Whether you are trekking with your friends or taking your family on an adventure to remember, a road trip promises tons of fun. From posing next to local and world famous landmarks, to beautiful sights and scenery, a road trip is a relatively inexpensive summer holiday. However, a group of people driving long distances can take a heavy toll on the environment. Learn how to reduce your vehicle’s carbon footprint and pick up a few eco-friendly habits.
Load efficiency = fuel efficiency
Loading your car with an extra 10 or 20 kilograms of luggage per passenger greatly reduces the fuel efficiency. Pack only things that you cannot buy locally and the ones you’ll really use. If you have a ‘box of stuff’ that always gets forgotten in the boot, now is the time to take it out. Although useful if your car’s boot is loaded to the top, a rooftop cargo carrier can reduce your fuel efficiency up to 25%. To make the matters worse, it decreases kilometre-per-litre efficiency even if it’s empty. The solution to both problems – pack less. If you really need to take a lot of cargo, for example camping and cooking gear, a bigger car is a better option than two smaller ones.
By planning your route ahead of time, you’ll be able to save fuel and choose the quickest or shortest route. Not only will you be able to minimize your carbon footprint, but also keep your stress level low. Not many people know that an idling car can use more than a litre of fuel per hour. It is a common misconception among drivers that idling is better than igniting every time, as ignition produces a lot of emissions. However, cars have become more efficient, so idling isn’t justified. Also, you can save even more fuel, and consequently emit less carbon if you use your car’s cruise control feature. Driving at a steady speed is the most economical way of motoring.
Shape up your car
Regular maintenance and checking doesn’t only improve your car’s efficiency, but also reduces a chance of a breakdown. For example, a dirty air filter can reduce your car’s fuel efficiency by 20%. Apart from being dangerous, driving on low pressure tyres drops your kilometre-per-litre rate. If you are busy preparing for a trip and you need your car on a daily basis, give a mobile mechanic service a try. Instead of you driving to a garage, a service vehicle arrives at your location and an expert mechanic repairs it on the spot. On the other hand, if you choose to rent, choose an efficient or even a hybrid electric vehicle.
Adopt green road habits
Aside from your ride’s, another environmental footprint will be yours. Support the local communities and reduce the food miles, by eating and buying locally. Local Food Loop is an excellent app that connects growers, farmers, fishers, brewers, bakers, as well as local cafes serving local food throughout Australia. It can help you find a local eatery or a food seller. Instead of buying packed snacks and contributing to the local landfills, pack your own, homemade snacks and healthy alternatives in reusable boxes.
Leave the gadgets behind
It’s not about shunning all electronic devices and travelling like a poster family of the 1950s, but besides a mobile phone and maybe a DSLR camera to capture all those wonderful moments, do you really need a laptop, a tablet or a separate music player? Wherever you are, electronic devices consume electricity, contributing to your carbon footprint. Pack a few board games, walk around and talk to the locals instead of tweeting. There will always be time to post great memories once you return home.
There is no need to eliminate car travel completely if you want to reduce your environmental impact. Using these tips, you can still have a great time and hit the road knowing that your effort makes a difference.
Article by: Derek Lotts