COLORADO, USA — Simple Steps. Better Air. is a program of the Regional Air Quality Council, the leading planning agency in the Denver metro nine-county region.

The program focuses on the actions residents can take to create better air quality when ground-level ozone is a problem

Summer ozone comes from the emissions of gas-powered vehicles, certain household products and from lawn and garden equipment. The emissions increase on hot summer days and sun to form a pollutant.

Air quality along the Front Range and in Metro Denver does not currently meet federal standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Summer ozone is unhealthy to breathe, even for those who do not have respiratory illnesses or conditions. Last summer, there were more than 50 days when an Ozone Action Alert was necessary along the Front Range because air quality was poor.

The good news is that by taking a few simple steps, we all can play a part in improving the air we breathe in Colorado!

Skip Two Car Trips Each Week

Coloradans love the outdoors, so why not get out of your car? After all, the average car pumps out more than 8,000 pounds of CO2 each year.

You can start by replacing just two vehicle trips each week by walking, riding a bike, or taking public transportation.

Pack a lunch or walk to lunch and consider walking, jogging or riding a bike to the gym.

Combine Car Trips 

Sometimes you just need to drive. It happens. But by adopting a “while I’m out” approach you can have a dramatic impact on our air. Here are a few ideas about how to combine trips:

  • Pick one day each week to run errands. You can even create an “errand bag” (or have your kids decorate one for you) and fill it with reminders so you won’t forget anything while you’re out.
  • Have you used the OzoMeter yet? Use this handy tool to see the difference you make for our air when you combine errands and car trips.
  • Try to keep stops to 30 minutes or less. This makes your car run more efficiently = fewer emissions.

Combine Passengers on Trips 

Carpooling or vanpooling has plenty of advantages, including keeping the air clean. In addition to gas savings, carpooling and vanpooling prevents parking woes and allows access to Metro Denver’s HOV lanes. More time in the passenger seat means more time to catch up on your favorite podcast.

Take Public Transportation  

When it comes to easing traffic congestion, and improving air quality, public transit is a powerhouse. Whether you hop on board to get to work or use a train to get to downtown Denver for fun, you’ll be making a big difference.

Start with using public transit twice a week, instead of your car, and using public transportation to get to the game, concert or event downtown.

Energize Your Ride 

Electric vehicles are good for Colorado’s air. Thanks to incentives and the availability of charging stations around the Front Range, owning an electric vehicle is much more simple than it once was. Visit PlugIntothePresent.com to see how EVs are better for your wallet and Colorado.

Take Steps at Home 

Our air can benefit from small changes to your daily routine.

  • Use low VOC cleaners, paints and other products around the house.
  • Keep your lawn equipment well-maintained or switch to electric tools.
  • Mow after 5 p.m. on hot, summer days when ground-level ozone is at its peak.
  • If teleworking or telecommuting is an option for you, stay home and keep the car in the garage.

Challenge Yourself 

It’s the little things that keep Colorado’s air clean.

  • Don’t let your car idle for more than 30 seconds. Find more at EnginesOff.com.
  • Fill up your gas tank in the evening when it’s cool.
  • Stop refueling when the nozzle clicks the first time.
  • Keep your car well-tuned and make sure tires have the right amount of air pressure.

Learn more about Simple Steps Better Air at SimpleStepsBetterAir.org.

9NEWS is a partner of the Simple Steps. Better Air. campaign.

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