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Archive for May 13th, 2007

American Idle

Summer is here and as the weeks progress, we’ll be sure to encounter smog alerts, as we now see more of those, each year, in our metropolitan area. In the winter, snow emergencies dictate some public policies, and perhaps we should take a similar approach during our smog alerts.

Imagine if you will, that when the city issues as smog emergency, businesses would be required to shut down all drive-thru services. The banks, restaurants and pharmacies that offer such services would remain open, of course, but would be required to temporarily eliminate the lines of idling cars.

A temporary elimination of such services would also remind our population that there is a serious threat taking place, and like the moment of silence during a somber event, help us understand the gravity of our actions. Idling cars burn just under a gallon of gas per hour, so by going nowhere, we’re adding to our dependency. There’s a lesson in economics here, as well.

We could ban gas powered lawn mowers and BBQ’s too during these alerts, too, I suppose. It might be unwise, however, to inconvenience the public for fear of inflicting damage to our cultural psyche. Demonstrating that quality of life can be maintained by simply walking into the bank, or waiting inside for that seven-layer burrito, is likely less dreadful to the huddled masses.

Wait… isn’t driving banned during Level 3 snow emergencies?

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