For many of us, life didn’t really start until we struck out on our own, traveling to far-flung distant places (or, in my case, a two hour jaunt to Montreal a few times during the summer). That travel was usually in a car, powered by gas. According to researchers, personal travel like the road trip is on the decline across developed nations due to the high price of petroleum.
According to a Stanford researcher, “the flattening of total per capita travel over so many countries has never been experienced.” Gas prices are finally affecting travel habits, since the cost of filling the family SUV has just soared to the cost of a bi-weekly grocery buy for the average family.
Prices are being additionally fueled by a ravenous hunger for petroleum in developing countries like China and India. Remember the free-ranging world of the road trip so many of us experienced from the 70′s to the 90′s? They kind of want that. Realistically, so would I if I lived in a country as beautiful as China or India. But demand, as any students of Microeconomics 101 knows, inevitably drives up price.
This Memorial Day weekend, the American Automobile Associations predicts 100,000 fewer travelers than last year as a result of sky-high fuel prices. If you are on the East Coast, weather may also be a factor, but high gas prices don’t really help either.
So how can you still have a green road trip? You can take the train, an option I used to use for travel between Toronto and Ottawa whenever I wanted to come home to visit my family. Comfortable, convenient, and not subject to construction or traffic delays. You can purchase a diesel or a hybrid car to save on gas, options that more and more consumers are turning to. You can also avoid eating fast food and instead confine yourself to mom-and-pop restaurants, who usually offer better fare for the same price as the junk food chains. If the place is packed with locals, you want to eat there.
Got any trips to make your road trip a little greener? Share them in our comments section.