Something as simple as filling the gas tank in your car after dinner can help reduce air pollution.
It's an important consideration in Wichita, where officials say smog is teetering on failing air quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
"We are already very close to going out of compliance with the federal ozone standards, and the EPA is talking about lowering them even further," said Kay Johnson, environmental initiatives manager for the City of Wichita.
Ground-level ozone is a key component of smog and contains -- how should I say this -- some bad stuff.
The fumes released from the gas pump every time you click the handle contain nitrogen oxide and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Doesn't that sound scary? They can cause breathing problems in even healthy people, especially children.
But it's when those components heat up under the sun, especially in hot weather, that causes the most problems.
So even filling your car up with gas after 6 p.m. reduces the chances of pollution.
"Cooler air and less time for sunlight provide fewer opportunities for ground level ozone to develop," said Jim Hanni, Kansas spokesman for AAA.
The peak hours for ozone production in Wichita is from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., according city air quality measurements.
Also, "topping" off your tank can be harmful. Every time you click that handle, you're releasing more bad stuff.
Some folks might think that large industries contribute more to polluting the air than you or I do with our cars. But that's wrong. Air measurements in Wichita show that regulated industries account for only about an eighth of the emissions creating smog.
Nearly half of the nitrogen oxides and about a third of the VOCs come from cars.
That includes any time you spend sitting in your car with the engine idling.
"You're also just wasting money," Johnson said. "You're using gas but not going anywhere. We could do a lot by just getting people to turn off their cars instead of letting them idle."
Most of what contributes to smog comes from sources you can't point to. Like we wrote about with water a few weeks ago, this is called non-point source pollution.
This includes our gas lawn mowers, fuel-powered weed eaters and the gasoline we spill on our driveways or garages filling up those suckers.
"When you spill gas, and it evaporates, it just provides a more direct way to get into the air, instead of coming out the exhaust of your chain saw," said Tom Gross with the Bureau of Air for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment."
You can now buy no-spill gas cans which can cut down those kinds of accidents.
Those plastic accordion-looking thingies on some gas pumps can also help.
"Those are emissions control devices, and our energy experts say they help," AAA's Hanni said.
We recently bought a battery-powered lawn mower for our house -- a $100 find at a Wichita Goodwill Store.
But there's more to smog than spilled gas.
Those same emissions also come from power plants that produce our electricity. So cutting down on your energy consumption at home also helps keep the air clean.
"That's a lot tougher to educate people about, because they don't see the result directly," Gross said. "When you do something like turn off a light when you leave the room, it's a long way back to the power plant. But by doing that, you're also reducing the emissions into the air."
The city's Green Wichita web site, list these tips to "Be Air Aware."
If every one started with one task, say filling up your tank after 6 p.m. or buying a no-spill gas can, it would help.
My wife still chides me about trying to wait until 6 to fill up. One evening, I ran out of gas a half-mile from the station.
Fortunately, I had my AAA card.