When the road calls, it’s hard to resist the promise of adventure. After all, what’s more exhilarating and iconic than the great American road trip? There’s no reason you can’t have that classic experience and still uphold more modern ideals of ecological responsibility and environmental sustainability. Here are a few tips for keeping your next road trip green, without sacrificing the fun and excitement.
Fuel smarts and vehicular options
By far, the biggest part of your carbon footprint during a road trip is your fuel consumption. You can significantly reduce this impact by choosing to hit the road in a fuel-efficient, low-emissions vehicle. You have a lot of options in this regard. One thing to consider if it’s an option for you is this: motorcycles are far more fuel-efficient than cars. A number of modern models can get between 60 and 70 mpg, compared to cars that rarely get more than 30 mpg on average.
Of course, you can always opt for a hybrid or full-electric car that gets higher mpg or doesn’t consume fossil fuels at all. A growing number of long-distance car rental services offer hybrids, so do some research about what’s available.
As in everyday life, road trips can produce a lot of garbage if you’re not mindful. Instead of relying on paper plates, take-out food, and disposable cups, plan ahead by bringing along plates, travel mugs and utensils that you can wash and reuse throughout the trip. This will not only cut down on the amount of trash you produce on your trip, but it will also encourage you to eat better by avoiding restaurants in favor of fresh foods from local markets.
The more control you have over your spaces, the greener your road trip will be. This means you have to think about life outside the car, especially where you’ll be spending your nights. The lowest-impact accommodations for any trip will be camp grounds, so plan your trip along routes that offer camping opportunities and invest in a good tent.
In addition to your spaces, you should also control how much energy you consume in transit. Instead of wandering or taking routes on the fly, take some time before you hit the road to plan an efficient path. Even if you opt for eco-friendly transportation, you’ll still be consuming energy and other resources with every mile. Check your maps, make an itinerary, and do some research about the areas you expect to visit, so you don’t end up wasting your resources.
As a bonus, planning ahead may give you info about cool attractions and nice places to stay that you wouldn’t have found on your own.
A green road trip is a healthy road trip. It’s healthy for your mind and body, healthy for local economies, and, of course, healthy for the environment. With a little extra care and planning you can have a environmetally-friendly adventure through the cities, towns, and countrysides of this nation.
Your green road trip?
What was the best and most memorable road trip you’ve ever been on?
How did you reduce your carbon footprint? How was your carbon footprint a little too big for your liking?
Tell us all about it in the comments section of this post.