We probably don’t have to tell you about the global impact of automobile emissions, and their contribution to the accumulation of greenhouse gases and the like, right? Nor do we have to tell you that greater than 95% of participants take automobiles (whether that’s a car, truck, or RV) to the playa, because other viable options are significantly limited. And some folks fly into the Black Rock City airport, which method has its own emissions issues, of course.

While we can’t tell you to buy an electric or hybrid vehicle, we can certainly suggest it. And we’re not gonna ask you to ride your bike or walk to the playa.

Our goal here is to give you some ideas about how to rethink and reduce your transportation impact getting to and from, and around on the playa. Hopefully these are some ideas you can take with you back into the default world, too.

Tips and Hints

Here are some tips for reducing your environmental impact as you get to, from and around the playa.

  1. Rideshare!

    Visit our rideshare board to offer or ask for a ride to or from the playa. Lots of people use it, and it totally works.

  2. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game…

    If you’re bringing a lot of stuff (like, major amounts of stuff) to the playa, consider truck-, flat-bed-, semi-, or van-pooling with others who are doing the same. You can consolidate your loads, and bring a lot more to and from the playa, while expending a lot less gas, emissions and money. Meet up with folks on the eplaya or on the rideshare board, or through your local regional contact.

  3. One word. “Hybrids”

    Consider buying or renting an electric or hybrid car (we did say we could suggest it).

  4. Tour de Playa

    People have ridden (and still ride) their bikes to the playa. It’s by no means for the faint of heart, riding in that harsh environment on a nasty dangerous road, but we do know brave souls who do it, bless their hearts.

  5. Here comes the sun

    If you’re doing an art car (that only has to hit speeds of 5mph, remember), consider converting it to use solar power.

  6. It’s people.

    And of course, when you’re getting around the playa, bike bike bike. Or walk.

  7. Don’t be a drip.

    If you drive your car to the playa, when you’ve parked it, secure a piece of cardboard, a tarp or something else that will catch any errant oil drips, which are toxic to the environment (obviously), and can seep into the groundwater (Yes, there’s water under there. The playa often becomes a lake during the winter).

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can I rideshare or carpool to the playa? Why yes you can. Visit our rideshare board to post a ride to offer, or needed.
  2. I’m flying into Reno from out of town. How do I get to the playa from there? People have been crazy enough to take cabs from the Reno Airport. If you do that, at least find other Burners lurking around the airport to share the ride. Many people rent cars. You can also jump on the rideshare board to post a ride needed from the Reno airport on the day you land. It works! You can also do the same for getting back to the airport after the event, but if you don’t meet at least a dozen people during the event who are heading to Reno and are willing to take you along, you weren’t paying attention. We also operate a Burner Express bus service from Reno.
  3. Are there buses that go to the playa? The last we checked, MUNI doesn’t have a bus line that goes out to the playa. You should check into our Burner Express bus service from Reno and San Francisco.
  4. What is the deal with biodiesel? Biodiesel is a fuel for engines that’s made without petroleum (you know, that nasty black oil that everyone’s always fighting over), so it burns “clean”, with little or none of the smoggy, smelly emissions we’re used to. It’s generally made from vegetable oil or animal fat, like leftover French fry oil, or soy oil. It’s a cheap, clean-burning alternative to fossil fuels that can be used in any diesel engine. Traditional gasoline engines cannot be converted to run on biodiesel — gas engines are physically and chemically different from diesel engines. However, diesel engines (like on older German cars or many trucks) can easily use biodiesel or biodiesel blends, sometimes without any work at all. Visit Greasecar or Golden Fuel Systems to learn about DIY kits (around $600) for converting your car to biodiesel. More and more filling stations are providing biodiesel, as it becomes more popular.
  5. I ride my bike on playa. I’m cool, right? Well, yes and no. Bikes are by far the transportation of choice on the playa, but at the end of the event, way too many people abandon their bikes, which is just thoughtlessly wasteful. It means you have to buy another playa bike for the next year, and you’re needlessly adding more waste to the landfill. Bring your bike to the playa, take care of it, and bring it back home with you, then fix it up so you can bring it again next year. Then yes, you’re cool.

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