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Travel is fun, but like many other things in our life, it can have adverse effects on the environment and increase pollution. There are however a number of ways that we can reduce emissions that impact our planet’s health and take an active part with these eco-friendly travel tips.
Switch to Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles are a great way to contribute to a healthy planet. Rather than depending on fossil fuels to power them, electric vehicles depend upon electricity which can be generated through a variety of eco-friendly methods.
As fossil fuels are used up they contribute to the production of greenhouse gasses. In fact, fossil fuels are the most significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, comprising approximately ¾ of all methane, carbon and other greenhouse gasses. By using vehicles that do not emit these gasses by burning fuel we can significantly improve the air quality of the planet.
While electric vehicles are one of the most efficient methods to reduce air pollution, they are not always cost-effective for “regular” families. The overall cost of electric vehicles is much higher than the cost of traditional vehicles. Some argue that this additional cost will be recouped by not having to purchase fuel, but for most “average” families the upfront cost of an electric vehicle is prohibitive.
Try Alternate Fuel Sources
Research is constantly being conducted into alternate fuel sources in another effort to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Some of these alternate fuel sources include.
- compressed air
- vegetable oil
- hydrogen fuel cells
- water and biomass
Not all of these fuel sources have been mastered yet but they show promise for reduced dependence on fossil fuels.
Compressed air has been used in a French designed vehicle. The vehicle is priced at $20,000 and achieves maximum speeds of 35 MPH without any fuel source other than compressed air.
The idea of using vegetable oil as a main fuel source for a vehicle has already been realized with the Volkswagen bio diesel-powered Beetle. This concept is a particularly appealing one due to the fact that it can make use of a readily available resource and reduce waste from other businesses.
Hydrogen Fuel Cells
Hydrogen fuel cells are an appealing concept for many vehicle manufacturers but to date this concept has not been realized. Many manufacturers have managed to come up with plenty of concept car ideas; however, none can actually realize this due to technical difficulties. Some of the difficulties in question include an inability to efficiently store hydrogen, how to prevent hydrogen from freezing and how to prevent hydrogen from catching fire! As manufacturers continue to research this concept the truth is that it is certainly not promising to be the most affordable eco-friendly traveling solution.
Ethanol is nothing new when it comes to fuel, but the idea of ethanol powered vehicles relies upon 100% ethanol fuel. The first 100% ethanol-powered vehicle was the E25 sedan by Suzuki Motor Company.
The Genepax, a Japanese created vehicle is actually able to power itself on nothing but water. Using one liter of water, the car is able to travel for one hour at a speed of 49.7 miles per hour. Cars powered by water utilize the hydrogen electrons from water to create electricity. Water is perhaps one of the cheapest considerations for alternate fuel sources but it raises the concern for those studying water conservation.
One vehicle model has already been shown to successfully run on wooden pellets. As these pellets are burned the heat powers the vehicle. One concern that could be raised from this concept, however, is that manufacturers or consumers will begin to burn items that contribute to air pollution.
Considerations for Alternative Fuel Sources
Ethanol and vegetable oil seem to show the most advancement in recent years. While converting vehicles to accept alternate fuel sources is certainly not as expensive as purchasing an electric vehicle, it can be quite a pricey conversion. Add in the cost of conversion, the lack of alternate fueling stations and this eco-friendly travel solution can be a little tricky as well.
Use Public Transportation
One of the most feasible changes that most of us can make right now is to become more dependent upon public transportation and less dependent on personal vehicles. With more people taking their cars off the roads less pollution will be created.
Buses, trains and subways are the most common forms of public transportation. Many people have become so dependent upon their personal vehicles that they claim that public transport is impractical, but this is not the case. Public transportation can turn thirty vehicles into one bus, significantly reducing emissions.
It should also be noted that many areas such as Chicago and New York City already depend heavily upon public transportation without interrupting the lives of citizens.
Public transportation is a great solution to eco-friendly travel. However, it is not possible for all travelers. Not all cities have the facilities to provide transportation that effectively services all major areas of the city.
One way for these areas to reduce their negative impact on the environment is to encourage carpooling. Carpooling is simply the practice of multiple individuals sharing a single vehicle to get to their destination. Many workplaces encourage carpooling by providing employee incentives. Incentives shouldn’t be the only reason to choose to carpool but, if more people car pool the levels of carbon emissions would reduce drastically.
Bicycling is another method of eco-friendly transportation to consider for those living in close proximity to their workplace. Bicycling is not only an eco-friendly and pollution free way to travel, but it is also a great way to stay healthy. As more individuals take up bicycling as a means of transportation, levels of obesity are likely to decrease and in turn food industries will not be as strained as they are currently.
This video is a bit dated but has some tips that still apply today including how to be a more eco-friendly flier too!
Share Your Eco-Friendly Travel Tips
Have any other tips to share, we’re all ears and would love to hear how you’ve found ways to make your travels less troublesome for our planet.
Do you travel green?