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Long Drive Today? Try Our Thanksgiving Recipe For Green-Car Spotting Games

 
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Kids buckled up in the back seat

Kids buckled up in the back seat

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If you’re a parent preparing for that long-distance Thanksgiving trip with your kids, you’re probably dreading the fights, arguments and general boredom that accompanies a road trip. 

But while you’re probably packing enough electronic gadgetry and Disney films into your car to keep Best Buy stocked for the first few hours of the Black Friday sales, you may want to read on for our own green-themed road-trip game the whole family can enjoy. We’ve included three versions to cater for different ages and trip lengths. 

Game 1: spot a green car

Before you leave head to the U.S Department of Energy’s fuel economy website, and search for all cars that get a combined fuel economy greater than 40 mpg.  Print it off or bookmark it on your smartphone, so you can use it as reference on the journey. 

A little like the Punch Buggy game you might remember playing as a kid, the idea of the game is to see how many cars you can see of one type or in this case, a particular fuel economy or greater.  

2011 Honda Insight

2011 Honda Insight

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Unlike the original, you end up with a lot fewer bruises on your arm. 

For every high economy car they see, add one point. For every hybrid they see, add two points. For every electric car, add three. 

Younger players may find it too hard to spot the 18 different types of car we found on the fuelefficiency.org website, so you can always narrow it down to one particular type of car, like the 2012 Toyota Prius. 

Much like Punch Buggy, the winner is the person who sees the most cars that fit the game rules. 

Game 2: Green your ride

This game is a little more involved, and requires not only a keen eye, but some basic math skill. 

For this, you’ll need a piece of paper, as well as that same list of cars that get more than 40 mpg equivalent.

The aim of this game is to see who can reach the magic figure of 112 mpge first, the EPA city rating for the most efficient car on the market today, the 2012 Mitsubishi i. 

Starting at 26 mpg -- that’s the average fuel economy of all cars on the road today -- you add 2 mpg for every car you see that gets higher than 40 mpg combined. 

For every hybrid you see like the 2012 Honda Insight, Toyota Prius, or Ford Explorer Hybrid, add 4 mpg. For every plug-in car like the 2012 Nissan Leaf, 2012 Chevrolet Volt or 2011 Tesla Roadster add 6mpg. 

The winner is the person to reach 112 mpge first -- or the person with the highest score at the end of the trip. 

Game 3: CAFE rules

The most involved game of the three -- and one probably only older kids and adults can play --  those playing it get to deduct points from their opponent every time they see a car which gets less than 20 miles per gallon, and add points to their own score every time they see a car that gets more than 40 mpg. 

2010 Hummer H3

2010 Hummer H3

Enlarge Photo

To play this game fairly, you’ll need access to the fueleconomy.org website on a smartphone or laptop computer. 

Just like the second game, you’ll start at 26 mpg, and aim for 112 mpge. During the game, add points if you see a green car as you did in the second game, but if your opponent spots a car that gets less than 20 mpg, you lose 2 mpg of points. 

However, if your opponent incorrectly identifies a car, they’ll loose 2mpg from their score, so make sure you challenge any dubious identification!

Depending on where you live, you may want to adapt these games and rules to suit your local mix of cars, but we hope you have fun playing the games and wish you a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

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