State health officials say fewer emissions from cars and industrial buildings cut down on air pollution this year. The annual ozone season officially ends today. There were 26 days in which ozone exceeded healthy levels. That's well below the 10-year average of 41 days. Division of Air Quality spokesman Tom Mather says recent numbers are lower despite back-to-back hot and dry summers.
Tom Mather: "Coal fired power plants in the state have had to reduce their emissions by about three-fourths. It was phased in over a number of years and the power companies are getting pretty close to finishing all that work. And so the amount of pollution in the air is just a lot lower."
Mather says new cars also continue to get more efficient and produce cleaner exhaust. The state requires emissions tests on about 80 percent of registered cars in North Carolina.