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car exhaust

New Car Engines Dirtier than Diesels

car exhaustNew gasoline direct injection (GDI) petrol engines for cars emit about 1,000 times more harmful particles than traditional petrol engines and 10 times more than new diesel engines, according to a German study.

Researchers at industrial testing and certification agency TÜV Nord conducted the study, commissioned by the European Federation for Transport and Environment.

Emissions from the Renault Mégane were almost twice as high as those from the Ford Focus and Hyundai I40, when tested without a gasoline particle filter fitted. Fitting the filter reduced the number of particles in the exhaust by a factor of around 2,000, enabling the car to emit levels of particles in similar numbers to those found in unpolluted air.

The cost of a filter to eliminate particle emissions from GDI cars is low, about €50 ($68), with no loss in fuel efficiency, the report says. Despite this, carmakers are delaying fitting filters on GDI cars.

EU laws already require particle filters to be fitted to all new diesel cars but there is no mandatory requirement for new petrol engines. By 2020, GDI engines are expected to power almost all new petrol cars sold in Europe, accounting for around half of all new passenger vehicles.

Vehicles tested by TÜV Nord all showed the number of particles emitted from GDI engines is likely to exceed the 2017 European emissions limits, known as Euro 6 standards.

Extending the vehicle emissions and fuel-quality standards already in place in the largest global vehicle markets would reduce near-term climate impacts through reductions in black carbon and pollutants by the equivalent of 710 million metric tons of CO2 annually, according to a report published last month by the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT). This represents an 80 percent reduction compared to current emissions levels.

Image Credit: car pollution via Shutterstock


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