Pollution coming from car

4 Ways to Contribute Less to Orem’s Inversion

Most people love the spring weather in Utah Valley. As the gloom of winter fades and welcome summer showers clean the air, blossoms sprout on our favorite trees and we all get outside to our favorite haunts and hikes more often.

However, the spring weather can be marred by an unwelcome inversion layer that seems to get worse every year. Once we’ve gone a week without a storm, you can see a sickly haze settle over the valley. While inversion isn’t yet as bad in Orem as it is up in Salt Lake, it’s still severe enough to cause health risks and major irritation. But the good news is that there are things each of us can do to greatly reduce our contribution to bad air. If everyone makes a resolution to adopt these common-sense rules, we’ll all start to breathe a little easier.

1: Don’t Idle

Did you know that an idling car produces more emissions than a running car does? It seems counterintuitive, since your car’s engine works harder while you drive than it does when you wait, but it’s true. So, avoid idling whenever possible. Turn off your car when you’re waiting for something, and warm up your engine in the mornings by driving slowly and carefully, rather than letting it idle for a while. This is a more effective way to warm things up, and it takes less gasoline and produces less emissions.

2: Avoid Rush Hour

Speaking of idling, if you often commute during rush hour, you probably find yourself creating a lot more fumes during your drive to and from work than you would if the roads were clear. Stopping in traffic means more idling time, and stopping and accelerating over and over again burns through gas.

Not only will avoiding rush hour reduce your emissions, but it’s also better for your blood pressure. So, if possible, talk to your office about changing your hours to more unconventional windows, i.e. working from 7:00-3:30 instead of 8:00-4:30. Look into the model of having every other Friday off because you work an extra hour each day.

3: Car Maintenance

Important car maintenance can put a major dent in your car’s emissions. The first thing to do is to update your catalytic converter or muffler. These parts of your car aren’t just about reducing sound; they also reduce the amount of emissions coming from your car. A high-grade catalytic converter can actually reduce your emissions to a fraction of what they were originally.

Additionally, making sure that your tires are properly inflated, that you regularly change your filter, and that you get regular tune-ups, can all reduce the amount of exhaust produced by your car.

4: Drive Smart

Smart driving techniques will also help reduce the amount of emissions produced by your car (not to mention, save you money on gas!) Primary among them is going the speed limit. Yes, it’s there for safety, but sometimes it’s also a matter of public health. Your car is usually at peak gas efficiency at around 60 miles per hour. The higher above that threshold your speed is, the more unnecessary fuel emissions you’re sending into the air. Additionally, it’s a smart practice to avoid any symptoms of lead foot. Accelerate gradually to reduce the amount of gas that you burn through.

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02 Apr, 2018

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