Vehicles are a major source of air pollution, emitting a variety of harmful gases and particles. Cars, SUVs and light trucks that run on gasoline, diesel and E85 all produce greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollutants from their tailpipes. It's important to understand the different types of automotive emissions and how they affect our health and environment. The three main types of vehicle emissions are evaporative emissions, refueling losses, and exhaust emissions.
Evaporative emissions occur when fuel evaporates from the fuel tank, carburetor or fuel injection system. Refueling losses occur when fuel is spilled or evaporates during refueling. Exhaust emissions are the most common type of vehicle emissions and are created when fuel is burned in the engine. The main pollutants emitted from cars include carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, lead and particulate matter.
Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas emitted from vehicles and contributes to climate change. Other greenhouse gases associated with road transport are methane (CH) and nitrous oxide (N2O). Road transport is the third largest source of greenhouse gases in the UK and accounts for more than 20% of total emissions. To reduce these emissions, the European Union has implemented stricter standards on vehicle emissions.
This has led to the introduction of greener vehicle technologies such as catalytic converters which help filter out the most toxic emissions. In addition to European standards, most vehicles also have an exhaust emissions test as part of their technical inspection. This test measures the amount of harmful gases emitted by a vehicle and will fail if it exceeds certain limits. Vehicle excise duty or VED (vehicle tax) is now determined by engine size or fuel type and CO2 emissions.
Ultra-low-emission vehicles count as “super credits” that can be used to reduce total manufacturers' emissions.By understanding the different types of vehicle emissions and their effects on our health and environment, we can play a more active role in reducing air pollution from motor vehicles. This includes being aware of the latest emission standards and making sure our vehicles pass their exhaust emissions tests.