Strategies for
Air Quality

Key Strategies

  • Retool refineries to produce lower-sulfur fuel as soon as possible.
  • Shift to driving cleaner vehicles as quickly as possible.
  • Reduce emissions from existing and new homes and other buildings through better energy efficiency and lower-emission appliances.
  • Increase the convenience of driving less and traveling without a car.
  • Educate the public about the most effective steps Utahns can take to reduce emissions.

This vision, created by Utahns, for Utahns, establishes a clear context, framework, and direction for policy discussions and actions to achieve the future Utahns want. Although government will play an important role, Utahns recognize that achieving the vision will also require a concerted, cooperative effort by individuals, families, businesses, and other organizations in the private sector.


1. Improve Utahns’ access to clean fuel.

  1. Work with refineries to produce cleaner, Tier 3 fuels that have less than 10 parts per million (ppm) of sulfur as soon as possible.
  2. Educate Utahns about the benefits of low-sulfur fuel and, where feasible, provide them with information about the sulfur content of the fuel they are purchasing.

2. Dramatically accelerate the transition to cleaner, Tier 3 vehicles, phasing them in faster than Tier 3 regulations require, and rapidly increase the number of zero-emission (e.g., electric) vehicles.

  1. Educate individuals and businesses about smog ratings and the positive effect low-emission and zero-emission vehicles have on air quality; work with car dealers to stock and sell more vehicles with high smog ratings (e.g., by providing sales materials that identify clean cars).
  2. Expand incentive programs that encourage Utahns to buy low-emission vehicles and especially zero-emission vehicles, regardless of the fuel used (electric, gasoline, natural gas, etc.).
  3. Shift vehicle fleets (e.g., those used by cities, car rental companies, and school districts) to low-emission vehicles through conversions, retrofits, or new vehicle purchases, and remove older, high-emission vehicles from circulation.
  4. Increase the number of vehicles that have zero tailpipe emissions (e.g., electric or fuel-cell cars).
  5. Expand infrastructure for charging electric vehicles, fueling with natural gas, etc.

3. Reduce how often and how far Utahns need to drive by building and revitalizing mixed-use centers in communities.

  1. Revitalize historic main streets and town centers.
  2. Encourage and remove barriers to the development of compact mixed-use centers within existing communities, particularly in underutilized commercial areas.
  3. Design new communities around village and town centers, where compact housing is co-located with jobs, services, schools, recreation, and religious and civic buildings.
  4. Design mixed-use centers to make walking and biking convenient.
  5. Locate centers around existing high-frequency public transportation where feasible, and plan new routes to serve centers.

4. Continue to build a balanced transportation system that increases the convenience of traveling with or without a car.

  1. Expand the public transportation system to improve frequency, coverage, access, and convenience.
  2. Locate job, education, and healthcare centers near high-capacity public transportation.
  3. Improve infrastructure (sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, etc.) and community design for walking and biking, particularly near public transportation stations.
  4. Connect communities through a network of trails and parks.
  5. Continue to improve and expand the road system to limit congestion.
  6. Continue and enhance public-education efforts (e.g., TravelWise and the Clean Air Challenge) to encourage trip chaining, reduced driving, etc.
  7. Promote telecommuting, compressed workweeks, flexible hours, parking cash-out programs, ridesharing (vanpools, carpools, car sharing), etc.
  8. Ensure public transportation and infrastructure for walking and biking is well financed.

5. Design communities to improve convenience of travel even as we grow.

  1. Provide interconnected networks of streets that accommodate a variety of travel modes.
  2. Design buildings and communities to be more easily accessible to bicycles and pedestrians and to make walking and biking pleasant and safe.
  3. Continue to accommodate convenient automobile travel and access, without undue congestion.


1. Improve the energy efficiency of homes and businesses.

  1. Build new homes and other buildings to be significantly more energy efficient.
  2. Retrofit existing homes and other buildings to significantly improve their energy efficiency.
  3. Encourage people to conserve energy by turning off lights, unplugging appliances, implementing energy-efficiency improvements, turning down thermostats, etc.
  4. Provide homebuyers with more information about the energy efficiency of homes they are considering.

2. Replace existing appliances (water heaters, furnaces, etc.) with low-emission varieties.

  1. As they wear out, replace water heaters with comparably priced ultra-low NOx models.
  2. Replace furnaces and other appliances as new, lower-emission technologies emerge.

3. Substantially reduce wood burning in urban areas during winter inversions.

  1. Continue to provide financial assistance to install other heating options in homes where wood burning is currently the only means of space heating.
  2. Continue and enhance efforts to educate Utahns about the air quality impacts of wood burning.

4. Reduce emissions from other area sources and from non-road mobile sources.

  1. Continue and enhance efforts to educate Utahns on how to reduce emissions by replacing gas cans and two-stroke engine equipment, etc.
  2. Explore new technologies for food preparation in restaurants.


1. Work with industries to continue to reduce emissions.

2. Promote cleaner energy production, reducing emissions primarily in rural Utah.

  1. As power companies use less coal due to environmental regulations, continue to convert coal-fired power plants to plants fired by cleaner burning natural gas.
  2. Encourage the development of renewable energy resources.