Re-evaluating effectiveness of vehicle emission control programmes targeting high-emitters


Estimating emission distribution within a vehicle fleet is critical for air pollution control. Previous studies reported that more than half of total fleet emissions were produced by only the highest 10% emitters, making repairing or deregistering a small percentage of high-emitters the most cost-effective measure to control vehicle emissions. With diesel emissions data from chassis dynamometer testing and on-road remote sensing, we show that such a strategy may be oversimplified.

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Fig. 1: Distributions of instantaneous emission factors (EFs) measured by remote sensing and chassis dynamometer.
Fig. 2: Emission contribution by the dirtiest 10% emitters of Euro 3–5 diesel light goods vehicles (<3.5 t).

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding authors upon request.


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We thank the Hong Kong Environmental Protection Department for providing the chassis dynamometer testing and remote sensing data used in this study. The contents of this paper are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent official views of the Hong Kong SAR Government.

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Y.-S.Y. suggested undertaking this study of correcting the skewness of vehicle emission distribution concluded from remote sensing studies. Y.H. completed the analysis and wrote the manuscript. All authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript.

Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Yuhan Huang or John L. Zhou.

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Supplementary Information

Supplementary methods, discussion, Figs. 1–4, Tables 1–5 and references.

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Huang, Y., Surawski, N.C., Yam, Y. et al. Re-evaluating effectiveness of vehicle emission control programmes targeting high-emitters. Nat Sustain (2020).

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