People will always have a passion for travel. With the internet you can get a peek in full color and sound at what’s out there, leaving a taste that can only be quenched by seeing those places yourself. Yet air travel is incredibly expensive, and the recession isn’t helping tourism at all. Many people now see RV travel as a less expensive yet comfortable way to tour a country. You’ve basically got a home on wheels at your disposal and a new state for your front yard every day. The knock on RV travel has always been an environmental one, as the waste you create and the massive amount of fuel you burn doesn’t exactly make it the greenest of ventures. RV manufacturers are acknowledging this disparity, and helping to update manufacture for the eco-conscious world of today. Here are five ways that RV travel is going green, which should help you enjoy this mode of vacationing with a clear conscience.
First of all, many manufacturers are coming up with smaller models. While the push in RVs and automotive construction overall in the past several decades was to always go bigger, we now know those huge vehicles are just incredibly unsustainable. If you’re going to tool around the country for several weeks or even several months, a larger vehicle will burn significantly more fuel, therefore massively expanding your carbon footprint. You’ll find a wide range of high-tech but physically smaller RVs now on the market and you can choose the one that’s just big enough for the number of people traveling. You might have to pack a bit lighter, but at least you aren’t ‘roughing it’ in a campsite!
Manufacturers have also been working on ways to make the engines more fuel efficient. The average RV diesel engine now offers in the neighborhood of 15 mpg, which is a nice upgrade from the industry norm of around 8 mpg. Some manufacturers such as Fleetwood and Winnebago are stepping it up another notch with the construction of hybrid RVs that utilize a mixture of diesel engines and battery power. City driving runs off the battery, and the diesel engine kicks in when you hit the highway. And the diesel engine will also charge the battery at the same time.
Alternative energy is also being built into a wide variety of models. Some of the most recent releases are known as ‘flex fuel’, which means they can utilize various types of fuels. The most commonly found is a diesel/biodiesel model that is much greener than a traditional vehicle. And manufacturers aren’t stopping there. Many of the larger brands are now incorporating solar and wind power in their models. Solar panels and retractable wind turbines on the roof take the place of gas generators to power the bathrooms, kitchens and electrical systems. Around 20% of the RVs on the market today use some mix of alternative energy generators to power the non-driving elements of the vehicle.
Construction of modern RVs is also much greener these days. Many manufacturers are utilizing a cutting edge composite to make up much of the vehicle body, similar to the material you’d find in a golf ball. It’s lighter, which means better gas mileage. In addition, newer RVs look much different than the older models. The front end is sleeker, with a European style designed to minimize wind resistance and create a more efficient ride.
Finally, RVs are being designed to minimize waste as much as possible. They now conserve water, reusing the dirty water from the sink and the shower in the toilet system. Once you’ve answered the easy questions for yourself, such as what is a class C RV vehicle, you can then start looking at further conservation techniques like stocking the kitchen with reusable dishware. And the electric system can be powered down in stages, to make sure you are using only the necessary amount of juice. The result is a travel style that actually has a smaller carbon footprint than if the same size family flew to their destination, grabbed a rental car and overnighted in a hotel.