Only one thing is better than driving on a Mississippi road trip, and that is being a passenger on a Mississippi road trip. I am generally the chauffeur for our two-person family, but someday my 3-year-old son will be old enough to drive me while I kick back, crank up the mix CD and watch the road unfolding ahead.
I am at peace amid the vast expanses of patchwork-green farmland on the back roads of Holmes County. I breathe more easily in the forested tunnel of the Natchez Trace. I silently curse the interstate mowers, who try to tame the gorgeous long grasses and wildflowers along our highways. My soul soars as I drive past live oak trees and windswept, grassy dunes on the coastal roads.
But nothing spoils my joy in the natural beauty of our state faster than the need to stop at a gas station for more fuel, vaguely sanitary restrooms and disposable snacks whose wrapping inevitably winds up trashing the inside of your vehicle, or worse—the side of the road.
So what is the solution? If you rent a more fuel-efficient vehicle than your own for your road trip, then you don't have to stop as often for gas. Pack light, and make sure that the tires are properly inflated to get the best gas mileage. Believe it or not, you also get better mileage when you roll up your windows and crank up the air conditioning.
Pack a cooler with healthy snacks, and carry your own reusable water bottle or coffee thermos wherever you go. If you must buy a can of soda or the like, then be sure to bring a bag with you to store recyclable items until you get back home to your curbside recycling bin. If you need sustenance on the road, seek out roadside farm stands, natural food stores, farmers markets and local, family-owned businesses when at all possible. Oh, and don't forget to grab your DEET-free sunscreen on your way out the door.
Top 3 Most Fuel- Efficient Cars 2012:
Nissan Leaf ($35,200-37,250): City MPGe: 86 Highway MPGe: 118
Chevrolet Volt ($39,145): City MPGe: 45 Highway MPGe: 76
Toyota Prius Four ($23,015-39,525): City MPG: 32 Highway MPG: 55
Honda Insight ($18,500 - $23,690): City MPG: 29 Highway MPG: 45