Vehicles and the Emissions They Produce
What Has Emission Control Meant for Air Quality?
Efforts by government and industry since 1970 have greatly reduced and almost completely eliminated vehicle emissions. In those same years, however, the number of vehicles on the road and the number of miles we as a nation drive have more than doubled. The increases in vehicles and number of miles driven not only lead to traffic congestion issues, but also offset some of the environmental benefit that the overall emissions reduction programs have achieved. In addition, the manner in which vehicles are driven, and things like poor vehicle maintenance or tampering with a vehicle's emission control devices can also take away from these reductions. In fact, a major portion of ozone-forming hydrocarbons can be attributed to a relatively small number of “super-dirty” cars that are poorly maintained and/or whose emission control systems are not working properly.
With much of this in mind and with ozone continuing to present urban air pollution problems, the U.S. EPA Tier 2 vehicle emission control programs emphasize extremely significant hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide reductions. Consequently, the role that drivers and owners can play is becoming more important. By driving in a more responsible, eco-friendly manner, drivers can reduce the amount of fuel they use by up to 25%, as well as reduce the amount of emissions their vehicle produces. Drivers can also help by keeping their cars well maintained, their tires properly inflated, and by having their vehicle serviced if the vehicle's Malfunction Indicator Light comes on.