RVs and campers are going to take up a lot of space, water, and electricity – depending on how new your model is.
If you’re camping out of your backyard off of your own grid, this may not seem like a large expense.
However, camping in an RV or camper unit can quickly rack up those utility bills if you’re not careful or aware of your campground’s rates. Depending on your RV, you may be using way more energy per kilowatt than you expect!
Do RV parks charge for electricity?
Not all RV parks charge an extra electricity fee. However, most of them do. The rate is based on your model, appliance usage, and size of your RV to help calculate how much electricity you are going to use during your stay, and set at a flat rate per day.
If you are unsure about how much it will cost you at the end f your stay, you should make sure to discuss rates and rules with your RV park before setting up camp.
Based on the average price per kWh per state in the United States as of 2018, this is a good idea of what you will be paying per kilowatt that your RV consumes at your RV park:
|Campground||Price Per kWh|
|Herkimer Diamond KOA, NY||~.15¢ / kWh|
|Yosemite Pines RV Resort and Family Lodging, CA||~.16¢ / kWh|
|Zion River Resort, UT||~.09¢ / kWh|
|Boyd’s Key West Campground, FL||~.11¢ / kWh|
|Allendale / West Grand Rapids KOA, MI||~.11¢ / kWh|
NOTE: This is not the definitive list, but can give you a great idea of what to expect.
Do All RV Parks Charge for Electricity?
Not all RV parks charge extra for electricity, but almost all will roll it into your overall price to stay at one of their campsites.
However, depending on your RV, its size, length, weight, and model, you may have a much more expensive rate to stay at your campsite to make up for those utility charges.
Most of the time, the price is factored into the campsite rate, but if you go to more luxurious RV resorts, or stay in a state that has a higher price per kilowatt, you could be looking at a bigger bill.
Especially if you live on a campground full-time in your RV, or for several months out of the year, your utilities are going to stack up in the same way they would with your traditional home. These prices are usually metered based on your RV unit size and the number of amenities or appliances that it services.
However, it is important to note that campgrounds and RV parks will give discounted utility pricing to people who are guaranteed to stay for longer throughout the year.
Don’t have a shower in your RV? Check out our article: Do RV Parks Have Showers? What to Expect (With Examples)
How Much Do You Pay for Electricity in RV Parks?
RV parks will charge their campers based on daily estimated kilowatt usage.
In different parts of the country, your kilowatt charges may be more or less.
Nationally, the average cost of electricity in the United States is 10.5¢ per kWh. Depending on the year, make, model, and longevity of your stay, that could easily rack up pretty quickly.
For example, if your RV uses a lot of Air conditioning at 40-50 kWh per day, a weekly stay at your average campground could be rounded up to $5 per day – estimated at $35 for the whole week.
While this doesn’t seem like a huge amount, paired with gas and fuel to travel, water, food, equipment, and other travel expenses, an extra $35 per week can really add up!
You want to make sure that the electric bill is factored into your travel budget, and that you are saving as much energy as possible wherever you can during your trip.
Especially if you are going to stay for weeks, or even months at a time.
Need to do laundry during your trip? Check out our article: Do RV Parks Have Laundry Facilities?
Longer RV Stays & Tiny Living
The average RV without excessive appliance use is only going to use about 20 kWh per day, though, so if this seems like a reasonable amount to you, consider staying even longer!
A lot of RV campers will camp for months or a full season, so their electricity bill can get a little high.
However, a lot of people will choose this as an alternative to spending the summer months in their home instead choosing an outdoor option that is close to many parks, beaches, or hiking trails.
This is a great adventure to try and go on, and if you do your math right and consult the campground you are thinking of staying in, you may have a great experience!
Do the Prices Vary Across the US?
Prices per kilowatt vary all across the United States, as we’ve referenced above in our chart.
This means that not every RV park is going to charge the same – and you should make sure to keep that in mind if you’re taking a road trip.
There is no hard-and-fast rule about which state is going to be most expensive, or which state is cheapest during the high-season, but knowing what you are getting into is as simple as calling the campground beforehand.
What was $35 a week in Montana could be $50+ per week in, say, Nevada or California.
Because of this, many campers make sure to set aside a little extra in the event of a fluctuating electric bill for their RV.
Saving Money on Electric Bills
If you are worried about prices jumping up in a new state while you travel, consider these tips for saving electricity – just in case:
- Check your meter at your campsite and consider toning down appliance usage so that you know exactly what you’ll be paying at the end of your stay.
- Check on your battery and make sure it is not old or being overworked – this causes unnecessary electric usage that your RV may not need.
- Minimize the use of hot water or electronics in the RV. Instead, go outside, swim in the lake, and bring biodegradable, organic shampoos. Really live that adventure you want to take!
Any way that you can minimize the use of utilities during your camping trip is a great asset to helping you keep costs low. Plus, getting outside and experiencing the fresh air is what camping is all about!
If you follow these steps – and any others that your RV guide or model may suggest or require – then you will have an easier time when the bill comes along for your stay!
How Much Electricity Do RVs Use?
RVs can be run from both DC power as well as AC power. DC stands for direct current and AC stands for alternating current. The grid runs off of AC power and vehicles run off of DC power.
An average RV will use about 20kWh a day. However, depending on your RV model, you may use much more or less than that.
If you do have an RV that uses a lot of air conditioning, heat, electricity, and other amenities, you may have to pay a lot more in utilities than you would if you turned off the AC.
This is especially true for RVs that have televisions, microwaves or small stovetops inside of them.
For those who do love to use all the amenities in their RV (that’s why we buy them, right?) make sure to check with your campground and ask them about utilities and what you may be paying after a week of camping there.
Do All RV Parks Have Electricity?
RV parks are aware that almost all models of RV are going to require a form of electric or water utility and prepare for it.
But what kind of wattage do they provide?
Most RV parks provide a mix of both 30 and 50-amp power hookups, although 50-amp power is often more expensive. Some campgrounds provide only 30-amp service instead of both, though, so make sure to do your research!
Furthermore, depending on the luxury and size of your RV, those prices are going to increase exponentially. The more luxurious your RV is, such as those with flatscreens and high-pressured water heaters, you are going to see a much higher bill.
Always come prepared with an idea of what your RV requires for utilities – especially electric – and you’ll have a good idea what you owe at the end of your stay!
All RV parks are going to fluctuate in price depending on the state you live in. Then, depending on your amp requirements, the price could increase from there.
The only real sure-fire way to know how much your utility bill is going to cost is to call your campground and discuss your stay and their rates.
You also need to know your wattage requirements and make sure to conserve power as much as possible.
The best way to experience camping is outside the RV anyway, so embrace nature and stay excited! You’re camping!
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Shelby Sullivan is our specialist when it comes to pontoon boats and recreational watercraft. She is often found sailing the freshwater lakes of Michigan. She is also a light-traveler who enjoys camping and traveling the world. Read more about Shelby here.