Jump to content


Cost of running generator

  • This topic is locked This topic is locked
16 replies to this topic

#1 Peter & Margaret

Peter & Margaret

    Senior Member

  • Validated Members
  • 173 posts

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:39 PM

Has anyone ever calculated the cost per hour of running a generator? I realise it depends on what appliances are on - A/C's etc - but there must be a basic cost of running the generator per hour.



#2 docj


    Major Contributor

  • Validated Members
  • 3404 posts
  • SKP#:106682

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:46 PM

I think most RV generators burn roughly half a gallon per hour depending on load and size of the unit. The manual for yours may provide a table for fuel consumption vs load. So you're talking about $1.50-$2 per hour.

Sandie & Joel

2000 40' Beaver Patriot Thunder Princeton--425 HP/1550 ft-lbs CAT C-12
2014 Honda CR-V AWD EX-L with ReadyBrute tow bar/brake system
WiFiRanger Ambassador & RVParkReviews admin
Follow our adventures on Facebook at Weiss Travels

#3 Charles Farrell

Charles Farrell

    Senior Member

  • Validated Members
  • 347 posts
  • SKP#:73378

Posted 23 September 2013 - 01:50 PM

How about a 5500 Onan propane unit?



#4 Kirk


    Major Contributor

  • Weekend Moderators
  • 24952 posts
  • SKP#:60541

Posted 23 September 2013 - 03:37 PM

Most on-board generators burn somewhere close to 1/2 gallon of fuel per hour, depending upon the size of generator and the load on it. For propane it will burn slightly more since propane has about 10% less energy per gallon.

Good travelin !...............Kirk

Full-time 11+ years...... Now seasonal travelers.
Kirk & Pam's Great RV Adventure

#5 Mike57


    Major Contributor

  • Validated Members
  • 926 posts
  • SKP#:107088

Posted 24 September 2013 - 12:09 PM

Nice having a small Honda I2000, (if it will supply your needs).  A full tank, about 1 gallon, will last upward of 12 hours. :)

Happy Trails,


Florida Mike

#6 Barbaraok


    Major Contributor

  • Validated Members
  • 8350 posts
  • SKP#:90761

Posted 24 September 2013 - 02:57 PM



That wouldn't be enough power for our rig.



Barb & Dave O'Keeffe
2002 Alpine 36 MDDS (Figment II), 2004 Subaru Forester toad (Mischief)
Blog: http://www.barbanddave.net
SPK# 90761 FMCA #F337834

#7 Mike57


    Major Contributor

  • Validated Members
  • 926 posts
  • SKP#:107088

Posted 24 September 2013 - 03:11 PM



Nor most fulltimers BUT it is an option for some, especially boondockers who don't want to run the "big boy" for long periods of time.  The noise also is an issue with some, especially boondockers and those that like the pristine peace and quiet of open forested areas.  Sounds like an advertisement for solar doesn't it. :rolleyes:



Happy Trails,


Florida Mike

#8 Stanley P. Miller

Stanley P. Miller

    Major Contributor

  • Weekend Moderators
  • 19876 posts
  • SKP#:51443

Posted 24 September 2013 - 03:29 PM

Our 1000 watt Honda wasn't enough power to run our rig either but since we had a 3000 watt inverter on board we just ran that which was happy to supply the microwave and coffee pot at the same time. The Honda was hooked to a good three-stage converter that worked to keep the batteries up, it lost ground when we were using lots of power but made it up easily once our big uses were done. It wouldn't support the air conditioner or a space heater but for everything else it worked pretty well.


We liked the way it worked so well we did the same thing when we only had 15 amp power or low voltage power available. We plugged the converter in and let it charge the batteries while the inverter provided us with plenty of clean power. Over a 24 hour period the converter provides enough power that our batteries got back to 100% charge by the time we woke up the next morning every time we did it.


We could have gotten a bigger generator or piggy-backed a couple smaller ones but why bother when the little guy could do the job with a bit of support from the batteries and inverter we were already hauling around.


If we had to have air conditioning we'd have had no real choice but a bigger generator setup but we'd move somewhere cooler or with shore power in that situation.

First rule of computer consulting:
Sell a customer a Linux computer and you'll eat for a day.
Sell a customer a Windows computer and you'll eat for a lifetime.

#9 Dave W

Dave W

    Major Contributor

  • Validated Members
  • 1144 posts
  • SKP#:56442

Posted 24 September 2013 - 04:39 PM

X2 on what Stan said.
Dave W. KE5GOH
Stuck in the 70's ---
In E. Texas

#10 Peter & Margaret

Peter & Margaret

    Senior Member

  • Validated Members
  • 173 posts

Posted 24 September 2013 - 08:14 PM

I have done some quick calculations and it appears mine is about $2.50 to $3.00 per hour. We where however boondocking in Texas and running both A/C's.

