From anywhere in SoCal you’re only about five hours, or less, away from Las Vegas. Yet finding an eco-friendly way to get there can easily make you feel like you’re trying to get to the other side of the ocean instead.
According to the AAA Trip Calculator, even one of the more fuel efficient cars, such as a Corolla, can use about $100 worth of gas getting you to The Strip. So, what are your green options? Well, there aren't a whole lot, but there are a few.
1) Rent a Hybrid: There aren't many out there to rent, but if you plan in advance you might be able to find a Prius, or something similar. This could raise your MPG to 40 (up from the 30 MPG average that a Corolla would give you), and make the trip a bit more eco-friendly.
2) Carpool: If you’re sharing a car (hybrid or not), then this reduces the carbon footprint for each of the passengers in turn. True you’re still using the same amount of gas, but you’re sharing that overall with everyone in the car, thus spreading out the footprint a bit. Example: four people in a car using three tanks worth of gas is much better than, two cars with two passengers each, using 6 tanks worth of gas for the same trip.
3) Take the Bus: Taking a train from SoCal to Vegas isn’t really an option yet, but there are several companies that have popped up since the recession, offering express trips to Vegas. Which one you choose will depend on several factors, not the least of which is the convenience of departure location.
-The Megabus offers two departure locations, L.A. and Riverside, which will get you to Vegas. This is much more convenient for those of us in the I.E. but they do offer fewer departure times than some of their competitors. You’re generally looking at either morning or evening as your only options. However, the best feature of the MegaBus is its price, because if booked early enough you might get your ticket for as little as a $1.
-The other bus companies mainly leave from L.A., but do have more departure and arrival times than the Megabus. However, the prices are usually the same, regardless of when you buy a ticket. A plus for last minute bookings perhaps, but still a bit far for Inland residents. Why back up, before heading forward after all.
3) Rent a Van/Bus: The final option is much more expensive, but offers the best of both options 2 and 3. There are businesses that rent out, or charter, a variety of large party vehicles. Now remember it will cost a pretty penny, but you still get the benefit of the smaller carbon footprint, while maintaining the convenience of leaving whenever you want. Obviously this one only works well with large groups, but if you’re traveling with 6 or more, then this might be the way to go.
However you get there, remember that arriving is only the first part of the eco-challenge. When it comes to the environment, what happens in Vegas, won’t necessarily stay in Vegas. So, don’t forget that it’s still important to follow through with your normal green routine. Turn off the lights when you leave a room, make sure to recycle when you can, and conserve when possible. Having fun, can still be eco-friendly, even in Sin City! Enjoy the trip everyone.