RVs: Facing Extinction or the 22nd Century?

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It is certainly no surprise that as gas prices climb, RV purchases are declining. Throw in the fact that most of these behemoth rides need to be financed and the gas crisis gives way to the housing/lending crisis with RVs earning another black mark. Now consider Jane or John Suburbia doesn't like your national park tour vehicle parked in front of their house–and they've got city council on their side. Is it R.I.P. to these truly mobile homes?

An article in The Rocky Mountain News reported that RV sales dipped 11.8% this year over Q1 2007. Big-ticket RVs, "motor coaches," fell 24.7%. In Fairfax County, Virginia WTOPNews.com reported that the Department of Transportation is looking to ban hefty vehicles and boats from parking curbside. On paper RVs are hurting. But The Rocky Mountain News isn't all sour grapes:

A recent study commissioned by the industry found that families could save from 23 percent to 70 percent of their total vacation costs by using RVs during vacations, cutting down on costs for airfare, rental cars and hotel rooms.

The study concluded that RVs would lose their cost advantage only when gas touches $10 a gallon.

$10/gallon is at least a few months off. Even just considering the soaring costs and hassles of air travel RVs deserve a point back. Plus, it's pretty hard to accelerate off the line or really jack up the speed when your vehicle of choice ways more than, I'm guessing, five Priuses. The key to conserving gas (while still driving) is conserving speed–or so we're told. That's another point for RVs.

Then there's the market for RVs, older adults. A deluge of Baby Boomers are about to be released into the RV demographic. Order your RV now before there's a wait list. –Katie Herrell

Sources:The Rocky Mountain News, "Gas, tight credit batter RV sales"

WTOPNews.com, RVs and boats: Fairfax Co. may say don't park here"