Environmental Challenges Facing Road Transport Fuels and Vehicles Outside the USA 932682

Europe is now setting up its own Auto/Oil Programme which will build on existing European data together with results from the excellent work being done by AQIRP (Air Quality Improvement Research Program) in the USA. However, it is vital that Europe learns from the ‘USA lessons’ and tailors its studies to reflect European needs. It is not possible to import AQIRP data lock-stock-and-barrel owing to differences in vehicle types, emission drive cycles, base fuel compositions and, possibly, air quality problems which, unlike the USA, have yet to be defined in Europe. Europe also has a much greater penetration of passenger car diesels. Vehicle design continues to make the most significant contributions to lowering road transport derived emissions, and cleaner fuels can also play a role, but there are dangers in making changes in fuel composition to reduce one specific pollutant that could lead to worse pollution elsewhere.
Motor manufacturers have done much to reduce pollution through improvements to emission control technologies and most easily won low cost effective design solutions have been implemented. However, little has been done to address the wide range in engine appetites that require different fuel compositions for best emissions performance. Such variations are limiting prospects for achieving universally optimum cleaner fuel formulations, as is the wide variation in emission test cycles and their relevance to real world, on-the-road driving behaviour. Whilst it is impractical to change the existing car population design, if indeed it was known what changes were required, it is of paramount importance that these issues are addressed in new vehicles, together with the relevance of drive cycles, if optimum benefits from fuel composition changes are to be achieved in the longer term.
This paper will discuss environmental developments and challenges outside the USA and suggest areas that need to be considered by oil companies and motor manufacturers to give the best chance of ensuring that the most sensible, relevant, meaningful and cost effective legislation is introduced to the benefit of all. Very close collaboration between the motor and oil industries and the open sharing of any jointly generated data with politicians and legislators is a vital part of this achievement.


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