Road trips aren’t typically thought of as environmentally friendly, but there’s no denying their popularity – cheap car hire is abundant and competitive, and some places remain inaccessible by any other means. So how can you keep your road trip as green as possible?
Stay on the Train Until the Last Minute
Remember that you don’t have to drive everywhere on your journey. You can pick up a vehicle in most places these days, making it possible to take the train, bus or boat to the general region you want to explore, and then jump in a car for the detailed bits. For example, instead of driving all the way across Europe to drive along the Mediterranean coastline, you could take the train to Lisbon, Barcelona or Monaco, and then drive from there. Cut costs by using a Eurail or Interrail pass, which provides discounted travel across a broad network of European railways.
Park and Hike
This is especially true if you’re exploring areas of wilderness, although some towns and villages are of course easy to wander on foot as well. Instead of touring a place of natural beauty with a layer of tinted glass between you and nature beyond, find a safe place to leave the car and then set off on foot. You’ll get so much more from your adventure if you do this – fresh air, interesting scents, a little exercise, and a sense of satisfaction, for starters.
This ties in nicely with the “train & hire” combo, since you won’t want to be lugging too much stuff on and off public transport – but it also makes your vehicle, when you get one, more fuel efficient. The less weight your car is carrying, the less fuel it burns, meaning fewer emissions and lower costs.
Choose the Right Vehicle
That 20mpg gas guzzler might feel reassuring but do you really need it when you could be zipping around in a fuel efficient hatchback? Ask as many questions as you need to make sure you hire the most efficient vehicle possible for your needs…
Check Your Tire Pressure
Correct tire pressure makes your vehicle safer, easier to handle, and maximises fuel efficiency. Appropriate tire pressures vary depending on the vehicle model, so check the manual, online, or look inside the driver’s door seal to find what’s right for the car you’re driving. Check pressure when tires are cool – hot tires can give false readings – and make sure there’s a digital fuel gauge and a tire pump in the trunk.
Cars typically get less fuel efficient the faster you drive them, at least above 60mph – driving at 70mph will use a whopping 25% more fuel than driving at 50mph. You’ll hopefully be enjoying the view, anyway, so driving a little slower shouldn’t be too much of a pain. Also bear in mind that braking and accelerating as smoothly as possible will also reduce fuel consumption.
Don’t Leave Litter
This should go without saying, but it’s amazing how many people still think it’s okay to abandon wrappers and so forth on the ground. Even if it’s paper, it’s still litter, and may be harmful to wildlife even if it does biodegrade faster than other materials. Take it with you, and recycle when you can.
(Image by breahn)