As we go about our busy lives, not many of us consider what we send into the atmosphere. Like Julien Curatella, we do small things to conserve, when we remember.
"I'll do what I can to fit my lifestyle, but I'm not gonna drive like a Prius or anything," he said.
But between the pumping, driving and mowing, a growing Central Texas community edges closer to real danger.
"The eight-hour ozone concentration is harmful to public health at levels below 70 parts per billion. Our three-year running average is 73 parts per billion," said Megan Henderson with Breathe Easy Waco.
EPA standard is 75. So if our number continues to rise, we may be in for some regulations, like they see in Dallas and Houston. That means pollution hurts our lungs, and our wallets.
"It could cost us jobs and investment, it could mean that the average citizen is impacted by having to make emissions testing on their car an annual habit," Henderson said.
The good news -- there are small, easy things we can do. The time of day you fill up and use gas power machines matters.
"Confine it to later in the day, and if it's a high ozone day consider saving it until that following day," said Henderson. She says emissions in the morning spend the day literally cooking into the atmosphere, whereas at night they dissipate.
Making smarter decisions at home will help limit your electricity use and also limit the pollutants from power plants, so basic energy-saving tips like switching to more efficient light bulbs and turning them off when you leave the room help the atmosphere too.
Air quality groups want meteorologists to include ozone danger in the forecast.
Some already do.
"If it's as high as moderate I will make sure I give a heads up to people out there just so they can know how to protect themselves," said Miri Marshall from the KCEN Weather Center.
That way people can make better decisions, and know when to save mowing the lawn for a later day, or fill up the gas tank after work, rather than before.
"When given the choice, I'd certainly try to save the cooking in the atmosphere," said David Cook as he filled up at a gas station near Baylor.
"I will definitely fill up later in the afternoon from now on," agreed Julien.
It could make a big difference in the future for the community. And experts say, it's time to start making changes.
"It's time Texas, to protect our air quality, our health and our economy," Henderson said.
Reporter: Rebecca Schleicher/Photographer: Rudy Villarreal