In a fast-paced world where time and convenience are coveted commodities, the drive-thru has become a staple of many people’s lives. Unfortunately, this convenience has made all of us contributors to the pollutant called ground-level ozone, often called “bad ozone.” This pollutant forms at ground level when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) chemically react under the influence of heat and sunlight. The sources of the NOx and VOCs are motor vehicles, industrial operations such as paint shops, manufacturing, and energy production. As owners and operators of motor vehicles, we have the opportunity to reduce these emissions simply by being conscientious of how often our cars are running. By skipping the drive-thru and walking into businesses, we can all take the first steps – literally – to cleaner air.
- At the bank or ATM — Park your car and walk into the bank the next time you need to deposit a check. With most banking systems entirely online and the average person using the ATM for most transactions, we rarely see the people with whom we entrust our money. Get to know your bank’s employees by conducting transactions inside and avoid the awkward hanging-out-the-window-craning-your-neck-to-see-the-screen ATM experience.
- At the coffee shop — Is your standard coffee order a grande latte with soy milk, one pump of sugar free vanilla syrup, two pumps of sugar free caramel syrup, cinnamon sprinkled on top, with an extra shot of espresso? That’s a mouthful to order in the drive-thru line before you’ve had your morning dose of caffeine. Plus, who wants to wait in a long drive-thru line when you can just park, go inside, and be greeted by a chipper barista who’s been up since 4 a.m., sure to put you in the mood to take on the day.
- At fast food restaurants — Similar to the coffee shop, ordering inside a fast food restaurant is often faster than waiting in a long drive-thru line. Additionally, by going inside, you have the opportunity to view the menu at your leisure without the pressure of a line of cars waiting behind you to place your order. And while it won’t burn off all the calories in that order of fries, the extra steps to and from your car will at least be a start!
- At the dry cleaner — Dry cleaners are doing their part to keep air pollution at a minimum by adhering to practices that minimize their emissions. Join their efforts by avoiding the drive-thru. In doing so, you’ll not only enjoy a quick walk, but you can also work on strengthening your biceps by carrying your clothes to and from the car.
- At the pharmacy — While many believe the drive-thru window of the pharmacy is convenient, it can also be intrusive. Instead of having the pharmacist explain confidential dosing information and side effects for everyone to hear via the loud speaker, go inside for your prescription. You will have more privacy and the ability to ask necessary questions without feeling like everyone is listening. Before you leave for the pharmacy, make a list of items that you need that you can purchase there, and combine your errands into one stop. Save gas and time, while reducing emissions from your car.
While it would be incredible for everyone to always forego the drive-thru for walking inside, it’s sometimes unavoidable: you’re pressed for time, you have a sleeping baby in the back seat, you brought your dog with you and can’t leave him in the car because it’s 100 degrees outside. Just do what you can. Avoiding the drive-thru when possible is still impactful in helping to reduce the pollution your car emits. Learn about other easy, impactful ways to make the commitment to improve the quality of our air at www.CleanAirMakeMore.com.