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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Measuring and Modeling Emissions from Extremely Low-Emitting Vehicles

  • Author(s): Barth, M;
  • Collins, J F;
  • Scora, G;
  • Davis, N;
  • Norbeck, J N
  • et al.

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In recent years, automobile manufacturers have been producing gasoline-fueled vehicles that have very low tailpipe and evaporative emissions to meet stringent certification standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. These extremely low-emitting vehicles are 98% to 99% cleaner than the catalyst-equipped vehicles produced in the mid-1980s. To understand better the emissions characteristics of these extremely low-emitting vehicles, as well as their potential impact on future air quality, researchers at the University of California, Riverside, have conducted a comprehensive study consisting of (a) an emissions measurement program, (b) the development of specific emissions models, and (c) the application of future emissions inventories to air quality models. Results have shown that in nearly all cases, these vehicles have emissions that are well below their stringent certification standards, and the vehicles continue to have low emissions as they age. On the basis of the measurement results, new modal emissions models have been created for both ultra-low-emission-certified vehicles and partial-zero-emission-certified vehicles. The model results compare well with actual measurements. With these models, it is possible to predict accurately future mobile source emissions inventories that will have an increasing number of these extremely low-emitting vehicles in the overall vehicle population. It is expected that the large penetration of these vehicles into the vehicle fleet will have a significant role in meeting ozone attainment levels in many regions.

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