Eco-Friendly Road Trippin’

van on road trip

Summer in California means warm weather, blue skies and for some, a great time to take a road trip. While transportation is responsible for more carbon emissions than any other sector in the United States, there are plenty of things you can do to reduce your environmental impact while traveling by car.


Cut your emissions by reducing how many cars go on your trip. Check with your travel buddies beforehand to see if there’s extra space for carpooling.

Drive Smarter

Studies show that for every 5 mph you drive over 60 mph, fuel efficiency decreases by 7 percent. Stay within the speed limit to save on gas and avoid hitting the brakes if you can by allowing adequate space between you and the car in front of you.

Inflate Tires

Check your tire pressure regularly, add air at home or the gas station when needed to save on gas and reduce vehicle emissions. Not to mention proper tire pressure makes your car safer to drive.

Park It

Idling for over 10 seconds wastes more gas than turning the car engine off and on again. Any time you pull over to look at the navigation, connect your Bluetooth or stop at a viewpoint, turn the engine completely off. Making a pit stop for fast food? Park the car and go inside the restaurant to save gas while waiting in line.

Turn off the AC

Air conditioning uses up to 25% of fuel economy in some cases, meaning that if your car regularly gets 20 mpg, it might only get 15 mpg with the AC on. Instead, roll the windows down or click the AC off to get fresh air from outside. When you first get into the car, roll the windows down instead of going straight to the AC – this will help get air moving efficiently.

Go Electric (or Hybrid)

Renting a car? Look into options that can reduce your emissions (and gas money!) such as with an electric or hybrid vehicle using an app or other car sharing platforms.

Bring Reusable Containers and Bags

Save money and plastic by bringing your reusable canteen, cutlery, containers, etc., when traveling. Most gas stations allow free water refill at fountain drink stations, and there are rest stops all across California with drinkable water. Say “no” to plastic bags. Bring a reusable bag with you when stocking up on groceries and supplies to help prevent unnecessary waste.


Recycling bins are often hard to find at gas stations, which can be a setback if you plan on emptying your trash when filling up on gas. Save your recyclables in a bag until you find a recycling bin or return home.