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Could more fuel-efficient engines lead to more global warming?

Date:
July 13, 2016
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Auto industry experts predict that more than 50 percent of cars on the road by 2020 will use a relatively new type of fuel-efficient engine. This transition, however, has raised questions about its ultimate effect on the climate. A new study has found that because the newer engines emit higher levels of the climate-warming pollutant black carbon than traditional engines, their impact on the climate is uncertain.
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Cars with newer gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines emit more black carbon than those with traditional port fuel injection (PFI) engines, but installing filters could mitigate this.
Credit: American Chemical Society

Auto industry experts predict that more than 50 percent of cars on the road by 2020 will use a relatively new type of fuel-efficient engine. This transition, however, has raised questions about its ultimate effect on the climate. A study published in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology has found that because the newer engines emit higher levels of the climate-warming pollutant black carbon than traditional engines, their impact on the climate is uncertain.

Naomi Zimmerman and colleagues analyzed four scenarios based on reported black carbon emissions from both traditional port fuel injection engines and newer gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines. They determined that installing efficient particulate filters in vehicles with GDI engines -- even if they slightly lower fuel efficiency -- could likely balance this trade-off and benefit the climate. But this outcome is not a given and depends on a variety of factors that can impact black carbon emissions such as engine design, fuel composition and geographic location.


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Materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Naomi Zimmerman, Jonathan M. Wang, Cheol-Heon Jeong, James S. Wallace, Greg J. Evans. Assessing the Climate Trade-Offs of Gasoline Direct Injection Engines. Environmental Science & Technology, 2016; DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.6b01800

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "Could more fuel-efficient engines lead to more global warming?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 July 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160713100725.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2016, July 13). Could more fuel-efficient engines lead to more global warming?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 25, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160713100725.htm
American Chemical Society. "Could more fuel-efficient engines lead to more global warming?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160713100725.htm (accessed May 25, 2017).

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