On average, Provo and Ogden are nation’s worst air polluters, study says

Steve Griffin | The Salt Lake Tribune According to a study, Provo has the biggest carbon footprint of any city in America. The new LDS Provo City Temple, created out of the old Provo Tabernacle after it was partially destroyed in a fire during media preview in Provo, Monday, January 11, 2016.

Provo is the worst polluting city in the United States, according to a new study, and Ogden is second on the list.

That’s according to the website MagnifyMoney.com, which compared the average household carbon footprint in the nation’s 200 largest metro areas and found households in the two Utah cities emitted an average of 10.55 and 10.16 metric tons of CO2 emissions per year. Salt Lake City (9.14 metric tons) ranked 79th on the list.

“Not surprisingly, we found that cities with larger carbon footprints tended to have more cars per household,” reads the report. “Households in Provo ... own an average of 2.1 cars and travel approximately 25,000 miles annually by car, while only 2% of commuters take public transit.”

The numbers were similar in Ogden, which had a household average of 2.04 cars, which traveled an average of approximately 24,000 miles per year; and only 2% of residents use public transportation.

MagnifyMoney analyzed 2017 data from the Center for Neighborhood Technology Housing and Transportation Index to produce the report. It defines carbon footprint as “the combined total annual amount of carbon dioxide produced to support the lives of each member of a household.”

Overall, the study found that “households in the West” spew “more carbon emissions that ones in urban, denser areas.” The city with the lowest average carbon footprint is New York City — where 31 percent of commuters use public transit. The cars-per-household average in the Big Apple is 1.27 (40% fewer than Provo); the average distance traveled is 13,000 miles (48% less than Provo); the average metric tons of CO2 emissions is 5.38 (49% less than Provo).

The report went on to note that Provo residents spend almost $16,000 a year on transportation, while New Yorkers spend about $10,000 annually.

New York City also has the highest residential density score — 37% of New York City households are in single-family, detached homes, compared to 67% in Provo and 75% in Ogden. And apartment buildings “use significantly less energy than single-family homes,” according to the report.


1. Provo (10.55 metric tons)

2. Ogden (10.16 metric tons)

3. Greeley, Colo. (10.04 metric tons)

4. Appleton, Wis. (9.86 metric tons)

5. McAllen, Texas (9.81 metric tons)


1. New York (5.38 metric tons)

2. San Francisco (7.12 metric tons)

3. Los Angeles, Calif. (7.15 metric tons)

4. Miami (7.65 metric tons)

5. Chicago (7.65 metric tons)