#11 StarDreamers.us


    Major Contributor

  • Validated Members
  • 1516 posts
  • SKP#:89742

Posted 25 September 2013 - 02:51 AM

This summer in the SW heat 100+ degrees, we used about a gallon(cost varies by location) per hour. Air and everything else that we needed. Would not be without it when needed. Solar meets most other daily needs, but not AC.

Safe Travels!

SKP #89742 - Lifetime membership - Member of the SKP Class of 2007
Good Sam Club - Lifetime Member
DataStorm #5423
Passport America - Lifetime Member
Sons Of The American Revolution (SAR) - Lifetime Member
American Legion - USAF - Lifetime Member
Rotary Club Member - 30 years

Escapee CARE Supporter

National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer

#12 Lou Schneider

Lou Schneider

    Major Contributor

  • Validated Members
  • 1164 posts
  • SKP#:31721

Posted 25 September 2013 - 03:43 AM

An Onan 5500 gasoline generator uses 0.3 gallons per hour with no load, 0.6 gallons per hour at half load and 0.9 gallons per hour at full load.


Propane numbers are 0.4 GPH, 0.8 GPH and 1.1 GPH because propane contains fewer BTUs per gallon than gasoline.


Don't forget to include maintenance costs when running a generator.  Oil changes, filters, etc. are more than one a year items if you're using your generator regularly.

Edited by Lou Schneider, 25 September 2013 - 03:47 AM.

Lou Schneider

#13 Jimalberta


    Major Contributor

  • Validated Members
  • 2069 posts

Posted 25 September 2013 - 03:00 PM

we do what Stan said with our 2000i genny. we don't boondock if its really hot or cold but rather use FHUs. Otherwise the 2 fantastic fans do a good job of keeping the fiver cool. We also have a catalytic heater for the cool nights.

<p>....JIM and LINDA......2001 American Eagle 40 '.towing a GMC Sierra 1500 4X4 with RZR in the rear. 1999 JEEP Cherokee that we tow as well.

#14 SCClockDr


    Senior Member

  • Validated Members
  • 323 posts
  • SKP#:104269

Posted 26 September 2013 - 08:42 AM

We did not closely analyse our usage last summer on a mission trip in a texas Church parking lot where we ran the Honda 3K genny 24/7 for 3 weeks. The best as I can recall, we consumed under 6 Gals per day but not by much. We ran in ECO mode, temps were in the 90's to 100°F day & 70's-80's Night. The A/C was a 15K & I raised the thermostat in the AM for making coffee. Fridge was on AC & HW on propane.


Roughly 2 2.5 gal cans per day filled to 2.8 gals.






#15 Biker56


    Major Contributor

  • Validated Members
  • 4822 posts

Posted 26 September 2013 - 02:33 PM

Over the last 5 years my 6.5W LP generator has use from .73 to .88 gal a hour.

LP has cost from $2.229 to $3.101 a gal in that time.


I don't boondock. I'd rather pay for a Passport America campground with full hook up, that is a lot cheaper in the long run.

As I usually spend 16-17 hours in one on a trip.


Full time my cost per year for LP for house & generator has been between $52.22 and $66.38.

Full Time since Oct. 1999
99 Discovery 34Q DP | ISB
Datastorm | VMSpc | Co-Pilot Live | Pressure Pro
2014 MKS Twin Turbo V6 365 HP Toad


#16 JFX


    Full Member

  • Validated Members
  • 86 posts
  • SKP#:111123

Posted 27 September 2013 - 08:12 AM

We have an Onan 7500, and I estimate my generator operation at $3 - $3.50 per hour (0.6 gph), including recurring maintenance.

John & Diane, fulltiming with Lincoln the guard cat.
2002 Dutch Star 40DP towing our 2004 Honda Element
Escapees, FMCA, Good Sam, FCOC, NKK

#17 horizon36


    Senior Member

  • Validated Members
  • 340 posts
  • SKP#:113023

Posted 28 September 2013 - 09:40 AM

We have the Onan 7.5Kw diesel and it consumes about 0.7 Gal/hour on average.  If you figure fuel at $4.00/Gal and factor in the service needed every 150 hours we figure the cost to run ours is $3.80/hour.  


Even with our 375 watts of solar we run our genset about 3 hours/day total.  We both like watching our own shows at night so both tv's are on from news (dinner) time until bed time.  If we figure on boondocking at a NP for a month that will cost $5/day or $150/month.  Add to that 90 hours of run time on the genset and you can add another $342 for a total of $492.  I can get a nice FHU spot for that!  If you use a Honda 2000W it will cost about $0.67/hour to run for a savings of $282/month which brings the cost of staying at a NP down to $210/month.


If we watched little or no TV our solar would keep up with our demands.


Full time since August 2010

2002 Itasca Horizon


One fur kid - a  Shih-Tsu rescue

Jeep Grand Cherokee Ltd