Share the air through motor vehicle pollution reduction |

Share the air through motor vehicle pollution reduction

Garfield County Environmental Health Department
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

Editor’s note: In recognition of National Air Quality Awareness week, Garfield, Eagle, Mesa, and Pitkin County, the city of Aspen, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are working together to raise awareness about indoor and outdoor air quality issues, encouraging communities to “share the air.”

The single most important thing we can do to cut down air pollution is to reduce motor vehicle emissions, says Jeanette Whitcomb, environmental health program coordinator for the city of Aspen.

Up to 70 percent of air pollution comes from motor vehicle emissions. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, pollution from vehicles produces over half of the carbon monoxide, a third of nitrogen oxides, and almost a quarter of the hydrocarbons in our atmosphere.

Whitcomb said driving patterns and vehicle maintenance have a large influence on emissions levels and fuel economy. She recommends taking the following steps to clear the air:

• Don’t let your car idle for more than one minute. Idling burns more fuel than turning off the engine and restarting it. The best way to warm up a car or pickup truck is to drive it.

• Drive as little as possible. Link errands, carpool, and use public transportation.

• Try to avoid high speed driving and fast accelerations, which increase fuel usage and emissions.

• Fill up gas tanks in the morning or after 6 p.m., and avoid spilling fuel and topping off tanks.

• Park in the shade on hot days to minimize fuel evaporation.

• Keep your vehicle’s engine well tuned and tires properly inflated.

• Consider getting a set of low-rolling resistance tires to save gas mileage.

• Try not to carry around extra weight in the car.

“Our partnership realizes that communities within Garfield County and across this region have identified and are managing a variety of their own localized air quality issues. These include those associated with industrial development,” said Garfield County Environmental Health Director Jim Rada.

“Growth and development are projected to increase over the next several years, and as advocates for environmental health, we’re committed to ongoing air quality improvement. We have been focusing our efforts on air quality monitoring and related research, air quality improvement projects, and a variety of education and outreach initiatives such as this particular project.”

The ‘share the air’ community partners hope they can provide the community with ideas for simple steps that people can take to reduce air pollution in the region.

“Our goal as a department is to take a proactive approach to air quality, and a big part of that is to get each person in the region to be more proactive along with us. We can all play a role in preserving the elements of the environment that we value most,” said Rada.

For more information on how to improve the air in Western Colorado call Garfield County Public Health at 625-5200 or visit

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