Air Quality Awareness Week Day 3: Air Quality and Transportation

From May 1-5, the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) is helping celebrate National Air Quality Awareness Week 2023! Throughout the week, NDEP is taking steps to inform all Nevadans about how air quality affects their lives. This includes sharing information and resources about air monitoring, impacts to public health, and ways to support air quality science. This is the third blog in this series. Read Part 1 and Part 2


Transportation is the largest source of air pollution in the U.S. According to EPA, it accounts for over 55% of nitrogen oxides (NOx) pollution. Pollutants from cars, planes, boats, and trains can lead to smog accumulation, poor air quality, and negative health impacts on human health.   

Since the 1970s, EPA has worked to decrease air pollution from transportation. This includes setting emission standards for passenger vehicles, requiring catalytic converters on vehicles to reduce NOx pollutants, requiring unleaded gasoline, and limiting the amounts of sulfur in fuels. As a result, tailpipe emissions from modern vehicles are 98-99% cleaner than those from the 1960s. This has led to cleaner air and increased visibility in cities, despite the number of vehicles increasing. For more information on the history of clean air regulation, go to:  



You can help reduce air pollution by following these tips:  

  • Carpool, take public transportation, bike, or walk when possible 

  • Combine errands into one trip to reduce to reduce "cold starts" of your car 

  • Avoid extended idling of your car 

  • Be sure your tires are properly inflated 

  • Keep car, boat, and other engines properly tuned 

  • Follow gasoline refueling instructions at the gas station for efficient vapor recovery. Be careful not to spill fuel and always tighten your gas cap securely.