Travel and tourism is one of America's largest industries, responsible for more than $1 trillion in the U.S. economy. According to the U.S. Travel Association, one out of every nine jobs in the United States depends on travel and tourism. The U.S. travel and tourism industry is made up of airlines, bus and rental car companies, cruise lines, hotels and other lodging facilities, attractions, and a myriad of other diverse travel and tourism-related businesses. As a consequence, this industry consumes enormous amounts of energy, and many travelers who understand this have twinges of guilt when traveling. However, there are ways mitigate or lessen the environmental impact of travel. 

If renting vehicle ask for a flex fuel vehicle and fill up with E-85 ethanol. The Clean Cities Station Locator, both the online and mobile versions, can help locate the nearest ethanol stations. Or better yet, rent an electric vehicle. More and more hotels and attractions are catering to those driving electric vehicles by offering charging stations and premiere parking spaces. And the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of Transportation are working together with state and local authorities to place more and more charging stations along all roads, not just well-traveled interstates.  

If flying, consider purchasing carbon offsets to help reduce the negative impacts of airplane emissions.  Even better, seek an airline and route that uses bio-based sustainable aviation fuel. 

When searching for hotels, try to find a hotel that is LEED certified and has green lodging practices. Green lodging and green travel programs are popping up everywhere and offer such things as: 

  • Optional Linen Service
  • Recycling
  • Water Conservation
  • Organic, Farm to Table Restaurants