Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sales of big RVs take a dive as fuel stops cost drivers $600

Recreational vehicle dealers say sales are down dramatically this year — as much as 40 percent, according to one longtime Nashville company — as consumers deal with higher fuel and food prices, as well as the slowing economy.

But the cost of fuel is the hardest blow to take, said Tom and Penny Maulding, who gave up their home in California 10 years ago to become full-time RV travelers. It now costs more than $600 to fill up their 40-foot Fleetwood motor coach, with its diesel engine and 150-gallon tank. It gets about 7 miles per gallon.

"Every time we pull into a truck stop, I cry," said Penny Maulding, 66, as she and her husband relaxed in the motor home recently at Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park campground off Briley Parkway near the Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

"These high fuel prices won't stop us from traveling, and we probably will be staying longer in each place we visit," she said. "But I can see now that we'll eventually have to give this up and settle back into a house somewhere."
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