We have all been at a stop light with the vehicle in front of us gushing out dark, dirty fumes from its tailpipe. Instead of just thinking to ourselves what those fumes are doing to our environment, our air quality and our bodies, we can take action.
Reporting the vehicle to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, an agency that strives to protect the state’s human and natural resources, is one of the easiest ways to protect the air, yourself and others.
What is a smoking vehicle?
According to state regulations, a smoking vehicle is a vehicle that has dirty smoke coming from its exhaust for more than 10 consecutive seconds. Tailpipe smoke is a result of incomplete fuel combustion, which is usually caused by improper engine operation in both gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles.
According to the TCEQ, a large percentage of the air pollution in Texas comes from the more than 17 million motor vehicles registered in the state.
What do I do if I see a smoking vehicle on the road?
TCEQ has created a simple way for all Texas residents to report polluting vehicles, making Texas roads cleaner and healthier.
There are some details you will need to jot down before reporting a smoking vehicle:
- Texas license plate number
- Date observed
- Approximate location (intersection, nearby landmark)
After gathering this information, you have 30 days to report the smoking vehicle. You can make the report by phone at 1-800-453-SMOG or online on the TCEQ website at http://www.tceq.texas.gov/airquality/mobilesource/vetech/smokingvehicles.html. The form is available in English and in Spanish. Your report will be kept anonymous.
What happens after I report the smoking vehicle?
After you report the smoking vehicle online or by phone, TCEQ will notify the owner that his/her car may be contributing to air pollution. TCEQ will also provide the vehicle owner with resources on why it is important for the environment that they maintain their vehicle, as well as what steps they should take to repair the problem that the vehicle is having.
What can I do to prevent dirty fumes?
Drive smarter: Driving slower, reducing idling and maintaining your vehicle will help you reduce your carbon footprint, protect Texas’ air and save money!
Drive less: Use alternative methods of commuting. Walk, bike or carpool to your destination! If you were to not drive one day per week, you individually could save more than 1,300 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year!1 If all Texans make the same choice to leave their cars at home one day a week, we could collectively avoid more than 35 billion pounds of CO2 per year. That’s like not burning 37 million barrels of oil or more than 17 million houses turning off their lights for a day!
How can I keep up-to-date on air quality?
Television and radio stations have remained a trustworthy source for air quality notifications, but now you can get alerts on the go with your smartphone. The American Lung Association created a State of the Air® smartphone app that provides forecasts and alerts based on air quality data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
1Based on the U.S. average daily driving distance of approximately 29 miles per day and roughly 1 pound of CO2 per mile driven.