In what some researchers have dubbed "The Starbucks Effect," it seems that people’s morning coffee-buying habits have added miles onto morning commutes.
It’s an interesting piece of social-science detective work, actually. Researcher Nancy McGurkin analyzed federal transportation data, and found that between 1995 and 2001, many people added errands to their morning commute. And unlike afternoon errands—typically done by women—many of the new morning errands were being done by men. From the Washington Post:
A closer look showed that…while younger men were sharing in more household-related errands such as ferrying children, older men were devoting many of their morning trips to coffee and such portable breakfast food as bagels.
Of course, this is about much more than Starbucks: there are lots of other places that people can get take-out breakfast foods. But it is, perhaps, a sign that we are doing much more of our living inside our cars, and less inside our homes.