With winter inversion coming to Utah, hope is on the way with new emission options, regulations

SALT LAKE CITY -- With snow on the ground and relatively stable weather patterns, parts of Utah could see their first serious winter inversion over the next week. Pollution trapped by the inversion can have a wide range of health impacts from burning throats to an increased risk for heart attacks.

“Only about 13 percent to 15 percent of our problems come from our refineries,” said Thom Carter, Executive Director of the Utah Clean Air Partnership (UCAIR).

UCAIR recently partnered with Holly Frontier refinery. In 2019, the refinery will install new equipment that will reduce CO2 emissions by roughly four million pounds a year. But the bigger challenge is in your own driveway.

“50 percent of our emissions during an inversion comes from our tailpipes,” said Carter.

Carpooling and public transportation are an option for many people, but not everyone. However, a change scheduled for January of 2020 could help people who have no choice but to drive their own car. Tier three gas will be at gas pumps nationwide.

“If you take a tier three fuel and put it in tier three car it’s as if you are reducing emissions from your own automobile by 80 percent,” said Carter.

Tier two vehicles will also see a benefit from the new gasoline, reducing emission by roughly 20 percent.

If you use a wood burning stove to heat your home, UCAIR estimates switching to gas can reduce emissions by 300,000 pounds a year.

“People will, according to our data, they say I will make a change if it is inexpensive or convenient,” said Carter.

The State Department of Environmental Quality has an incentive program to get people to make the switch, providing up to $3,800 to homeowners. The program is so popular, there is a waiting list in most counties. To find out more visit http://stove.utah.gov.