Bay Area motorists are being asked to consider commuting alternatives this summer as the area's summer Spare the Air season started yesterday.
Officials with the Bay Area Air Quality Management District said single occupancy vehicles are the largest source of ozone pollution among the various transportation sources during the summer.
The Spare the Air program aims to reduce ozone pollution, which is the product of auto exhaust during the summer months.
"It's a public health-based program," BAAQMD spokesman Ralph Borrmann said.
Ozone can cause congestion, throat irritation, chest pain, worsen bronchitis, trigger asthma, inflame the lining of the lungs and worsen emphysema.
It's especially harmful to children, seniors and people with respiratory and heart conditions, he said.
People who exercise outside should exercise in the morning when ozone concentrations are lower.
Borrmann said people who take transit rather than drive help reduce ozone pollution.
Bay Area workers can make a difference by asking their employer about commuter benefits, as employers with 50 or more employees are required to participate in the Bay Area Commuter Benefits program.
Residents and visitors can find out when the BAAQMD has issued a Spare the Air alert by registering for email AirAlerts at sparetheair.org, calling (800) HELP-AIR, by downloading the Spare the Air App or connecting with Spare the Air on Facebook or Twitter.