#Vanlife = Inexpensive

Is the ever rising popular van life as friendly on your wallet as some make it out to be?

#Vanlife, the new hippies, bohemians, and wanderers of the world. They dodge the expensive lavish life in exchange for a van and good ole mother nature.

Rising in popularity, van life is said to be a less expensive and more environmentally friendly option towards living. They drop most electricity bills, no more big furnace to heat a whole house, and they live wherever they park their van. In the van is everything you need; a bed, drawers, table, even sometimes the kitchen sink. 

These vans are retrofitted to be as off the grid as possible. Most of them use solar panels to get electricity into their homes. They will use rain catchers to use the water for small showers. Material wise, these vans are as minimalistic as you can go without living in a cave, but some can be as technologically advanced as cars of the future. But can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $40,000 depending on how luxurious you build the van to be.

When it comes to fuel cost, It all depends on the vehicle that the van lifer chooses. The most common choice of vehicle out of a survey of 725 van lifers from https://outboundliving.com/van-life-statistics/  is the cargo van. 43% of van lifers choose this mode of transport. The average Mile-per-gallon of these vans is 17 miles-per-gallon. This is on the higher side of fuel economy for the vehicles of choice. The worst being school busses, yes, school busses. Most busses get about 5 miles to the gallon, not too good, but only 8%  of van lifers chose a bus as their vehicle. 

Van lifers do tend to drive a lot, moving from scenic rest points to scenic outlooks abroad. The average number of miles per year being about 20,000 to 30,000, the higher end even reaching north of 50,000 miles per year! Without even doing the math that’s a lot of gas used to live a lifestyle that’s meant to be minimalistic. On gas alone, that’s already at least $51,000 if you are driving 20,000 miles a year on the current (January 2020) national average gas price, $2.56 per gallon.

With the major advancements in electric motors in the past few years, soon van lifers will have a more reliable, environmental, and sustainable choice. With many already powering electronics in these vans with solar panels, who’s to say you can’t, charge an electric engine with the right set up. This would remove all costs of gas and remove all pollutants released from the car. For now, these gas-guzzling vans and buses are the closest we can get but just wait and see what the future holds for these new wanderers and travelers.