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Tips To Improve Air Quality
Good Habits Every Day 

Ozone Action days are called when hot summer temperatures combine with pollution to create elevated amounts of ground-level ozone, a threat to human health and the environment. On Ozone Action Days, people are asked to take certain actions that can help reduce the creation of ozone that day and keep it at levels that meet the national air quality standard.

What to do on an Ozone Action Day 

If you must drive:

  • Chain your trips. Your vehicle emits far less pollution once the engine is warmed up. SEMCOG offers resources for biking, walking, transit, etc..
  • Avoid vehicle idling. If you're going to be stopped for more than 10 seconds (except in traffic) turn off the engine. When your vehicle idles, it is getting zero miles to the gallon. 
  • Avoid drive-thru facilities at fast food restaurants, banks, and other businesses. Instead, park your car and go inside. You’ll save money on gas and reduce pollution.
  • Use your newest vehicle. It most likely has better emission controls than an older model and thus emits less pollution.

Clean Air Actions Everyday

Many of the Ozone Actions listed above are good ideas to practice every day. Other routine actions can also help reduce pollution and fuel consumption.

On the road:

  • Keep your vehicle in good working order. Performing regular maintenance and oil changes, as well as keeping tires properly inflated, can significantly improve gas mileage, extend your car's life. It can also reduce your car's pollution by more than half and reduce traffic congestion by preventing vehicle breakdowns.
  • Avoid congested roadways. Check MiDrive for real-time traffic.
  • Always make sure your vehicle’s gas cap is tightly closed. A loose or faulty cap can leak one gallon of gasoline into the air every two weeks.
  • Park in the shade. This will prevent evaporative emissions caused by the sun heating your gas tank while your vehicle is parked.

At home:

  • Save electricity.
    • Adjust your air conditioner temperature a few degrees higher, and turn off appliances and lights when not in use. Replace old light bulbs with longer-lasting Energy Star bulbs.
    • When replacing appliances or heating & cooling systems, choose models with high energy efficiency ratings.
  • Avoid using oil-based paints, degreasers, or lighter fluids. Use water-based cleaning and painting products. Apply paint with rollers and brushes instead of sprayers to cut down on fumes.
  • Keep motor boats, jet skis and other personal watercraft well maintained, and avoid idling.

On the job:

  • Brown bag it or walk to lunch instead of driving to a restaurant.
  • Encourage your employer to buy and maintain fleets of energy-efficient cars and trucks.
  • Telecommute. If possible, work at home sometimes. You'll save time and money, and reduce emissions and traffic congestion. 
  • Use teleconferencing technologies instead of driving to meetings.
  • Ask your employer to consider installing a bike rack for employees.


  • Spread the word. If everyone took just a few of these simple steps, it could make a big difference because it all adds up to cleaner air.