A new analytical method, absorption of tunable diode laser radiation, can detect small concentrations of gases with fast response. This technique has been applied to the detection of vehicle sulfate emissions in the form of sulfuric acid (H2SO4) vapor. Previously available methods for sulfate analysis required collecting samples for 10 min. or more. Our laser system has a response time of 2.4 s. This allowed tracking the sulfate emissions of a vehicle during a Highway Fuel Economy Test. The data suggests that catalyst temperature is the major parameter controlling sulfate emissions and that storage and release of sulfur occurs at low and high catalyst temperatures, respectively.The same method detected methane during both the Highway Fuel Economy Test and the Federal Test Procedure. It identified the conditions, and corresponding concentrations, for high methane emissions. A qualitative comparison with total hydrocarbon emissions uncovered significant differences during accelerations.