Summer is the season of the road trip. For some it’s tradition to pack up the car and head out to a new destination. For others, it’s a cost-effective way to travel.
Regardless of the reason, the average American family spends 23 hours on the road during the summer. While on this average road trip the family will consume lots of snacks, play plenty of car games, most likely get a little lost, and make frequent trips to the gas station to fill up or take a pit stop.
If you’ve got a road trip coming up, make sure your plan includes a few sustainable practices to make your vacation as environmentally-friendly as possible.
Consolidate your vacation prep
The less you run around getting ready for your road trip, the better. If possible, group all your trip-planning errands together into a single day out. Map a route that doesn’t have you doubling back a lot, and you’ve just turned errand-running into an efficient process that minimizes your car emissions.
Snacks go with road trips like peanut butter goes with jelly. It’s the fun of the road, but it also creates a lot of trash. You can avoid that by bringing food from home. Instead of getting all your snacks individually packaged while road tripping, buy in bulk at home and pack up your family’s favorite snacks in reusable containers.
Not only are you making less waste, but you now have Tupperware or other containers to use for the road trip home.
Use cruise control
The way we drive impacts our carbon footprint more than you may think. Aggressive driving, with rapid accelerations and hard breaking isn’t just bad for the car, it also reduces your gas mileage. A less efficient car means more gas, and more emissions.
When on long stretches of highway with consistent traffic, engage your cruise control. This will keep your car at a consistent speed, and ensure it’s running as optimally as possible.
Fill up your car responsibly
No matter how far you’re driving this summer, the fuel you put into your car matters. Whether coming or going, make sure you fill up at Stop & Shop. By simply putting premium Stop & Shop fuel into your tank, you’re helping offset tailpipe emissions through the Stop & Shop Restore program.
Restore calculates carbon emissions based on the amount of fuel you buy, and then invests in carbon reduction projects to offset those emissions by up to 30 percent. That means if you do have to idle in your car while in traffic, you’re using sustainably-sourced fuel.
Recycle your road trip trash
Not all the goodies you’ll eat on the road can come from home. If you want a cold beverage, or are suddenly craving drive-thru cuisine, stop and enjoy. You can, however, recycle the trash you do accumulate and make a more environmental choice with your garbage.
Make sure those plastic bottles, fast food bags, and even the cardboard drink caddies go into the recycle bin rather than the trash can. Even if you have to hold onto these items a little longer until you can find recycling, it’s worth it.
Walk or bike once you get there
When you arrive at your vacation destination, give your car a break. If you can, research the closest restaurants and activities and see what you can walk or bike to. If you’re headed to a beach town, there’s most likely plenty of options as well as a nearby bike rental shop if you were unable to bring your own.
Driving less means fewer emissions, and in the summer it means running the car AC less.
Hit the road right this summer
Practicing these few sustainable tips can help make your summer road trip more environmentally friendly. They’ll also save you some gas and maybe even a little money, leaving more in the budget for all the fun that awaits you on your summer vacation!