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The Golden Arches and Energy Policy

This morning CNBC reported that 65% of McDonalds’ sales are derived from their drive-thru business. As long as we have drive-thrus in this country we can pretty much forget about any real serious energy policy. We are digging deeper offshore oil wells and importing oil from unfriendly nations such as Venezuela so that we can stuff ourselves with unhealthy food, all while we burn oil as our cars are idling.

The Sierra Club estimates that Americans burn about 50 million gallons of gas per year waiting for food in the drive-thru queue. At $2.50/gallon of gas Americans are spending $125,000,000.00 per year sitting in the drive thru queue. I’m sure we can find a better place to put our money.

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  1. [...] network: Reimagine an Urban Paradise wonders why so many trucks park on the sidewalk in Pittsburgh. Transit Miami writes about how McDonald’s — and its staggering dependence on drive-throughs — [...]

  2. Benji Power says:

    I agree that car idling in drive-thru fast food lanes and bank lanes is horrible. This worksheet calculates how much gas you’re wasting However, the worksheet also refers to technologies that heavy trucks are using to reduce their consumption of fuel/ emissions by using alternative sources of energy during an idle.

    The demand for drive-thru is strong, and it will be difficult to fight that demand. It is easier, in the short-term, to find innovative ways to reduce vehicle emissions while idling. So, I would like to see more discussion about how cars can have idle reduction technologies installed ( or maybe drive-thru lanes could provide vehicles with this technology.

    The big benefit here is that if people really demand drive-thru more, than smaller fast-food restaurants could be built with less inside seating, and much less parking could be required. So we can actually work to play this huge 65% negative into a positive by reducing store footprints perhaps by 65%.

  3. Jack says:

    What you global warming extremists want to take away drive-thru too, based on voodoo science practiced by climategate scientists?

    People now are aware global warming is a scam to push for cap and trade and tax people to death.

    CO2 is plant food and lags temperature. Temperature controls the rise and fall of CO2.

    Medieval Warm Period was warmer than today.

  4. Felipe Azenha says:

    Read my post again. Did I mention anything about global warming? I’m talking about energy conservation. While you sit at the queue in the drive-thru you are linning the pockets of dictators. That’s a fact. Doesn’t sound like you know jack, Jack.

  5. Felipe Azenha says:

    Very cool Benji. I like the idea of idle reduction.
    I’m also inclined to believe that most fast food chains probably overbuild the sq/ft of their restaurants and parking.
    You’re right, drive-thru demand is strong, and probably won’t go away as long as energy prices remain low. This will change in my lifetime. As energy prices increase, drive-thrus will eventually go the way of the dinosaurs.

  6. Grayson Peddie says:

    No seating and no parking lots at fast food restaurants? Heh… I do take a bus or walk to any of those restaurants if I feel like it.

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