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How to Plan a Sustainable Road Trip


When I was younger, it felt like we lived in the car — excuse me, van. We were a family of four, and still, we drove the heck out of an eight-passenger van. We’d leave for long trips to Pennsylvania (three-and-a-half hours from our home in New York) and Vermont (sometimes five or six hours from New York) and we even drove down to Florida a few times to visit family and you know, hit up the quintessential Orlando theme parks. Now that I’m an adult and an eco-warrior at that, I realize just how many emissions and environmental complications our fun family road trips probably caused.

In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency reports transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, which get trapped in our atmosphere and in turn, warm the average global temperature. Transportation emissions accounted for 28.9 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 and exacerbate the effects of global warming. While the transportation category isn’t made up of solely cars — as fossil fuels for transportation purposes are used for everything from cars and trucks to ships, trains, and planes — that percentage is alarming and there is a lot we can do to change our transportation habits to ensure the reduction of these harmful greenhouse gas emissions.