Reducing Air Pollution


All of us make choices every day that affect the air we breathe. Common activities - such as driving the car, mowing the lawn, burning wood in the fireplace, even using aerosol hairsprays and deodorants - add substantial amounts of pollution to the air.

Although you can't single-handedly solve air pollution or global warming, your choices matter. You have the power to change your home, transportation, and consumer habits to help clean the air and preserve our planet for future generations. Here are some tips for reducing your contribution to air pollution: 

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On the Road

Reduce your driving. Motor vehicles and other mobile sources like construction equipment contribute over three quarters of the air pollutants in the County. To reduce emissions, you can combine errands, carpoolvanpooluse public transportationride a bicycle, walk, telecommute or work longer hours fewer days a week. For short trips like school or errands, consider options like walking and biking.

If you drive, keep your car in good shape. Make sure your tires are properly inflated, and keep the pollution control equipment on your car in good working order.  Use less-polluting reformulated gasoline, and when you fill up, don’t top off your tank – the extra gasoline that evaporates contributes to smog and contains toxic pollutants.

Consider a zero- or near-zero-emission car.  The Electric Vehicle Consumer Guide is a County of San Diego resource that helps answer your questions about owning a battery electric vehicle (EV) and can help find an EV that fits your needs.

State and federal rebates can mean an electric or hybrid car is within reach. You will save money at the pump and help our air quality. And there are more and more electric charging stations throughout the County.

See a polluting car or truck? Report “smoking” cars and trucks by calling 1-800-28-SMOKE or report them online.

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Around the House

Avoid aerosol spray products. Many aerosol products contribute to smog. Paints and solvents also contribute to smog – look for water-based options, keep lids closed, and use brushes or rollers rather than sprayers when possible.

When you fire up the charcoal barbecue, use an electric lighter, a chimney that uses newspaper, or new lighter fluid that produces less emissions than traditional charcoal lighter fluid. Or use a gas grill.

Use energy efficient lighting and appliances. Look for EnergyStar appliances and light bulbs.

Change your thermostat to be a few degrees cooler in the winter and a few degrees warmer in the summer. A programmable thermostat can make this easy.

Consider solar power. You may save money by installing solar water heating.

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In the Community

Making transit available to more people in San Diego County is a central goal of the San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan. Making transit accessible helps our region achieve cleaner air and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Transit has many environmental advantages, and communities can take advantage of transit to create more vibrant, diverse neighborhoods.

Creating streets that feel safe for walking and bicycling can encourage more people to make some trips without their cars. You can find information about pedestrian safety fixestraffic calmingroundabouts and traffic circles in our “Taming Neighborhood Traffic” booklet.