. "2 Contribution of Motor Vehicle Transportation to Air Pollution and Energy Consumption." Expanding Metropolitan Highways: Implications for Air Quality and Energy Use -- Special Report 245. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 1995.
The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
EXPANDING METROPOLITAN HIGHWAYS: Implications for Air Quality and Energy Use
1993, 2).1 Pollutants from motor vehicle transport, the focus of this study, are commonly referred to as mobile source emissions.
To comply with the requirements of the 1970 Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) that set allowable concentration and exposure limits for six pollutants considered harmful to public health. The NAAQS are expressed as average concentrations of pollutants over some period of time (see box).2 EPA tracks both the emissions or flows of harmful materials from polluting activities, such as factories and transportation, on the basis of the best available engineering and modeling estimates, and the accumulation of these emissions in the air as concentrations of pollutants, which are directly measured at selected sites throughout the country (Curran et al. 1994, 20; Horowitz 1982, 3–4). Regulatory activities are directed toward attainment of NAAQS (i.e., concentration standards), because health effects are directly related to public exposure to pollutants at specific concentrations.
According to current estimates, transportation sources account for about 45 percent of nationwide emissions of EPA's six criteria pollutants. The range is considerable for each pollutant source (Table 2-1) and there is a high degree of uncertainty with respect to many of the estimates. Ground-level ozone is the most pervasive of the transportation-related pollutants; in 1993 approximately 51 million persons lived in counties that exceeded the ozone standard. Nearly 12 million persons lived in counties that did not meet the carbon monoxide (CO) standard in the same year (Curran et al. 1994, 15).
Highway vehicles are the largest source of transportation-related emissions for nearly every type of pollutant (Table 2-1). In total, they contribute slightly more than one-third of nationwide emissions of the six criteria pollutants.
Formation of Motor Vehicle Emissions
The primary sources of motor vehicle emissions are exhaust emissions from chemical compounds that leave the engine through the tail pipe system and the crankcase and evaporative emissions from the fueling