vehicle emissions

Exhaust repair – not recommended

information from 2009 (check for updates)

U.S. Vehicle Emissions Regulations

  • Tier 2 is the set of federal emissions regulations set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Bins That Comprise Tier 2 – Eight “permanent” certification levels, known as bins, define the Tier 2 regulations associated with the control of each of the five pollutants. Each bin allows for different degrees of acceptance of those pollutants — bin 8 allows the most emissions; bin 1 allows none.

Tier 2 regulates the emissions of five tailpipe pollutants (2009) ? updates? … none of these pollutants are “greenhouse gases” (GHGs) such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) nitrous oxide (N2O) or water vapor (H2O).

  • Non-Methane Organic Gases (NMOG) — this category accounts for alcohols and other pollutants that are not hydrocarbons but can lead to production of ozone, a principal smog-related compound
  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) — toxic to humans when inhaled
  • Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) — can react and produce ozone, a toxin, and contributes to acid rain formation
  • Particulate Matter (PM) — when inhaled, can cause lung and bronchial problems; thought to be carcinogenic; also a contributor to smog
  • Formaldehyde (HCHO) — can irritate the eyes and mucous membranes; cause headaches, allergies and trigger or aggravate asthma symptoms

California’s Air Resources Board (CARB)

LEV 2 (Low-Emission Vehicle) describes the regulations prescribed by California’s Air Resources Board (CARB) * Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV), Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV)

  • ZEV (Zero Emission Vehicle) – there are six subcategories.
  • PZEV (Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) — a rating reserved for cars that meet both SULEV standards and a near-zero evaporative emissions standard and is warranted for 15 years/150,000 miles.
  • AT-PZEV (Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emission Vehicle) — these are PZEVs that also utilize alternative fuel, electric drives or other advanced technology
  • NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) — think “golf cart on steroids”
  • FFEV (Full-Function Electric Vehicle) — larger than an NEV and capable of normal-car duties, but with limited range
  • CEV (City Electric Vehicle) — sized between an NEV and an FFEV but legal to run on freeways

Sample emission certification statements from car specifications

  • Emission Certification: Tier 3 Bin 30, LEV-III SULEV30/PZEV * Engine: 2.0L I4 50 kW electric motor
  • Emission Certification: PZEV, Tier 2 Bin 5 * Engine: 0.6L I2 125kW electric motor

What’s the problem?

  • Ask – With increasing numbers of vehicles – cars, trucks, on the roads around the world, what steps can regulators and manufactures take to reduce the emission of harmful gases and particle air pollutants? Which pollutants are the most harmful? What can be measured and controlled? Who decides?
  • Imagine – Regulations can be enacted to require manufactures and consumers to reduce emissions. Should these be federal or state regulations?
  • Design, Build – What emissions should the regulations address? What should the standards be? How will these be enforced? What happens if vehicles do not meet these regulations?
  • Improve – What technologies are improving the air quality? Are the regulations being adjusted to as the technolgies improve? Are emissions being reduced? Should other pollutants be measured and regulated?

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