Maybe you’re running short on cash. Maybe you want to get to know the state, or the country, see the gradual transformation of the lush green mountains of Kentucky into the flat, swampy Everglades in Florida, or drive from one side of the Andes to the other (on the Chile side, you can see both the Andes and the beach from any spot!).
Whatever the reason, sometimes the idea of taking a road trip is very appealing. With this decision, though, come others: how to deal with your car’s carbon emissions, how to pay for gas, how to minimize how much gas you need, how to stabilize the temperature in the car, how to minimize waste, and plenty more.
Here are some things you can do to green up your trip:
- Trade your car (or plane!) trip for a train or bus trip. Public transportation always beats driving your own car. You will be producing smaller amounts of greenhouse gasses per passenger mile/kilometer and spending less money overall. Traveling by bus means reducing the pollution of cars, motorcycles, and trucks by two-thirds! A giant difference. Also keep in mind that rails pollute more than buses, and planes, well, they double the pollution of buses (intercity travel).
- If you’re set on traveling by car, try to travel in a fuel-efficient car. See some here and read up on fuel economy here.
- If your car is not fuel-efficient, just prepare it properly: tune your engine and check the tires to get better gas mileage (which will benefit your car’s “health” and save you money!).
- Renting a car? Choose fuel-efficient! Obviously. Many rental companies will offer you this eco friendly option. Hybrids are preferable; otherwise, choose a subcompact, compact, or economy car. Larger vehicles always use up more gas.
- Carpool! Another no-brainer. Seriously. I don’t care that your cousin listens to death metal. Wear ear plugs.
- Plan ahead! Bring reusable containers, not Ziplocs (unless you plan on washing and reusing them). Tupperware to take leftovers from restaurants, travel mugs for your coffee, and so on. Also, get your directions straight to avoid wasting excess gas. And don’t forget your biodegradable sunscreen!
- When you stop for gas or to rest, turn off the engine. Just like when you leave a room and you switch off the light. Same thing. It’s a good habit.
- Drive under the speed limit to save on gas, and at a mellow pace if possible. Consider taking back roads and other less-traveled paths instead of the highway.
- See if you can find any green hotels to stay at, go camping, or maybe try Couch Surfing and teach your gracious host(ess) how to green up her/his living quarters! Choose what you want to do and research how to make it green. It’s your responsibility.
Any experiences taking a green road trip?
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