Vehicles cause more than 50% of Utah smog; driving electric is one solution


    The Department of Environmental Quality says vehicles are what drive the pollution, contributing for more than 50 percent of Utah smog. (Photo: KUTV)

    Thick inversion has been choking the Salt Lake Valley for nearly a week now.

    The Department of Environmental Quality says vehicles are what drive the pollution, contributing for more than 50 percent of the smog.

    A study conducted by the Utah Clean Air Partnership, UCAIR, and Lighthouse Research found most Utahns are aware their cars cause most of the pollution.

    “53 percent of people, when asked what’s the biggest problem as related to air quality, identify mobile sources or cars as the biggest problem,” Thom Carter, executive director of UCAIR said.

    The study also found more than half of those polled recognize they need to be part of the solution.

    The Department of Environmental Quality says vehicles are what drive the pollution, contributing for more than 50 percent of Utah smog. (Photo: KUTV)

    “When we ask them, open-ended, who’s responsible to fixing air quality, 57 percent of people say it’s up to individuals and people and residents to do that,” Carter said.

    In the winter months, there’s often a push to carpool, take public transit or even drive electric. But, Carter said it can be inconvenient to transition from gas to electric.

    “There has to be a financial benefit, a personal benefit or it has to be convenient,” Carter said.

    Fidelity Investment at the Gateway is one business that’s making it easier for employees to drive electric.

    The Department of Environmental Quality says vehicles are what drive the pollution, contributing for more than 50 percent of Utah smog. (Photo: KUTV)

    “About 3 years ago we added our first chargers that’s just on the other side of the wall there,” Ben Brown, manager of public affairs with Fidelity, said.

    When the company added charging stations, sure enough, more employees began driving electric.

    “Switching from gas to electric is a big step and you want to make sure you know where you can get energy to get home,” Carly Seely, a Fidelity employee, said.

    The Department of Environmental Quality says vehicles are what drive the pollution, contributing for more than 50 percent of Utah smog. (Photo: KUTV)

    “The fact that I have chargers at my work definitely pushed the idea over the finish line,” she added.

    She switched to an electric car about two years ago, shortly after the company got their first charging station.

    “It just feels good, especially this time of year when you see the inversion setting in and I know I’m doing my part to try to reduce the pollution,” Seely said.

    The demand at Fidelity was so high, the company added another station. Now they charge upwards of a dozen cars a day.

    “If companies help, if they incentivize their people to make these changes, the opportunities will be available,” Carter said.

    The Department of Environmental Quality says vehicles are what drive the pollution, contributing for more than 50 percent of Utah smog. (Photo: KUTV)

    Building up electric infrastructure takes time. Carter said if workplaces get on board, their employees are bound to follow suit.

    “The more employers that can offer this kind of benefit, it’s by far going to increase electric car usage and ultimately reduce our emissions that’s contributing to the inversion,” Seely said.

    The Federal Government also offers tax rebates when people buy new, not used, electric vehicles.

    Here's where you can find electric vehicle charging stations near you.

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