Independent Study Finds Vehicle Emission Testing Unreliable

Cindy Zimmerman

The Urban Air Initiative (UAI) has released the results of an independent study that finds “many of the test fuels used in emissions research studies do not reflect the makeup of consumer fuels, limiting the ability of ethanol to be used to reduce emissions and improve vehicle efficiency.”

The study, titled Effects of Ethanol Blends on Light-Duty Vehicle Emissions: A Critical Review reviewed and assessed nearly 100 different vehicle emission studies and discovered that a significant number of them do not represent real world fuel properties.

“This validates the concerns UAI has raised for years, that ethanol is penalized because the studies EPA uses do not accurately model the emission reducing benefits of ethanol,” said UAI Technical Director Steve Vander Griend. “The information uncovered by this study aids UAI in our ongoing efforts to fully understand the dangers of aromatics used in today’s gasoline.”

The study was conducted by Future Fuel Strategies and relied on the experience of highly regarded experts with emissions, vehicle modeling, and fuel and refinery expertise. Many of the studies they focused on were organized by the Coordinated Research Council (CRC), which has the support of the petroleum industry and is relied upon by the EPA for fuels and emissions data. In addition to the study, the consultants have written two different technical papers, one of which is already in peer review. The results of the analysis will also be presented at the CRC Real World Emission Workshop in March.

Test fuels are critical to the ethanol industry because they are the supporting evidence the EPA uses to establish fuel regulations that dictate the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline. UAI believes this third party analysis can be used as a tool to establish a consensus on how to model test fuels moving forward. The goal would be for the EPA to create a fuel blending standard.

EPA, Ethanol, Ethanol News, Urban Air Initiative