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Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Oct 15;47(20):11837-48. doi: 10.1021/es401470e. Epub 2013 Oct 7.

Chemical composition of gas-phase organic carbon emissions from motor vehicles and implications for ozone production.

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Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of California , Berkeley, California 94720, United States.


Motor vehicles are major sources of gas-phase organic carbon, which includes volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other compounds with lower vapor pressures. These emissions react in the atmosphere, leading to the formation of ozone and secondary organic aerosol (SOA). With more chemical detail than previous studies, we report emission factors for over 230 compounds from gasoline and diesel vehicles via two methods. First we use speciated measurements of exhaust emissions from on-road vehicles in summer 2010. Second, we use a fuel composition-based approach to quantify uncombusted fuel components in exhaust using the emission factor for total uncombusted fuel in exhaust together with detailed chemical characterization of liquid fuel samples. There is good agreement between the two methods except for products of incomplete combustion, which are not present in uncombusted fuels and comprise 32 ± 2% of gasoline exhaust and 26 ± 1% of diesel exhaust by mass. We calculate and compare ozone production potentials of diesel exhaust, gasoline exhaust, and nontailpipe gasoline emissions. Per mass emitted, the gas-phase organic compounds in gasoline exhaust have the largest potential impact on ozone production with over half of the ozone formation due to products of incomplete combustion (e.g., alkenes and oxygenated VOCs). When combined with data on gasoline and diesel fuel sales in the U.S., these results indicate that gasoline sources are responsible for 69-96% of emissions and 79-97% of the ozone formation potential from gas-phase organic carbon emitted by motor vehicles.

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