You might think that the only eco-friendly way to travel is by bicycle or the power of your own two feet. But thanks to the emergence of alternative fuels and electric power, it is now a lot easier for greenies to get around town without increasing their carbon footprint. But when it comes to eco-friendly alternatives to driving vehicles powered by petroleum products, should you opt for an automobile or a motorcycle? Here’s the lowdown on the mode of transportation that will get you from here to there while doing the least harm to the environment.
Let’s start by looking at motorcycles. Where gas-powered engines are concerned, this is probably your best option. For the same amount of fuel, a smaller, lighter motorcycle will go a lot farther than a car. This means you’re virtually burning less fuel to go the same distance, resulting in fewer greenhouse gas emissions. So in this arena, a motorcycle is the clear winner. But what if you have a family that needs to be carted around, not to mention all of their gear? Or what if you don’t feel safe making your commute to work on the freeway with nothing more than a helmet to protect you? You may simply prefer a car over a motorcycle, even though the bike gets better mileage.
Luckily, there are a lot of options. Alternative-fuel vehicles are one choice. The old associations with diesel fuel (like the black exhaust billowing out of big rigs) no longer hold with cleaner emissions allowing diesel to give gasoline a run for its money. These days, purchasing a car that runs on diesel fuel could mean that you nearly double your mileage. Ethanol and other biofuels are also an option, although a lack of support for these types of fuel means that refill stations can be hard to find (although there is an app for that).
Hybrid cars are another route you could go, and the new crop of plug-in hybrids have a lot to offer drivers looking to reduce their carbon footprint (or tire track). The older breed offered electric power is based on the energy generated by stopping, which meant the vehicles still had to use the gas-powered components quite a bit. With the plug-in version, the batteries can be powered up via charging station, giving you up to forty miles of gas-free power, which is a huge improvement.
Of course, even this can’t compare to fully electric vehicles, which come with the promise of zero emissions. And interestingly, there are a whole new crop of electric-powered motorcycles coming onto the market, as well. This means that you can now go even more eco-friendly with your transportation tastes by purchasing either a family or solo vehicle that runs entirely without emissions. While throwing on your leather chaps, your helmet, and your best Tourmaster jacket to take the bike out on the open road is probably slightly greener (simply because it takes less electricity to become fully charged and travels farther), you can still feel good about driving an electric car and cutting back on exhaust pollution.