More people are choosing to travel each year—both domestically and internationally. But an increase in tourism has come with an awareness of some of the pitfalls of the industry: negative impacts on local communities, overtourism, the disintegration of local cultures, and the depletion of the environment. As more individuals become aware of the problems associated with the travel industry — particularly those associated with the environment — there’s an increased interest in discovering ways to minimize or eliminate our carbon footprint. The rise of electric vehicles has come at an opportune time and rates of adoption have increased as both commuters and weekend adventurers seek to be a part of the solution.
But it’s not all that simple. There are still plenty of misconceptions about electric cars: that charging is inconvenient, that electric cars have limited range that they can travel, that the associated costs outweigh the gains, and that there is little diversity or selection in the marketplace. On a recent trip throughout the Northeastern United States, I discovered that these fears are unfounded and that traveling by electric vehicle is both an enjoyable experience and also very convenient.
Much of the current conversation around sustainable travel stresses the need to move away from conventional modes of transportation: the carbon emissions of plane travel are under much scrutiny, and some consider a car carrying one or two people to be inefficient or excessive. Emphasis is rightly being put on electric trains, buses, and the benefits of using bicycles when possible, but these are not available in all countries and are especially sparse outside of major urban areas. When travelers want to get off the beaten path, the electric car presents a unique and under-appreciated opportunity to explore in a more sustainable way.
Over the course of four days, I made my way from New York City to the Catskills, then worked my way through Massachusetts, over to New Hampshire, into Vermont, through Connecticut, and back to New York City. I used applications on my phone to help locate charging stations and handle payment (in plenty of cases, I was able to charge for free).
To those who think that charging stations aren’t abundant, I hear you. They don’t always stand out or are sometimes tucked away in a parking garage. But through this experience, the blue car effect took shape: now that my brain was aware that this lifestyle was possible, I started to notice charging stations and other electric vehicles everywhere. With so much of the current climate conversation urging the need for further innovation, this just goes to show the need for raising awareness of how far we’ve come already and the opportunities we could all be taking now. I was easily able to locate charging stations in or near a plethora of different kinds of businesses: from hotels and B&B’s to restaurants, state parks, breweries, and shops.
In today’s travel landscape, there is an increasing subset of the population that aims to explore with purpose. At Passion Passport, we count ourselves as part of that movement, hoping to inform travelers about how they can positively impact the places they visit, how they can travel creatively, how they can lean into their passions, and how they can travel sustainably. These travelers are looking to make smarter decisions at every step of the travel process: not just in terms of how they arrive at their destination, but also in terms of where they choose to stay, which activities they participate in, which businesses they support, and the types of trips they prioritize in the first place. Travel by electric car is the perfect opportunity to show travelers that they need not be limited in their experiences just because they want to protect the environment; all of the same roads can be open to them as before, making use of technology that’s already out there.
More travelers are offsetting their carbon emissions than ever before. More products are being made from recycled materials. More businesses are taking this approach into their supply chain management. This has huge carry-on effects: when symbiotic relationships exist between regulatory entities, businesses, and travelers, everyone wins… especially the environment.
This article is a sponsored post from Destination Electric. To find out more information on electric vehicles, visit Drive Change. Drive Electric.
In which ways have you tried to offset your carbon footprint while traveling?
Words and images by Zach Houghton.