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Commissioner shares air quality tips
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Commissioner shares air quality tips

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Vehicle owners are encouraged to stop at the click when fueling vehicles.

During a recent St. Francois County Commission meeting, Associate Commissioner Patrick Mullins brought up the end-of-year report on air quality in the area.

“St. Francois County is not creating large amounts of ozone,” he said. “This has been and will continue to be our position.

"It remains important for all of us to do what we can to promote good practices and help keep ozone from forming. That means we need to continue our efforts to educate our citizens on those things we have been talking about for several years now.”

Mullins provided the Daily Journal with some tips to keep pollution to a minimum and avoid future problems with meeting EPA standards.

  • “Stop at the click when fueling your vehicle,” he said. “Use the automatic nozzle and do not try to ‘round up’ to the nearest dollar or fill the tank to the brim. Doing this can cause spills and even the smallest spills puts more pollution into the air than fueling your car. Also, overfilling can actually damage some of the automatic vapor recovery systems in modern cars and repairing that damage can get pretty expensive.
  • “Fuel in the evening on hot days. Fueling a modern vehicle is almost but not completely an emission free operation. By getting into the habit of fueling your vehicle in the evening — on the way home from work for example — allows those emissions that do escape to disperse before the heat of the next day. The formula for creating ozone is Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) + Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) + heat + sunlight = ozone. Remove any of those factors and you break the ozone creating cycle. VOCs are released when you fuel your vehicle, so do it in the evening. Mow in the evening for the same reasons. Small engines on mowers, trimmers, blowers, etc. emit more VOCs and NOx than automobiles since they lack the sophisticated fuel management and emission control systems. Mowing in the evening allows those emissions to disperse.”
  • “Tune up your vehicle — including tire air pressure. Even a small ‘miss’ in your engine can cause much higher emissions than a well-tuned engine. You’ll save money by improving fuel mileage too.”
  • “Plan your trips. Too many of us tend to hop in the car and run to the store and then run to the movie rental place and then run to the barber shop and back home and then back out. Try to plan your trips and do everything at once. So much of our ozone precursors come from mobile sources that just keeping them off of the road is probably the best thing we can do.”
  • “Avoid idling. If you know you’re going to be parked for a while (parents picking up kids at school is a good example) then turn off the car.”
  • “Conserve energy — the largest single point source emitters of VOCs and NOx are electric generating utilities. By conserving energy, those power plants don’t have to run at full capacity and maybe the next plant won’t need to be brought on line so soon.”

For more information, contact Mullins at pmullins@sfcgov.org or 573-631-9301.

Mark Marberry is a reporter for the Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629, or at mmarberry@farmingtonpressonline.com

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