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Reader asks columnist: What's the greenest way to wash a car?

October 29, 2013
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A recent question sent into Grist, an environmental news and advice publication out of the state of Washington, asked:

I’d like to see your take on school fundraiser car washes. I live in Arizona and I cringe each time I pass one, as they seem so environmentally unsound.

Umbra Fisk, a research analyst for Grist, answered that a better option is for a fundraising group to team up with a commercial carwash.

“Simply relocating the fundraiser to a commercial car wash will save buckets of water," wrote Fisk. "Self-service car washes are your best bet, using just12 gallons of water per vehicle in desert regions like yours; conveyer-belt and automatic establishments use more (44 gallons and 72.5 gallons, respectively), but you’re still beating the hand wash. Commercial joints also may offer low-flow spray nozzles and shut-off valves, saving up to 70 gallons per scrub."

And, while Fisk did say using waterless carwash products is okay, she did denounce parking lot carwashes in general, in which non-eco-friendly measures are taken.

Do you agree with Fisk? Comment below to let us know your thoughts.

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