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Gas Prices Having Little Impact on RV Sales

Category: RV News
Source: VolunteerTV.com
Publish Date: Monday, April 7, 2008
Summary: Rising gas prices haven't deterred RV sales.

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Reporter: Mike McCarthy

KNOXVILLE (WVLT) -- Higher gas prices couldn’t put the brakes on the RV and Camper Super Show that took place over the weekend at the Knoxville Expo Center.

Thousands attended the event, which some vendors say boosted their sales by as much as 20 percent.

Steve Back was among the buyers this weekend, spending $26,000 on a brand new recreational vehicle.

"I'm not going to just sit at home,” he said, "I’m looking forward to using it.”

With diesel fuel at $4 a gallon and gas hovering about a dollar behind, it costs a lot more these days to take your RV mobile.

Just to give you idea, a 32-foot RV holds about 75 gallons of gas. That means if you want to fill your tank up with regular unleaded, it will cost you more than $200.

Even so, business was booming at the Weekend RV Center, with sold signs popping up on 10 units.

"Sales have been up this year," said Tyler Jenkins from the Weekend RV. "You can always camp closer to home, and there are a lot of places to visit right here in Tennessee."

Steve Back and his wife bought theirs for just that reason.

“We have a nutritional supplement business, and we just want to get out, go camping, meet people, and introduce our products to them," he said.

Camper's Corners sales were down about 15 percent, but Buzz Brody remained optimistic.

"I'm very confident this is going to be a good year,” he said. “We have longer warranties and the manufacturers are backing them up better because they're giving you more for your money."

Even with fuel costs, Brody believes that R-V's can be cost effective.

“If I were driving a car that's getting 20 miles a gallon and I'm staying in a motel, that costs me $80 or $90 a night," he said.

But even with markdowns, the savings simply aren’t enough for a lot of shoppers.

“I know there are people who can afford it,” said Roscoe Morgan, “We're just not necessarily one of them."

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association recently announced that nationwide RV sales dropped by about 10 percent in 2007, bringing to an end five straight years of growth.

The association blames the slumping economy for the drop in sales.


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