photos SUPPLIED BY GWM AUSTRALIA
Road trip! The very phrase conjures a nostalgic frisson of camaraderie, adventure and good times. Or perhaps a slightly traumatic flashback to childhood family holidays… Regardless, the idea of hitting the open road with your pals beside you and some tasty snacks to hand is idyllic to think of. Nothing but the breeze in your hair and your trusty steed guzzling up gas beneath you – hmmm wait, are road trips problematic?
Well, if you consider the price of petrol these days maybe, but there are all sorts of things you can do to ensure your getaway doesn’t put you next to Taylor Swift’s private jet as Planet Killer of the Year. Read on for some tips and tricks for making your next road trip as eco-friendly as can be!
Less Fast and Furious, More Driving Miss Daisy
Did you know that your driving habits actually impact your vehicle’s environmental impact? The more you’ve packed in the ol’ automobile, the more fuel you’ll guzzle, so keep your load light. Try and stay on top of your service schedule – a well-tuned vehicle with well-looked-after tyres will go the eco distance. And forget Fast and the Furious (although always remember the importance of #family) – try to keep unnecessary acceleration to a minimum which will in turn lower your fuel consumption and emissions. Better still, think about switching to an electric vehicle. Research shows driving an electric car produces a whopping 70% fewer emissions than their petrol counterparts in countries such as France and Sweden where the majority of electricity comes from renewables.
Get Your Tunes In Order
No road trip is complete without some tasty tunes to sweeten the sound of the highway beneath your tyres. When putting together your playlist, check out Green Music Australia. This charity is all about trying to save the planet through the awesome power of music! Not only do they offer lots of resources about how to make and enjoy music more responsibly, but you can also browse their list of supporting artists to populate your playlist with musicians doing their bit to make the world a greener place – from Midnight Oil and Jack River to Paul Kelly and Montaigne.
Try to plan ahead when packing and think of what you are likely to need on the road so you can equip yourself with the relevant reusables and not panic-purchase plastics in the moment. Definitely bring a nice big water bottle so you can keep hydrated and a reusable coffee cup for the inevitable caffeine pit stops. Consider bringing your own cutlery and reusable straws so you can refuse inferior takeaway options and when you do need to purchase essentials on the go, ensure you have remembered your totes or reusable grocery bags and ditch the plastic bag.
Be Responsible With Your Trash
Obviously you’re not going to be one of those absolute yobbos who toss their trash out the car window, but it’s easy to let our good habits slip when we are away from home. Keep on top of your trash and separate what is garbage and what is recyclable. There should be separate bins for each available in most public spaces. If you want to go the extra mile you can research Containers for Change or Community Compost Hubs along your route, or even save all your food scraps in an airtight container to bring home as a gift for your own pile (the worms missed you).
Offset Your Trip
If you want to get a gold medal in eco-friendly road-tripping (a thing that is normal to want and possible to achieve) you can consider carbon offsetting. There are many resources online (like Terrapass, MyClimate, and Mossy Earth) that make it possible for you to calculate the carbon footprint of your trip, which you can then ameliorate by investing a commensurate amount into a heartwarming (but not planet-warming) carbon offsetting project, like the many implemented by our pals at Carbon Neutral.
Keep Your Hands on the Electric Wheel
Of the 20-something million cars on Australian roads, only 23,000 are electric. That’s 0.115%. Disheartening? Sure. Especially when you consider that countries overseas are looking to ban new petrol and diesel models completely by 2030. But the number is going up. And fast. From 2020 to 2021 alone, electric vehicle registrations Down Under increased by 62.3%.
The latest model on the market comes from GWM Australia – launching their first EV, and Australia’s cheapest electric car – the GWM Ora. Compact yet sporty, it boasts one-pedal driving, sleek and curved contours, and the extended range model can travel up to 420 kilometres on one charge making it the perfect eco road trip companion!