Top Tips for Enjoying an Eco-Friendly Road Trip

Written by on August 6, 2020 in Travel and Entertainment with 0 Comments

Although the great American road trip is enjoying a renewed surge of popularity, it is not one of the most sustainable travel options. In  MMGM’s Portrait of American Travelers survey, 2 out of 3 travelers said they intended to take a road trip in the next 12 months. However, one road trip can contribute as much as 28 percent of its monthly carbon dioxide emissions. To balance out this environmental impact, it could take the planting of 3 trees and 10 years of growth before the damage is rectified. With consumer concerns about sustainability rising dramatically and many  drivers try to be more eco-conscious, many are now wondering: is it possible to have a sustainable road trip? The answer is yes — but with a few changes to your road trip itinerary and habits.

Start With the Car You Choose To Road Trip With

One of the best ways you can reduce your carbon footprint when undertaking a road trip is to, of course, consider the vehicle you are using. If you are traveling as a group, try to stick to one or as few cars as possible. When choosing a car, opt for the one that is eco friendly. If you plan or renting a vehicle, the use of published  motor ratings and assessment reports from professionals can help you pinpoint vehicle models with the best eco-friendly features like fuel economy. Also, before setting off make sure your car maintenance is up to date. Missed checks like under-inflated tires can also affect your car’s fuel economy.  According to estimates by Fuel Economy, keeping your tires inflated to the right PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) can improve your gas mileage between 0.6-3 percent.

Avoid Single-Use Plastic When Packing and For Snacking

Multiple studies have shown just how hazardous single-use plastic can be for the environment.  According to estimates by the Sierra Club, Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every 5 seconds and over 25 billion coffee cups are tossed away every day. These two items are common on road trips and can be easily remedied to reduce your environmental impact whilst on the road. To start with, pack snacks for the road in reusable containers and opt for a reusable water bottle instead. Most hotels and eating establishments are now happy to refill them for free and some even offer refilling stations for your water bottle.

If you are planning to travel in an RV or campervan, be sure to pack reusable shopping bags, cutlery, and storage containers. Finally, when shopping for snacks or food restocks on your road trips, opt for the plastic-free options such as fresh fruit and pastries. Using those reusable containers, you can safely package any leftovers while avoiding the use of single-use plastics.

Minimize the Time You Spend On the Road

With the emissions of your car being a large factor in the sustainability of your road trip, the less time you can spend on the road, the better it is for your eco-friendly goal. To maximize your gas mileage, you will want to pack smart. The heavier your carload is, the more gas is used to get you to your destination. Therefore, stick to packing the essentials and only what you estimate you will need on the road trip.

The proper route planning also plays a huge part in reducing your time on the road- and your impact on the environment. The use of  road trip planning tools and apps such as CoPilot and Gas Buddy can help you schedule well-timed stops and estimate any delays in traffic. Using this, you can avoid long traffic queues and spend less time on the road. Also, if you choose to explore a city for the day, it may be best to use public transport for the day, improving accessibility and reducing the time your car is on the road.

So who says the thrill of a road trip has to end? With a few tweaks and a conscious effort to make eco-friendly choices on the road, you can head off and explore with the road trip of your dreams, while still doing your part for the environment.

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