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Avoid the Cold Start

We’re in the midst of a yucky inversion. At one point on Monday, the amount of particulate pollution crossed the 55.5 microgram/cubic meter threshold, which puts us in the red category of “Unhealthy” territory.

Dec 11 Air Quality

Air quality conditions and forecasts are available at

Unfortunately, our weather patterns and geography mean we have to work extra hard to reduce what goes into the air.

One of the simplest things you can do is to leave the car at home.

Did you know that the majority of pollution comes when you simply turn your car on?

It’s the phenomenon of “Cold Starts.”

It means that 60-90% of your commute’s emissions come in the first three minutes. Pretty incredible, huh?

You can learn more about cold starts from UCAIR’s great blog post and video below.

So what can you do? Well, aim to keep your car parked as frequently as possibleeven if it’s just for a day, or a single trip you’re skipping


How to avoid the Cold Start:

  • Ride transit— if you’re a Salt Lake City resident, you can get a transit pass at half off! Check out the Hive Pass website for more information
  • Carpool with your co-workers, friends, or family. Be creative– how can you leave one or more cars parked?
  • Run your errands in one trip— here’s extra motivation to get your to-do list done. “Trip chaining,” or linking up your errands together avoids multiple cold starts later.
  • Walk or bike— this keeps the car in the driveway too. As the air quality worsens, you may want to consider a protective mask.

Remember to share this post on social media or via email and demonstrate your commitment to clearing the air.

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Thanks for becoming a #CleanAirChampion !


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