Air pollution from tyre wear worse than exhaust emissions

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Words: Josh Revell
12 Mar 2020

That’s what a UK study conducted by Emission Analytics is suggesting, which says the air pollution emitted from car tyres can be up to 1000 times worse than those from the exhaust system.

Non-exhaust emissions are expected to rise by three per cent by 2030, due in part to tightening regulations around spent exhaust gas. The Air Quality Expert Group in the UK (AQEG) warned that urgent action must be taken to reduce emissions relating to tyre and brake use.

Testing firm, Emissions Analytics, conducted some initial tyre wear tests using a hatchback running on brand new, correctly inflated tyres to determine the level of "non-exhaust [particulate] emissions" the car generated. It found the particulate matter produced by the vehicle's tyres, brakes, and the road surface amounted to 5.8 grams of these ‘non-exhaust emissions’ per kilometre driven.

Compared with the exhaust emission regulations of 4.5 milligrams per kilometre, emissions from tyre wear are higher by a factor of over 1000. In contrast to exhaust emissions, tyre wear emissions are not regulated.

Emissions Analytics believes that underinflated tyres, rough road surfaces, and budget tyres could contribute to higher tyre wear emissions.

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