Road trips are a great way to see the country, but what about all those emissions that will be pumped into the atmosphere as you drive? Sure, you want to see the Grand Canyon, but how can you keep your impact on the planet to a minimum? Whether you want to cruise down California on the PCH or have a cross-country trip planned, here are some tips to keep your adventure eco-friendly.
First, you need a car. Don’t pick your friends ’89 Buick or a ’76 mystery mobile. Instead pick something modern with good fuel efficiency. Maybe a Honda Civic, or if one is available to you, a Toyota Prius. These cars are known for their superior fuel efficiency.
Next, it’s important to know where you are going. If the car you are driving doesn’t have a built-in GPS, it is worth it to purchase one to avoid draining your phone’s data plan. If you plan out where you are going and how you will get there beforehand, you’ll end up saving a lot of gas, money and time.
Last, try to bring everything you’ll need while on the road. The more things you can bring along, the less you’ll have to buy along the way. This cuts down on the garbage you will generate on your trip. You won’t be able to bring everything with you. When you must buy on the go, try to find local stores and restaurants. Remember weight, as well as drag, decreases fuel efficacy. If there are items in your car that don’t need to be there, take them out — that full set of tools, the old amp, that bag of magazines you intended to take to Goodwill but never did.
A fuel-efficient car and a well-mapped trip is a good start, but car condition also matters for gas mileage. Get a tune up before you head out on the road.
Fluids: Be sure to check your oil and other fluids regularly while on the road. This includes water, windshield fluid and antifreeze. If you’re burning oil, it will cost you money as well as take its toll on the environment.
Tires: Tires that aren’t filled to their specified capacity are going to affect your gas efficiency. Older tires can wear thin and deflate faster than new tires. You may consider the purchase of a new set before you leave. Continental ProContract Ecoplus tires are specially designed to cut down on rolling resistance to save gas and money while cutting down on C02 emissions.
During the summer it’s easy to toss your camping gear in the back of your car and head out on the open road. But on days when weather conditions or location prevents you from camping, try to find certified green lodgings and properties that recycle, conserve water and were built using low volatile organic compounds.
If you are camping remember observe Leave No Trace principles. Anything you bring to the campsite, take when you leave or place in designated waste bins. This way animals and plants aren’t affected by your visit.
Respect to our environment and living things will ensure a healthier future for all of us!