RV’s have a reputation for being gas guzzlers, as they typically get about 8 miles to the gallon, so sustainability and RV travel seem to be oxymoronic. But Sara and Matt Janssenand their 4-year-old daughter Bella are currently spreading the word about sustainable camping by traveling across the country in their recreational vehicle that is run completely on used vegetable oil rather than traditional fuel or what we like to call – Greener RV.
If you’re an RV enthusiast, you probably have some sort of investment in the environment, mother Earth, and the beauty that goes hand-in-hand with nature. You might enjoy traveling through open desert landscapes or dense forests in your camper van, but don’t love the idea of polluting those beautiful places with fossil fuels. Your efforts don’t have to be as drastic as the Janssen’s, but there are some ways you can limit your road trip’s carbon footprint.
A lot of companies are designing RV’s to be more eco-friendly. The new Avanti line of RVs from Indiana-based Damon Motor Coach, for instance, provides a 70% increase in fuel economy over other large, Class A RVs, getting 14.5 miles to the gallon by decreasing the vehicle’s wind resistance and using the design model that many parcel delivery trucks use in order to save money on fuel. If you’re okay with downsizing a bit, you can get 15 to 30 miles by driving a converted commercial van. Roadtrek, a company based out of Ontario, specializes in converting these vehicles in small but deluxe recreational vehicles.
If your RV isn’t fuel efficient but you still want to spend the summer traveling from Acadia to Zion, you can offset your road trip’s carbon footprint by donating to a number of organizations dedicated to reforestation, renewable energy, and other environmental cleanup tactics. Websites like CarbonFundand CarbonFootprintcan help you calculate the carbon footprint of your trip and how much you need to donate to which foundations. According to CampingRoadTrip.com, you can offset a ten day trip across 638 miles in your RV for anywhere between $26 to $53.
While you’re getting ready to trek across the country, you should map out the most efficient route possible. By planning where you’re going to stop for gas, grab some chicken nuggets for the road, and camp for the night, you’ll avoid annoying detours that waste gas and you can make sure to stop at places that are right off the highway so that you can get right back on the road.
Alternative Fuels for Greener RV
If you’re really looking to make your road trips green, you could take a lesson from the Janssen’s. Their RV runs on recycled vegetable oil, which they obtain by asking different fast food restaurants to donate the commodity to their vehicle. The BioTrekker is an RV powered by biodiesel, a clean fuel made from refined vegetable oil. Willie Nelson recently began touring on buses running on biodiesel. This technology is a bit of an investment, but if you’re serious about making your road trips green, there’s no better way.