Test Your Air Quality IQ

an Diego experiences its smoggiest months during July, August, September and October. The County of San Diego Air Pollution Control District invites you to test your knowledge of air pollution and ways to reduce smog by participating in this Air Quality Quiz:


1. What percentage of San Diego's air pollution is produced by automobiles?
A. 60%
B. 50%
C. 75%

2. How many days in San Diego is the air considered unhealthy?
A. 3 out of 4
B. 1 out of 4
C. 4 out of 5

3. What can San Diego commuters do to reduce smog?
A. Drive faster to work
B. Use public transit
C. Call in sick and stay home

4. What percentage of San Diego commuters drive to work alone?
A. 80%
B. 50%
C. 95%

5. Which of the following automobile maintenance steps will help keep the air clean?
A. Keeping your car tuned
B. Washing your car on a weekly basis
C. Having your car regularly smog-checked

6. Los Angeles is accountable for what percent of San Diego's smog?
A. More than 80%
B. Less than 50%
C. Less than 24%

7. About 70 percent of the pollution caused by automobiles happens when:
A. Starting the car
B. Getting stuck in stop-and-go traffic
C. Sitting at a traffic light


1. The correct answer is A. Automobiles account for 60 percent of San Diego's air pollution. Due to strict rules on San Diego industrial companies, less than 20 percent of the region's smog-forming pollutants come from industrial sources. Twenty percent comes from other sources.

2. The correct answer is B. The air was "unhealthful" 79 days in 1994 in San Diego - nearly one out of every four days. Although all San Diego residents face some health risks from polluted air, nearly 1.3 million County residents - including children with developing lungs, senior citizens and people with asthma, respiratory and heart disease - are at even greater risk.

3. The correct answer is B. San Diego commuters can help clean the air by using public transportation once a week. Other ways to help include telecommunting, combining errands, carpooling, riding a bicycle or walking.

4. The correct answer is A. About 80 percent of commuters drive to work alone, significantly contributing to traffic congestion and motor vehicle emissions.

5. The correct answers are A and C. Regular tune-ups and smog checks will reduce air pollution. In addition, keeping tires properly inflated will save gasoline.

6. The correct answer is B. Although San Diego residents tend to blame Los Angeles for those smoggy days, San Diego is responsible for its air pollution problem.

7. The correct answer is A. More than half of the pollution happens when first starting the car, which is called a cold start. It takes about eight minutes to warm up the catalytic converter so it will operate efficiently. In fact, a one-mile commute in a cold car produces 70 percent of the hydrocarbons of a ten-mile trip.


6 - 7 points
Congratulations! You are an "Air Quality Expert!" You are up-to-date on the causes and hazards of air pollution and how it affects San Diego County. In an effort to reduce air pollution, you are utilizing public transportation, car pooling and reducing trips.
4 - 5 points
You are "Air-Smart!" You possess basic knowledge about San Diego's air pollution problem and are ready to make a conscious decision to help improve the situation.
0 - 3 points
You are an "Air Pollution Amateur!" You need to educate yourself about the serious nature of air pollution. Contact the County of San Diego Air Pollution Control District at (619) 694-3332 and obtain information and tips about what you can do to help curb smog.