have time to find an interesting channel,” confirms Bernard Jacob, who thanks to “Resources” is still criss-crossing France.
His technique? “We use apps like Eco Fuel, Fuel Flash or Cheaper Fuel to find the best gas stations,” he explains, waving his phone.
“Given the price of fuel, we will save on other things like excursions,” adds Michel Couturier, an 80-year-old retiree. “We might go to the restaurant a little less,” confirms his wife Marie-Madeleine, 73.
Sitting at the modular table of their spacious vehicle, the experienced motorhome driver thinks of “the more financially just”, believes that many will “drive less far” or do without “camping sites or paid areas”.
“The future of our motorhome travel is not only gray”, adds Pauline Moiret-Brasier, “there are always opportunities to live an adventure by reducing our consumption”. Thanks to Eco-Driving, she has reduced consumption by four liters per hundred and thus saved the equivalent of “800 euros per year”, she explains.