Can I operate the RV generator while driving? is a frequently requested question.

We’ve never had an issue using our generator while driving our RV.

However, we conducted some study to learn more about the matter.

So, do you think you’ll be able to use your RV generator while driving? We learned that using your RV generator while driving is entirely legal.

Many RVers have no trouble using their generators while traveling.

We get a lot of queries about using the RV generator while driving, in addition to whether it’s safe to do so.

The following are the most frequently asked questions.

Is it safe to drive with the RV generator running? Why would anybody want to drive with their generator running? Can I use my portable generator while driving if I have a travel trailer? Is it true that operating the RV generator while driving reduces my gas mileage?

So we looked into the most common questions we get regarding operating RV generators and came up with some solid solutions.

And you may be surprised by some of the responses.

Is It Safe To Drive With The RV Generator Running?

Yes, driving your RV while using the generator is totally safe.

However, there are a few things you should be aware of in order to avoid any issues.

If your generator runs on propane, you should be aware of any state or municipal regulations that ban the use of propane while driving.

Depending on the jurisdiction, running propane or even having propane on board may be prohibited on certain highways, bridges, or tunnels.

If the generator is gasoline-powered, make sure the gas tank is full before driving with the generator running.

The generator runs on the same gasoline that the RV’s engine runs on.

Although you are unlikely to run out of petrol while driving, the generator will shut down if the gasoline tank dips below 1/4 tank.

This is a safety precaution incorporated into most generators to ensure that the fuel in the gas tank does not run out while the generator is running.

The safety function helps to avoid you from being stuck in the middle of nowhere with no petrol in your tank.

Why Would I Need To Drive With The RV Generator Running?

There are a variety of reasons why you should operate your RV generator while traveling.

The rooftop air conditioning, refrigerator, microwave, electric water heater, and televisions are all powered by the generator.

You may also find yourself needing to use all or part of these equipment while driving.

The ability to operate the rooftop A/C in addition to the dash A/C is one of the most compelling reasons to use the RV generator.

When driving a class A motorhome, this is particularly true.

The RV air conditioner is powered by electricity, so if you’re not connected to shore power, you’ll have to use the RV generator to keep the rooftop AC running.

The rooftop air conditioner must be turned on for the following reasons:

  • In very hot weather, the dash air conditioner may not be able to keep the RV cool.
  • If you have passengers in the rear of the RV, you’ll want to make them as comfortable as possible.
  • If you’re traveling in the mountains, switch off the dash air conditioning for greater engine power and use the rooftop air conditioning to remain cool.

Another reason to use the RV generator is to keep the refrigerator cool.

It’s a point of contention among RV owners whether gas or electricity keeps the fridge cooler.

According to what I’ve learned, it all relies on your refrigerator.

So, if it’s a really hot day and your fridge cools faster with power, it could be a good idea to drive with the generator running to keep the fridge cool.

Otherwise, put the refrigerator to auto and it will choose which power source to use.

In most cases, refrigerators default to electricity and subsequently convert to propane if there is no power.

You could wish to use the microwave while driving, which is a tiny reason to operate the generator while driving.

If this is the main purpose for running the generator, do it while you’re using the microwave and then turn it off when you’re done.

Finally, if there are passengers on board who wish to watch TV or a movie while driving, the generator will be used to power the TV and maybe a DVD player.

Is It Possible To Tow My Travel Trailer With A Portable Generator?

Although I don’t encourage it, you may use a portable generator while driving, but there are a number of factors to consider.

To begin with, a portable generator should be placed outside of the RV or travel trailer to avoid filling it with exhaust fumes.

Because most RVs have built-in generators, this isn’t an issue.

However, if your RV lacks a built-in generator, you’ll need a cargo carrier to transport the portable generator outside the RV.

The generator must then be secured so that it does not move.

So, although this is all feasible, it all seems extremely risky to me.

The same considerations apply if you have a travel trailer.

You may also place the portable generator in the bed of your vehicle if you pull your travel trailer.

However, you must secure the portable generator so that it does not move, and then place it such that the exhaust is free of any obstacles.

You’ll also need to secure the electricity wires to ensure that they’re safe and sturdy.

Running a portable generator, it seemed to me, is at best risky and difficult.

What Impact Will Running The RV Generator Have On My MPG?

The miles per gallon of your RV will not change if you use your generator.

So, if you get 10 miles per gallon, you’ll get 10 miles per gallon whether you drive while using your RV generator.

However, in addition to using one gallon of petrol for every ten miles driven, your RV generator will use around half a gallon of gas for every hour it is running.

This simply implies that if you get 10 mpg at 60 mph and don’t use the RV generator, you’ll use 6 gallons of petrol.

At 60 miles per hour, your RV generator will consume 6 1/2 gallons of gasoline in an hour.

It doesn’t make much of a difference whether you want to remain cool and turn on the rooftop AC or keep your passengers entertained with some AC and a movie.


Can I use the RV’s air conditioning while driving?

Yes, you may use the RV’s air conditioning while driving.

You may also be interested in reading an essay we published on the subject.

Can I Run the RV AC While Driving? is the headline of the article.

Why does my generator turn off in the middle of a drive?

The generator goes off whether or not you are driving since it includes a safety function that switches it off when the gasoline level in the RV gas tank drops below 1/4 tank.

This prevents the generator from depleting the RV’s petrol tank and leaving you stranded.

Is it possible for passengers to sleep in an RV while driving?

Can You Sleep in an RV While Driving? is a wonderful subject, so we made a blog post about it.


Driving with the RV generator running is very safe and allows you to use all of your key RV appliances while on the road.

Even though it isn’t the most fuel-efficient method to drive your RV, you and any guests on board may be delighted to have access to all of the RV’s amenities.

I hope you found this post useful in determining whether or not you may use your generator while driving your RV.

Do you have any suggestions or ideas about how to power the RV generator while driving? Please share your thoughts in the box below!

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Written by Bob Matsuoka
Bob Matsuoka is a blogger and founder of RVing Beginner blog. He has been blogging for over five years, writing about his own family’s RV adventures, tips for people who are interested in buying an RV or taking their family on an adventure by RV.