The air in Sacramento!

This list is reprinted with permission (and some additions) from, a website of the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District.

With the summer finally starting to heat up, now seems a good time for SN&R to print its annual reminder (brought to you by the good folk at the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District) about how to help in the effort to keep air pollution and smog to a minimum in the Sacramento region this summer. (Hint: Some of these tips might surprise you. Read on!)

1. Bike/walk more and drive less. Cars are, of course, the major source of air pollution in the Sacramento region. Can you get to your destination—at least once in a while—by walking, biking or public transit?

2. Take public transit. Let someone else deal with the traffic; treat yourself to a stress-free commute. If you leave your car at home one day a week, you prevent 55 pounds of pollution from being emitted into our air each year.

3. Carpool or van-pool to work. A few days or even one day a week, share a ride or take turns driving. Call 511 or visit to sign up online.

4. Sign up for Air Alert. Your free air-quality notification via email or cellphone, Air Alert gives you Spare the Air advisories for ground-level ozone or particulate matter when the Air Quality Index is expected to reach 150 or above, plus your choice of daily air-quality forecasts and current conditions at monitoring sites in the region.

5. Refuel in the evening and never top off. Putting gas into your vehicle releases volatile organic compounds into the air. Throughout the day, these VOCs mix with oxides of nitrogen, “cook” in the summer sun and form ground-level ozone. Refueling in the evening decreases the opportunity for VOCs to create ozone.

7. Telework. If your boss will allow it, try working from home sometimes. You’ll save commute time and expenses. Even if you do this just one day a week, you’ll be making a difference.

6. Link your trips. Cold engines pollute up to five times more than warm ones. A cold engine is one that has been sitting for over an hour. When possible, link all of your errands together into one trip to minimize “cold starts.” Postpone errands on a Spare the Air day.

8. Avoid consumer spray products. These aerosol products include hair spray, furniture polish, cooking sprays, bathroom cleaners, air fresheners, antiperspirants, insecticides and hobby-craft sprays. Hair spray alone contributes 12 tons of pollution per day. When buying consumer products, choose solids, sticks and gels instead.

9. It’s OK to barbecue, but don’t use charcoal lighter fluid. Use an electric starter or briquette chimney starter instead of charcoal lighter fluid. Better yet, replace your charcoal grill with a propane-gas grill.

10. Do your garden chores gasoline free. Avoid gas-powered yard tools such as mowers, blowers, edgers and trimmers—switch to electric-powered tools.