Gasoline Vehicle Black Carbon Emissions Found to be Significant Contributor to Particulate Matter Pollution
Black carbon, generated from burning fossil fuels, contributes to particulate matter air pollution. Recent study results demonstrated that black carbon emissions from light-duty gasoline vehicles were a factor of two higher than previous North American measurements, and a factor of nine higher than the black carbon emission factor derived using the Canadian version of the MOBILE 6.2 emission factor model.
While further research will be needed to corroborate these results, the high black carbon measured in this study highlights the importance of quantifying vehicle emissions under real-world conditions.
This research study was recently completed on a major highway north of Toronto to quantify black carbon emissions from light-duty gasoline vehicles. Black carbon is often attributed to diesel vehicles, and less associated with vehicles that operate on gasoline. With North American roadways being dominated by gasoline vehicles, further research in this area is highly relevant.
The scientists collected real-time black carbon data from over 44 hours of driving in the first field application of state-of-the-art instruments in Environment Canada’s unique CRUISER (Canadian Regional and Urban Investigation System for Environmental Research) mobile laboratory.
The results of the study have been published as a peer reviewed article titled “Are Emissions of Black Carbon from Gasoline Vehicles Underestimated? Insights from Near and On-Road Measurements” in Environmental Science and Technology, and was chosen as the cover article for the May 1, 2012 edition. This new information will better inform regulatory and policy decision makers on appropriate black carbon mitigation strategies.
Contact: John Liggio, 416-739-4840, Air Quality Research
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