Study Shows RV Vacations Leave Smaller Carbon
Footprint than Fly/Drive/Hotel Vacations
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RV vacations are more environmentally friendly than fly/drive/hotel
vacations, according to a new study comparing total carbon dioxide (CO2)
emissions or carbon footprints.
PKF Consulting, an internationally recognized consulting firm with
expertise in travel and tourism, found that families of four taking RV
vacations generate less CO2 than families traveling on a plane, renting
a car and staying in a hotel.
PKF, headquartered in Alexandria, Va., analyzed the CO2 emissions (in
tons) of vacations varying in length from three, seven, 10 and 14 days
to destinations such as Orlando, Fla.; New Orleans, La.; and Napa,
Calif. The RV vacations analyzed included car/folding camping
trailer; SUV/travel trailer; Type C motorhome; and Type A motorhome
Using the carbon calculator methodology developed by Conservation
International, an organization that promotes biodiversity conservation,
PKF found that RV vacations, in all cases, had a softer environmental
impact than the typical airline/rental car/hotel
For example, if the family of four was taking a 10-day trip from
Minneapolis, Minn., to Branson, Mo., the study showed that a
fly/drive/hotel vacation creates 1.81 more tons of carbon emissions than
a vacation using a car/folding camping trailer; 1.35 more tons than an
SUV/travel trailer trip; 0.92 more tons than a Type C motorhome trip;
and 1.26 more tons than a vacation by Type A motorhome (diesel).
In calculating the CO2 emissions, RV miles per gallon estimated to be
were 12.5 mpg for a Type A motorhome (diesel) and 10 mpg for a Type C
motorhome, based on industry averages supplied by RV
manufacturers. PKF used a conversion rate of 1.18 road miles to
1.00 airline mile in its calculations. To determine CO2 impact of the
folding camping trailer and lightweight travel trailer, PKF added one
additional gallon of fuel per 100 miles traveled per 1,000 pounds. PKF
used a weight of 2,000 pounds for the folding camping trailer and 4,000
pounds for the lightweight travel trailer.
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