Vehicles number one source of pollution during inversion

Vehicles number one source of pollution during inversion

SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Vehicles are the number one contributor to poor air quality during a winter inversion, according to the Division of Air Quality.
SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 Utah) – Vehicles are the number one contributor to poor air quality during a winter inversion, according to the Division of Air Quality.

We've all seen the signs along the interstate, reminding us of what we can do individually for better air quality.

"We rode up here today, because it's convenient to take the train and not have to worry about whether or not you drive or parking or any of that when you get up to Salt Lake," said UTA customer, Scott Gardner.

He travels from Provo to Salt Lake City a couple of times per week.

He leaves the car at home and boards the train.

Not only is it convenient for him, but it's also serving a larger purpose.

According the Division of Air Quality vehicles are responsible for 57% of pollution on winter inversion days, 32% comes from area sources, like homes, small businesses and buildings and 11% comes from industrial sources.

ABC 4 Utah Meteorologist, Curtis Ray says these numbers likely explain why we saw improvement in the air quality from Friday to Monday.

"The only thing that changed over the weekend that could have helped the air quality was fewer people on the roadways, less people driving. We didn't have a storm come through, there was no wind," said Ray.

Mass transit is keeping more drivers off the road.

According to numbers from UTA, 120,000 vehicles are taken off the road daily, 850,000 travel miles are saved daily and 1,500 tons of emissions are eliminated each year.

"Not everything that I do is contributing to the problem, some of it is actually trying to cut back and that's why I’m kind of glad I’m taking mass transit every now and then," said Gardner.

Even with the efforts of Gardner and other mass transit users, dirty air is sticking around in the forecast.

"With this ridge of high pressure not going anywhere anytime soon, that lid, that cap on top of the jar so to speak is going to keep trapping the pollution, the moisture and cold temperatures maybe through the end of January," said Ray.

UTA says if it could fill all of its vehicles 100% all day, every day it would increase the total emissions saved from 1,500 to more than 10,000 tons per year.

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