City strategies for improving air quality

The City of Austin's Air Quality Program aims to promote healthy outdoor air for our community. We do this by teaming up with regional partners to address the air quality concerns that impact all of us.

The following efforts are coordinated through the Capital Area Council of Governments’ Air Central Texasopen_in_new initiative.

Ozone Action Days

In the Austin region, we generally have good air quality. However, as we approach summer, we sometimes have days when the air is unhealthy for sensitive groups like children, the elderly, and those with respiratory conditions. This is because warm, sunny days with light winds contribute to the formation of ground-level ozoneopen_in_new, which is bad for your lungs. These days are called Ozone Action Days, and we typically have about 5-10 of them each ozone season.

When we are having an Ozone Action Dayopen_in_new, everyone needs to pitch in and do their part by driving less, reducing car idling, and conserving energy. If you are sensitive to ozone pollution, you are encouraged to limit outdoor activity on these days.

Ten ways you can help protect our clear blue skies

Avoid idling in your car

Skip the drive-thru and turn off your engine while you wait in cell phone lots or pick up the kids.

Protect your lawn

The grass is always greener when you switch to an electric or reel lawnmower instead of using gas.

Work virtually

Eliminate the commute by teleworking. Hold virtual meetings by phone or use videoconference options.

Refuel properly

Gas up when things cool down after dark. Be sure to tighten the gas cap securely to reduce evaporation.

Share the ride

Taking the busopen_in_new, carpooling, and ride-sharing means more karaoke and less tailpipe emissions. Find out how to get around town sustainably at Get There ATXopen_in_new or find a carpool buddy at Commute Solutionsopen_in_new.

Go electric

Shopping for a new car? The best options in the cleanest order are 1) electric, 2) hybrid, and 3) most fuel-efficient. Austin Energy's Plug-In Austin Electric Vehicle Programopen_in_new offers rebates, public charging stations, and more.

Get more steps and drive less

Bring your lunch to work, combine errands, and bike or walk if your destination is less than a mile away.

Conserve energy

Reduce air pollution by operating appliances efficiently, turning lights off, and using less water.

Maintain your vehicle

Replace air filters regularly and keep your tires properly inflated. You’ll improve your car’s gas mileage and reduce emissions.

Harness the power of the wind and sun

Sign up for Austin Energy’s GreenChoice® Programopen_in_new or install rooftop solaropen_in_new. Making the switch protects the air we breathe.

Download a printable version of these tips (PDF 304 kb)open_in_new.

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