Still more to be learned about emissions

Research and development into emissions has revealed some surprises.

There is a direct correlation between diesel car registrations and average CO2 emissions, JATO Dynamics has revealed. Emissions have risen to the highest average since 2014 mainly caused by the move from diesel to petrol, with analysis indicating that although a significant contribution was made by the arrival of new SUVs.  The Worldwide Harmonised Vehicle Test (WLTP) which was introduced in September 2018 has challenged the market along with negative public perception of diesel. Examining 23 markets in Europe JATO found that the total average of CO2 emissions increased by 2.4 g/km to 120.5 g/km in 2018. 

The EU's tight regulation of exhaust emissions may have led to new cars emitting very little particle pollution but non-exhaust emissions (NEEs) -  in this case, tyre wear pollution - has been discovered by Emissions Analytics to be 1,000 times worse. In tests on a popular family hatchback running on brand new, correctly inflated tyres, the company found that the car emitted 5.8 grams per kilometre of particles. Compared with regulated exhaust emission limits of 4.5 milligrams per kilometre, the completely unregulated tyre wear emission was higher by a factor of over 1,000.

Nick Molden, CEO of Emissions Analytics said: “The challenge to the industry and regulators is an almost complete black hole of consumer information, undone by frankly out of date regulations still preoccupied with exhaust emissions. In the short term, fitting higher quality tyres is one way to reduce these NEEs and to always have tyres inflated to the correct level."

Emissions testing and analytical services have come under the spotlight with the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) receiving a five-year $25m contract from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The scope of the contract is quite broad and "encompasses fuels and lubricants effects and engine and emissions characterizations, as well as economic studies, general rule-making support and coordinating peer review meetings,” according to Patrick Merritt, program manager in SwRI’s Powertrain Engineering Division.

The contract follows previous emissions research and will serve to formulate industry standards.