Revolutionize the Road Trip - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Revolutionize the Road Trip

Most of us remember being a kid and going on road trips with our families. School let out, and that meant it was time to hop in the family station wagon or minivan and drive a few hundred miles to visit a theme park or beach. Gas prices are higher now than they were twenty or thirty years ago, but road trips remain a popular option for families. In fact, the American road trip is such a part of our collective identity that it can be hard to think of ways we could change it. The American road trip is a classic, but even classics can and should be updated from time to time.

Think of the Planet

American drivers have a tendency to think in the short-term rather than the long-term when it comes to issues like fuel consumption. When pump prices are cheap, drivers like to run out and buy big trucks and SUVs that tend to guzzle a lot of gas. If gas is $2 a gallon or less, why should they invest more money in an electric or hybrid car? It’s easy to assume that low gas prices are a trend and high gas prices are the exception rather than the norm. When gas doesn’t cost much, it doesn’t feel like a very big deal to drive an enormous pickup truck that only gets 12 miles to the gallon.

If we’re going to be better stewards of the environment, though, we have to start thinking long-term. It’s true that hybrid and electric cars can be quite expensive, and it can be a pain in the rear to have to plug in your car to an outlet instead of swinging by your local gas station. Luckily, there’s another option in the form of biodiesel from a company like SeQuential biodiesel. If you have a car that runs on diesel, then you also have a car that can run on biodiesel, which is made from used oil, fats, and grease. It’s cleaner fuel with a much lower carbon footprint than you’ll find in traditional petroleum diesel. So when you plan that road trip, plan a way to fuel up with as much biodiesel as possible along the way. Look up places to see on Florida’s Gulf Coast, but also look up biodiesel fueling stations en route to the sandy beaches.

Avoid the Crowds

Trying to find a place that’s not crowded in the summer can seem like a dicey proposition at best. Since there are more people traveling from June through August, it’s harder to find a place that isn’t just overflowing with tourists. One solution is to avoid hitting the most popular vacation spots in the country, since everyone else will be there, too. The mouse-themed parks in Florida and California are going to be swamped when the weather is nice. If you must go to one of those parks, do it in the off-season. There will still be visitors in January and February, but it won’t feel as crowded and claustrophobic.

You can still have a great vacation by visiting more under-the-radar locales. Summer is a great time to go to a college town, since most of the students are back home for the summer. Visit Lansing, MI, Columbus, OH, or another of the country’s finest college towns. Enjoy the drive out there, and then, once you arrive, know that you can relax, check out the sights, and eat some good food without feeling like you’re stuck in a mosh pit all the time.


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