Thursday, August 20, 2009
Hello again readers!
The other day I received a comment from a reader regarding the environmental effects of operating a classic motorhome. Well, I expect that right now is a good time to let it be known how we balance our day-to-day karma whilst on the road.
Let's start at the beginning. I am a motorhome person having purchased my first rig in 1973. When Weng and I first married we generally took an economy car on our road trips (excepting our honeymoon when we took an old Caddie). Later when the children arrived we began taking to the highway in classic old motorhomes. We have a tradition - just like the president of the usa having any aircraft he flies in being called air force one - any vehicle we travel in becomes 'The Mugwomp'.
Now, lets consider the facts surrounding environmental concerns:
We have been fortunate enough to have coaches that are upper end, well constructed, very low miles with decent maintaince. Most were bought by middle class americans in the 60's and 70's - cared for and taken out on national holidays. Most of the original owners have passed on now and most of these monsters have been trashed. However there are still a few around. Many have been converted to cabins. Others have really poor people living in them. The ones on the road today are technical jewels of the Atomic Age.
Transportation. I dont know anyone who drives a motorhome to work personally. I have met dozens of people living in them full time. All ages, all incomes. All sorts of places.
We all have a carbon footprint and a lot of it is hidden. Every month our little family is using power and consuming products that consume power. Im not sure what the equivalent gallons of gasoline it would take to power the average household in electricity, natural gas, delivery of water and the like but I do know that if you are not home and not using utilities then they dont cost a lot. If you are traveling in a vehicle that you are living in while you are not home in, then naturally home costs/carbon use offsets part of the fuel consumed in transportation.
Actual costs of transporting you and your stuff. This one is very interesting. Consider this -
You and your little family drive an economy car that gets 30 mpg. Total weight is maybe 2600 lbs. Doing the math that breaks down to using about 1 oz. of gasoline to move apx 650 lbs one mile.
Now you and your little family are getting 10 mpg but you are towing a car and your total moving weight is, say, 16,000 pounds. Doing the math that breaks down to to using about 1 oz. of gasoline to move apx 1,250 pounds the same mile. That is twice as efficient!!
Additionally when you are living in a motorhome you are not leaving a decent sized carbon footprint every night at a motel or eating as often in a restaurant. These things lead to additional offsets against your fuel use.
And there is more!! NO PEE STOPS WITH 3 SMALL CHILDREN!! Just think - children sleeping when tired in the bedroom. Hot coffee while driving. Home cooked meals whilst parked in some beautiful location. Ahab our trusty Rat Terrier travels fantastic and is a great guard dog. Not to mention hot showers, wi-fi, or the fact that the fuel used to move the motorhome also charges the batteries that run the lights, power the music machine, run the laptops and, of course, the movie screen - all long after the motor is shut off!!
Granted, using gas is still using gas and it is really part of the peril facing our planet today. I wish there was another way available but we dont abuse this gift of big time mobility. We tow our 1983 Toyota 4wd Station Wagon behind us to get around when we are docked somewhere. Fully loaded it gets 35 mpg.
Posted by Aticama at 9:10 PM