A truck bed fuel tank is an excellent investment for many RVers and those driving long distances in a truck. They’re great for extending the time between stops at the fuel pump and minimizing fill-ups in states or regions with expensive fuel prices. If this sounds appealing to you, a truck bed fuel tank upgrade may be worth considering. Let’s look at how you can expand your RV driving range with this upgrade.
What Is a Truck Bed Fuel Tank?
A truck bed fuel tank sits in the bed of a truck and stores fuel. The tank typically serves as an auxiliary tank for a truck’s fuel supply. Some tanks will automatically feed into the truck’s fuel tank.
Some users report that they get upwards of 1,000 miles on a full tank when not towing. Even when towing, you can easily extend your range by several hundred miles before needing to stop to refuel.
How Do Truck Bed Fuel Tanks Work?
There are typically two ways a truck bed fuel tank works. A gravity-fed tank will replace the fuel in your fuel tank as the engine burns it. This will continually fill your tank until your auxiliary tank is empty. When gravity is used its usually called a transfer tank, because the fuel is only used for the vehicle.
The second way is by using a 12-volt electric pump. You can flip a switch to activate the pump. Then, the pump will push the fuel from the truck bed fuel tank into the truck’s factory-installed fuel tank. To avoid any issues, you should watch your fuel tank gauge and turn off the pump before you reach full to avoid over-filling your tank.
The last way tanks can be used is by adding a fuel fill handle similar to what you see at a fuel station. The pump can be activated then you can fill the tank just like you were filling at a fueling station to empty the truck bed tank.
This type of electric pump can also fill other vehicles or machines that need refuling. These are commonly used for those running ATV’s and dirt bikes.
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Holding Capacity of a Truck Bed Fuel Tank
There are several different models and types of these auxiliary fuel tanks. Some include a toolbox or are made from different materials, but all serve the same general purpose.
You can find tanks ranging from 40 to 85 gallons or more. The size of the auxiliary fuel tank will largely depend on the amount of available space in your truck bed. However, adding an extra 40 gallons to your truck can often double your fuel capacity, which is never a bad thing.
How Much Do They Cost?
A truck bed fuel tank can cost anywhere from $800 to $1,200 or more for the most expensive units. The cost of your fuel tank will depend on how the manufacturer made it and the size.
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Increasing your fuel tank also means increasing the cost each time you refuel. When you double or triple your fuel capacity, you’re also doubling or tripling the cost of filling up.
Factors to Consider Before Adding a Truck Bed Fuel Tank
There’s a handful of things you should consider before adding a truck bed fuel tank to your vehicle. Let’s take a look!
These fuel tanks aren’t cheap. They’re built to last and often come with a premium price tag as a result. Make sure yours is high quality, so you don’t waste your money.
Also, you’ll pay more overall each time you stop to fill up your tanks. Instead of buying 25-35 gallons of fuel, you could be purchasing 100 gallons or more.
Not only will the fuel tank itself add weight, but the fuel will as well. This can easily add hundreds of pounds to the weight on your truck’s axles and frame. If you’re up against the payload capacity on your truck, you may need to shop for a smaller truck bed fuel tank.
When considering which size to get for your fuel tank, keep in mind that a large tank in the bed of your truck will take up precious storage space. If you’re not traveling long distances, you’ll likely need to make a list of pros and cons for putting a fuel tank in your bed.
If you’re only taking a handful of extended trips, it’s likely not going to be worth your time or the precious storage space. However, if you’re regularly traveling or want to avoid filling up when fuel is more expensive, get the largest possible fuel tank for your truck.
How Often You’ll Use It
You may not realize it, but fuel eventually goes bad. So if you install a fuel tank and aren’t traveling, the fuel could expire. If you’re using your tank for gas, make sure you can use the fuel within three to six months.
Diesel, however, has a slightly longer shelf life at six to 12 months. Using old fuel in your truck or other machinery can cause your engine to spit and sputter, and it can clog the fuel injectors.
Benefits of a Truck Bed Fuel Tank for RV Life
There are several benefits to installing a fuel tank in the bed of your pickup. Let’s look at a few.
Save Money By Going Farther Without Filling Up
By increasing your fuel tank capacity, you’re able to go much farther without stopping to fill up. This can allow you to not only save time but money as well.
You may find that you’re traveling through a state or area of the country that has notoriously high fuel prices. You’ll love being able to pass on through these areas without having to stop to fuel up.
If you’re hoping to make a cross-country trip while RVing, a truck bed fuel tank can be extremely convenient. You could potentially go an entire day without filling up.
Lessen the Need to Take Your RV Through a Gas Station
Many RVers who use a diesel truck can utilize the trucker fuel lanes found at truck stops. These typically provide a tremendous amount of room for maneuvering and are extremely convenient. However, not everyone RVing drives a diesel truck.
Very few gas stations have conveniently located gas pumps for those towing an RV with a gas vehicle. Standard fuel pump lanes can be tight, and even an experienced RVer may get a bit nervous navigating. Some gas stations may also not have enough vertical clearance to fit an RV under the awning covering the gas pumps.
➡ Even with a truck bed fuel tank, you’ll eventually have to stop at a gas station. Make sure you know your RV’s height before you pull in: What Is Your RV Height, and Why Do You Need to Know It?
By installing an auxiliary fuel tank, you eliminate the need to take your RV through a gas station every few hours. Depending on the size of your tanks, you’re likely going to have enough fuel to get you through a whole day of towing.
Being able to say goodbye to stressing out over tight gas station lanes is a tremendous benefit for many RVers.
Less Stressful Travel Days
Travel days can be stressful enough, but having a larger fuel tank means one less thing to worry about. A larger fuel tank capacity means fewer fill-ups during traveling days. You can still stop and fill up on fuel days, but it likely won’t be needed as often.
When you’re able to bypass fuel stops, you’re able to get to your next destination faster. You’ll still need to stop for meals and restrooms, but taking some of the stress away from your travel days can make them more enjoyable.
Pro Tip: If you’re stopping for a fast food meal, read this to avoid making a huge mistake: Can RVs Go Through Drive-Thrus?
Alternative Options To In Bed Fuel Tanks
The least expensive option that can still increase your range is carrying portable fuel cans. While they cannot carry near as much fuel it’s not a bad idea to at least have one can in the bed of the truck as a safety in case you ever find yourself near-empty far from a fuel station.
Pro Tip: You can get battery-powered electric pumps to help transfer fuel from portable tanks cleanly and easily.
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Another great option is to add an underbed high capacity tank. These are custom-designed tanks that replace your factory tank for your particular truck. The most popular manufacturer of these tanks is Titan Fuel Tanks.
Is a Truck Bed Fuel Tank Right for You?
Whether a truck bed fuel tank is suitable for you or not depends on your travel style. If your preferred camping style often results in staying in campgrounds or relatively close locations, you likely won’t benefit much from adding additional fuel capacity.
However, if you’re traveling full-time or using a large amount of fuel, it can be an incredible upgrade.
Would you benefit from adding a truck bed fuel tank to your RV setup? Or do you already have one? Let us know in the comments.
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