Greenup your road trip

5 Eco-Friendly Tips to Green-Up Your Road Trip

According to the AAA, one in four Americans will hit the road this holiday season, with a visit to friends or family. And while road trips can be economically beneficial, there is a cost to the environment. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, “Transportation is the largest single source of air pollution in the United States.”

The UCS also reports that transportation is responsible for multiple pollutants, including more than half of the carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, as well as nearly a quarter of the hydrocarbons emitted into the air.

So for this holiday season and throughout the year, here are some tips for a more eco-friendly road trip experience:

Fuel-Efficient Maintenance

Not only does vehicle maintenance ensure your safety, it reduces fuel consumption. A dirty air filter can lower fuel efficiency by 20 percent, according to Bad spark plugs can also decrease the miles per gallon rating by 12 percent. Schedule an appointment with your mechanic to upgrade your car and maximize its fuel economy.

Proper Tires

Check your tires. Under-inflated and misaligned tires can increase fuel costs. For every 1psi drop in pressure below the manufacturers recommendation, gas mileage drops by 0.3 percent. Tires inflated to the proper pressure can improve gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent, informs If you need tire replacements, consider the Continental ProContact ECOPlus tires; designed to reduce CO2 emissions and rolling resistance for improved fuel efficiency and gas savings.

Sensible Driving

Excessive braking, rapid acceleration and speeding (which increases engine RPMs) can lower gas mileage by 33 percent on the highway and 5 percent on city streets, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Gas mileage typically declines once your speed exceeds 50 mph, with every additional 5 mph estimated to cost an extra $0.19 per gallon of gas. Observe the speed and use cruise control on the highway to help maintain a constant speed and save gas.

Sun Shades

Going somewhere warm? Remember to place sunshades over your vehicle’s front window to effectively block the sun’s rays and reduce inside temperatures.  By doing this, your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard or long, which saves you gas and helps reduce emissions.

Eco-Conscious Travel Preparation

After your car’s tune-up and tire inspections, keep in mind the following tips for eco-friendly traveling.

  • Reusable Item: Pack reusable materials to help reduce the amount of trash you produce throughout your trip. Refillable travel mugs and water bottles can cut down on the number of paper coffee cups and plastic water bottles you might be throwing away.
  • Efficient Navigation: Plan your route and destinations. Getting lost, taking a wrong turn or wandering will just waste extra resources. Research the routes you want to take, stops to make and places to visit with a detailed itinerary. Following predetermined navigation can control the amount of energy you consume.
  • Sustainable Accommodations: Look for hotels with LEED Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Green initiatives like “sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, material selection, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design” determine a hotel’s sustainability, according to

Abby Terlecki tells stories with her keyboard, writing freelance articles through Social Monsters.

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