25% of Cars Produce About 90% of Traffic-related Pollution: Univ. of Toronto Study

Plume-based Analysis of Vehicle Fleet Air Pollutant Emissions and the Contribution from High Emitters
Atmospheric Measurement Techniques (2015,v8, p2881-2912; doi:10.5194/amtd-8-2881-2015 / by J.M. Wang, et al.
http://www.atmos-meas-tech-discuss.net/8/2881/2015/amtd-8-2881-2015.pdf
[Boston Globe] A recent study conducted by University of Toronto researchers found that just 25 percent of cars they measured produced about 90 percent of the total traffic-related air pollution…
Jonathan Wang, one of the authors of the study and a chemical engineering PhD student at the University of Toronto, said the chief polluters were older cars in need of a tune-up.

“We found it was a large amount of transport trucks, but a good proportion was just cars – a mixture of both,” Wang said. “We suspect they were older vehicles.”

The researchers took real-time measurements of the exhaust of about 100,000 cars driving past air-sampling probes on one of Toronto’s busiest roads. The study was borne out of concern that vehicle fleet emissions spread farther than previously known. In addition to total particulates and carbon monoxide, the researchers found that a quarter of cars measured produced over 76 percent of pollutants like benzene, toluene, and other known carcinogens.

Besides driving an older vehicle (anything older than seven years), Wang said driving behavior could also have a huge impact on pollution. “Cruising at normal speeds is better than heavy braking and heavy acceleration,” he said. “Stop-and-go traffic can increase emissions for vehicles.”..

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