A regulatory gap permits automakers such as Ford and BMW in the United States to produce cars that emit higher levels of ultrafine particles than comparable models on European markets. This is according to new research.
Emissions Analytics in Britain took four pairs from Ford and Toyota to compare the effects of different tailpipe filters. These are used extensively in Europe and limit harmful particle emissions. However, the regulations in America do not allow for the use of these tailpipe filters.
China and India have similar standards to Europe.
A gasoline particulate filter can cost carmakers $200, according to estimates. Emissions Analytics estimated around 300 million gasoline-powered internal combustion engine (ICE (NYSE:)) vehicles travelling 10,000 miles annually on US roads for the next decade will unnecessarily emit 1.6 septillion (1,600,000,000,000,000,000,000,000) harmful particles. Emissions Analytics CEO Nick Molden said that "Emissions control is not a simple task." The benefits and risks are minimal in this situation. In a cold start, the European average model emits 83.7% less particles than its counterpart in the United States.
Emissions Analytics found that the Ford Kuga emits the greatest amount of harmful particles. This vehicle consistently emits 95% less pollutants than the Ford Escape in America, while 96% in warm highway starts. Emissions Analytics also identified significant differences between the Toyota RAV4 and Stellantis's BMW X5.
Ford, BMW and Stellantis, as well as Toyota, stated that they make their cars to comply with all applicable regulations. They also stressed the fact they would each invest tens to billions to transition to electric vehicles.
BMW sent an email stating that every BMW car sold in America meets or exceeds US standards.
They are compatible with both gasoline and diesel engines across all markets.
The gasoline vehicles Emissions Analytics that were tested in the United States met the standards of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), without the need for a filter.
Direct injection fuel technology which increases fuel efficiency has led to an increase in the particulate matter that gasoline vehicles emit since 2014 when the US regulation came into effect. Industry experts agree.
Ultrafine particles, which are microscopic in size, can cause lung damage by being drawn into the lungs.
They will be available for sale well into the 2030s even under some of the most extreme US plans to phase out ICEs.
Molden claimed that "there is a strong argument to do whatever we can make ICE vehicle as clean as we possibly can, regardless of the speed or electrification."
Allen Schaeffer (executive director, Diesel Technology Forum) estimated that about half the North American vehicles were sold by gasoline direct-injection vehicles.
The EPA responded to emailed questions by saying that while car manufacturers had satisfied its requirements without the need for filters, they are now looking into filters and other technology in order to create new regulations.
According to the agency, "We expect to continue to encourage stricter emission standards for vehicles moving forward."