National Dump the Pump Day: The meaning of it all

SMOG_-_NARA_-_542581.tif[1]If you didn’t know before, you certainly know now today (June 20th) is National Dump the Pump Day.

As I see it, National Dump the Pump Day is as much about not driving the car as it is about refraining from buying gas today. Maybe even more.

Observing this event by ditching the car and giving public transit a try, if even for a day, may allow those doing such to: save money, avoid a commute headache, reduce one’s environmental footprint, or perhaps one, more or all of the above. In fact, reasons for taking part could be as many as 250 million (the estimated number of motor vehicles operating in the U.S.) or as few as one. In this sense, think of the slogan “Just Do It!”

In taking part in National Dump the Pump Day the premise is simple: Park the car (for a day, at least) and take public transit instead.

Public transit use saves dollars, makes sense

“According to the latest APTA Transit Savings Report, households can save nearly $9,800 per year when they dump the pump and take public transit instead,” the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) pointed out in the release: “8th National Dump the Pump Day is Today!”

“Public transportation also has important environmental and energy benefits for communities and for the country. Every year U.S. public transportation use saves 37 million metric tons of carbon emissions and 4.2 billion gallons of gasoline.”

DSCN4326 (340x255)Besides using public transit for commuting, making other types of trips using such like for leisure (sightseeing), shopping, dining, medical appointments (doctor, dentist and hospital visits) purposes to name several, I’m thinking even greater energy and environmental savings. If thinking of making the switch but haven’t yet done so, events like National Dump the Pump Day could provide just the impetus to make that happen.

Something else to consider.

In my post: “An annual ‘National Healthy Air Awareness Day’? Nothing to lose save pollution,” I made more than casual reference to Carmageddon and Carmageddon II, and July 15, 2011 and September 29, 2012, respectively, marked the first days of the corresponding weekends when a 10-mile Sepulveda Pass section of Interstate 405 in southern California was closed to traffic. For safety reasons, the closures were necessary because of demolition of a portion of the Mulholland Drive overpass situated overhead of the 405. In any event, when the required overhead bridge demolition work was completed, the 405 was again reopened to traffic.

At any rate, it was determined that as a result of that 10-mile section of roadway being closed over the two weekends in question, and “Because traffic dipped all over southern California that [July 15-17] weekend, air quality also improved 75 percent in parts of West Los Angeles and Santa Monica, and an average of 25 percent regionally – from Ventura to Yucaipa and Long Beach to Santa Clarita,” I pointed out, citing information from “‘Carmaheaven’: Closure of 405 in 2011 improved air quality up to 83 percent,” a University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) news release.

Now imagine the implications if just 10 percent of those who regularly drive through Sepulveda Pass on the 405 rode public transportation instead. Congestion through that pass could be eased quite a bit I’m sure. The air gets relief too.

What I’m talking about

“From the East Coast to the West Coast, from the South to the Midwest and the North, more than 100 public transit systems and businesses in the United States are participating in the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day,” emphasized the APTA. “Sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), this national public awareness day encourages people to save money by parking the car and using public transportation instead.”

Those making the switch can take heart in knowing that they are helping the air too.

Image at top: U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

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