Can You Run an RV Air Conditioner While Driving?

Are you planning a road trip in your RV and wondering if you can run an RV air conditioner while driving?

It’s a common question among RV enthusiasts, and for good reason. Keeping cool and comfortable on long drives is essential for a pleasant travel experience. While the answer isn’t a simple yes or no, there are ways to safely and efficiently use your RV AC while on the road.

In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of running your RV air conditioner while driving, including what types of rigs can handle it, how to do it safely, and some tips for staying cool without putting extra strain on your engine.

So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of RV air conditioning!

Usage of RV AC While Driving

The short answer is yes, you can run your RV air conditioner while driving – but there are some important safety measures to keep in mind. First of all, most RVs come equipped with an auxiliary generator that produces enough power to run the AC unit safely.

However, remember that running the AC will place additional strain on the generator and drain its fuel supply more quickly. Therefore, it is important to monitor the fuel levels carefully while running the AC unit while driving.

Another thing to consider is whether or not your vehicle has enough power to handle the load of running both the engine and the AC unit simultaneously. If your engine is not powerful enough to handle both loads at once, then it may be best for you to leave the AC off until you reach your destination and park your vehicle.

Additionally, if your vehicle does have enough power but still struggles under load when running both components at once, then it may be time for an upgrade! A more powerful engine will help ensure safe operation of both components without putting too much strain on either one.

Finally, never forget about safety when operating any motor vehicle! Remember that driving an RV can be different than driving a regular car or truck because of its size and weight; therefore make sure that whatever route you take gives you plenty of space and visibility to maneuver safely around other drivers on whatever roadways you encounter.

Additional Things to Consider When Running Rooftop AC While Driving?

There are a few things to keep in mind when running an RV air conditioner while driving.

First, you should ensure that your RV is equipped with an adequate generator to power the air conditioner and any other electronics you may want to use at the same time. A good rule of thumb is to have a minimum of 4,000 watts of generator capacity for every 10,000 BTUs of cooling capacity.

Second, you should ensure that your RV’s generator is up to the task of running the AC while driving. The extra strain on your generator can cause it to overheat if it isn’t properly maintained or powerful enough for the job.

Finally, you should make sure that your RV is equipped with the proper exhaust system that can safely and efficiently get rid of the hot air expelled by the air conditioner. Without a functioning exhaust system, you could end up with an overheated RV and possibly a dangerous situation.

Tips For Staying Cool While Driving

In addition to running your RV air conditioner while driving, there are a few other tips and tricks you can use to stay cool on the road. Here are some of our favorites:

• Use window shades to keep the sun out of your RV.

• Open windows to allow for natural airflow.

• Make sure your RV is well-ventilated by running any available ceiling fans.

• Park in the shade whenever possible to keep the temperature inside your RV low.

• Invest in a portable air conditioner for times when you are unable to run the main AC unit.

• Avoid driving during the hottest part of the day.

Is It Fuel-Efficient to Run RV AC While Driving?

The simple answer is, if you are using the generator you are only using the gasoline from the generator to power the AC unit.

Running the AC in your coach while driving will certainly lower your already low MPG, but hey, that’s the price we pay for comfort.

How much will it lower your MPG?

That really depends on your rig and it’s age and condition.

However, modern RV air conditioners are much more fuel efficient than their older counterparts due to improved technology and design.

Related: What Size Generator is Best For RV With Two AC Units?


Running an RV air conditioner while driving can be a great way to stay cool and comfortable on the road this summer, as long as you make sure that your generator has enough power for running the AC unit, is equipped with a proper exhaust system and well insulated. By following these considerations, you can ensure that your RV will remain fuel-efficient and safe throughout your journey.

Happy Camping and stay cool!