Can You Run RV Generator While Driving? Here’s The Answer

Happiness is the journey and not the destination.

Someone wise said that a long time ago, and we agree with it. It’s the journey along with the experiences, both good and evil, and the memories you make that creates a lasting impression on you. Trips, short or long, are a great way to take your mind off things that worry you, as the pandemic.

It’s not overstating to say that the pandemic has majorly screwed with our plans and goals this year. You traveled, had fun, and lived life the first two months, and then boom! Pandemic.

What better way to destress your burdens and tensions of working from home or living off your savings than going on a trip on your good old RV? You’re right, nothing!

This article answers one of your primary concerns about RV life in general- can you run the RV generator while driving?

RV generators

To keep the RV running, you need a power source. To move your vehicle, either petrol, diesel, or gas can be used, and to run the appliances, we use a generator.

They have multiple uses, the main being its ability to store energy withing the RVs house battery.

How to choose the right generator for your RV?

The fuel it uses and the generator’s size are the two main aspects you need to worry about while buying a new generator.

Also, don’t forget about the noise. Some of the best performing generators out there are louder than an airplane and unless you like your ears ringing and slowly losing your calm and ability to hear, go for the quiet one.

You also want a generator that gives you more bang for your buck. This means portable generators that can hold more fuel and generators that consume less energy for comparable outputs in power.

RV generators are of different types, i.e., they run on gas, liquid propane, or diesel. Understanding this is also essential if you are thinking about buying a new generator.

Propane is considered as the greenest fuel, and if you are trying to be more environmentally friendly, we’d say go for this.

So, can we run them?

Short answer, yes. Long answer, if you have taken all the precautionary measures, it is perfectly safe to keep the generators running while driving.

It may not be the most fuel-efficient way to plan a trip, but it is certainly a convenient one.

With loving your home on wheels comes the responsibility of understanding its quirks, shortcomings, and potential.

If it’s an in-built generator, chances are, it is more equipped to withstand the rough roads and shaky trips.

They are also usually powered from the same fuel tank the engine uses, and once the fuel reaches ¼ of its capacity, the generator will automatically shut off.

If it’s a portable one, which is usually smaller and often plugged into the shore plug, it’s not a good idea to keep them running.

These can be deadly as they produce and release toxic carbon monoxide fumes. Without proper ventilation, running a portable generator indoors while driving is not worth it.

When is it okay not to run them?

When you are asleep

People have died. It’s that dangerous to keep your RV generator running while you sleep.

It emits an odorless and tasteless gas that can slowly kill you by depriving your vital organs of the oxygen they need to function.

If you need to keep them running at night, make sure you get it checked by a professional.

When you are not in the RV

Pretty simple. If the RV is stationary and you are not inside it, turn your generator off because it is also a fire risk.

When faulty wire sparks and ignites a fire, that can quickly turn into a blaze that destroys not only your RV but potentially the forest and other property around it.

When you are refueling the generator

If you have your generator on when you are refueling it, you risk major fire and explosion risks. The same goes for when you are in a gas station.

Why do you need them running?

There are many reasons to keep the generator running while driving an RV and a lot of them are closely related to convenience.

Not having to worry about your food getting spoiled or you getting a hot flash in the middle of nowhere is a good thing. We would say a pretty great thing.

rooftop ac

In times of extreme heat, dash ACs may not be enough to cool down the RV and rooftop ACs are switched on.

If you have passengers in the back or driving on an inclined plane, switching the dash AC and switching on the rooftop AC is preferable.

RV fridge

If you are taking a long trip or if you are living in your RV, chances are, you have a lot of food and water in your RV fridge.

The same goes for the microwaves, although you can switch off the generator once you are done with heating.

Make sure you are not running gaming devices or devices that are not considered necessary on the generator.

How to reduce the use of RV generator?

Even if you are accustomed to having electricity and other utilities, you don’t need that in an RV, especially if you are using it for the short term.

And, you can live comfortably with less power and sometimes with no power and still get that RV experience. Here are some ways to conserve fuel and get the maximum benefits from your resources:

  • Using ice packs or bags of ice to keep the food in the refrigerator cool.
  • Buy a special refrigerator that consumes lesser power and is more fit for the RV
  • Use sunshades and curtains that can trap heat to reduce the use of AC
  • Park the RV in a cooler and shady location
  • Make the sun, your friend. Or wind if you have access to it quickly. But seriously, go solar!

This will help you use the generator as more of a backup source to fuel and solar.

Creativity and some long and hard thinking can help you save a few bucks in the future.

Will your mpg be affected?

Mpg or mile per gallon will not be affected by running a generator. If you got 12 mpg before, you would still get 12 mpg even after running the generator.

But your RV generator will burn up to ½ gallon of gas every hour on top of 1-1.25 gallon of gas burned every 10-12 miles.

In simple words, it just means that it will burn 5 gallons if you cover 60 miles, and on top of that, you will burn approximately 6 gallons of gas for your generator.

Not a high price to pay for the comfort of a rooftop ac and a cool refrigerator.


Having the freedom to do more and live a more convenient RV life is what we all want. RV generators do just that.

Rain, sun, cold, or whatever nature throws at you, having a generator as a backup or an alternative is an excellent idea.

But like how we mentioned, knowing about your RV, the different kinds of generators available, the amount of use you are going to get, and knowing about the later stuff- maintenance and poor preparation is essential.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real thing, and to end on a more positive note, we say- happy camping to y’all!