Drive-thru windows at fast-food restaurants, banks and other businesses have long represented the convenience for which American businesses are renowned. But the ease of idling in a vehicle while waiting for your order is now associated with another development: climate change.
As a result, some communities across the U.S. are banning drive-thrus, citing the additional carbon emissions that are released. Minneapolis this summer banned construction of new drive-thrus, while officials in Long Beach, California, have imposed a six-month ban on new drive-thrus while they study the issue. Similar ordinances restricting or prohibiting fast-food windows have also been adopted in communities including Creve Coeur, Missouri; Fair Haven, New Jersey; and Orchard Park, New York.
Minneapolis cited air pollution from idling vehicles as a major factor for the ban on drive-thrus, along with litter, noise and the potential of vehicles blocking sidewalks, which can increase the risk of a pedestrian accident. The order is part of the city's long-term plan, called Minneapolis 2040, which includes a goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.