How to Get There
Coming to Hawaii, or going interisland, it’s hard to get a leg up on offsetting the tourism industry’s carbon emissions, not least because you have to hop into a 200-ton, 36,000-gallon gas-guzzling flying machine. But there’s green in the sky and, once you’re here, on the road.
Sustainable air travel?
It might be weird to consider it, but an airplane’s footprint is quite large. One round-trip flight from New York to San Francisco is the equivalent to 2 or 3 tons of carbon dioxide per person. Air travel makes up 5 percent of the world’s carbon emissions. Alaska Airlines reduces its emissions by investing in aerodynamic improvements and technologies, such as using preconditioned air (PCA). Since 2004, Alaska Airlines says, it has reduced its carbon footprint by more than 30 percent by implementing several ideas: most logically, flying the shortest route between two points. It also uses PCA units that allow flight crews to shut off aircraft auxiliary engines while at terminal gates, and huff on an airport’s cool and hot air by plugging into its supply. Alaska Airlines has reduced the overall weight of its planes by using lighter catering carts, boarding less water and using electronic tablets instead of paper pilot manuals. Alaska Airlines is also into in-flight recycling and biodegradable products, and has successfully completed flights using biofuel.
Reserving one of owner Justin McNaughton’s clean energy vehicles or electric vehicles (EV) by the hour not only ensures that you’re driving an enviro-friendly motor, but that you’re also restricting your use of the car (selections vary among four Nissan Leafs, a Ford Fiesta and an Escape Hybrid, and a Mitsubishi Outlander on Oahu) to what you need. Each rental comes equipped with a full tank or charge, so even in a full day’s use, you most likely won’t have to touch a gas nozzle. Reserve online and check in at one of GreenCar’s kiosks (stationed within several Waikiki hotels between the Waikiki Parc and the DoubleTree Hilton), and a valet will bring it to you.
EcoCab is Hawaii’s first all-Hyundai Sonata hybrid cab service. Using GPS devices, each car is updated as frequently as possible for traffic conditions to get to each location efficiently. Additionally, each car is a Wi-Fi hotspot, and there is a Samsung Galaxy tablet in the back seat. Only available on Oahu.
Like GreenCar Hawaii, this membership-based car-sharing service allows members to reserve cars for limited use, usually ranging from a minimum of one hour to as many as 24 hours or more. A maximum mileage is included, with a nominal fee for additional mileage. Simply reserve a car, go to its designated parking stall, put your membership card against the sensor and the door unlocks. Find the key in the glove box and you’re good to go.
Ride sharing not only inherently reduces emissions by carpooling, but because there are fewer cars on the road, traffic isn’t (quite) as bad as it might be otherwise. The State Department of Transporation offers a carpooling program, and you can find carpool matching alternatives through the Leeward Oahu Transportation Management Association (LOTMA) and other organizations. It’s notable that Vanpool Hawaii was rebranded into vRide last year.
Park and Plug
Better Place Hawaii has increased its number of EV charge outlets to more than 150 since we reported on the fuel alternative company in last year’s Green Travel issue. Now, you can plug your electric vehicle into spots on the Big Island, Maui, Kauai and Oahu.
Although it’s been an overstuffed ride on the bus during rush hour lately, the City is slowly reinstating some routes. Regardless, TheBus remains one of the most convenient ways to get around Oahu. For people staying in Waikiki, the terminals nearby at Ala Moana Shopping Center will get you virtually anywhere you need to go on the island. TheBus’s online service is also a huge help; just log onto [hea.thebus.org] on your phone (or download the DaBus app), type in the bus stop ID number (usually located on the bus stop sign, unless someone ripped it off), and you’ll see a generally accurate rundown of the next buses, most equipped with a GPS.