Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. 5 Essential Things to Know About Car Emissions

5 Essential Things to Know About Car Emissions

car emissions

As long as there are gasoline vehicles, there will be vehicle emissions. Although technology is improving all the time, pollution produced by the incomplete combustion of vehicle engines poses hazards to not only the environment, but to human health as well.

If you’ve ever wondered how car emissions work, here are some important facts about these vapors, particles, and fumes that are released by gasoline and diesel engines into the surrounding environment.

Exhaust Emissions

Engine combustion causes the release of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons. These byproducts of engine operation create damaging greenhouse gases. Exhaust emissions are produced in two ways: cold start – the first few minutes after starting the car – because the engine is not at optimal operating temperature, and running exhaust emissions, which exit the tailpipe during driving and idling.

Evaporative Emissions

These are VOCs which escape while the vehicle is running, during the cooldown period, in the night when the car is sitting stationary, as well as vapors that escape the gas tank during refueling.

Vehicle Pollutants Affect More Than the Ozone Layer

Vapors and particulates that exit vehicles through the exhaust system come to settle on soil and in bodies of water, affecting not only the people who rely upon that land for food, but also wildlife that lives there.

Cars Are Major Contributors to Air Pollution

According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) vehicles are responsible for more than 50% of the air pollution in the United States. Americans travel more than 246 trillion miles each year.

Electric Cars May or May Not Help

As alternative car technology advances, gas usage decreases and with that, vehicle emissions are reduced. However, in locations that depend upon fossil fuels to produce conventional electricity, the benefits of electric and hybrid vehicles are reduced due to the emissions produced by the power plants necessary to provide energy to charge electric car batteries. Some locations utilize cleaner energy sources to produce electricity, which tips the balance, giving electric cars an advantage over traditional engines in terms of emissions.

The combination of cleaner fuels, more efficient engines, and better alternative vehicle technology is effectively reducing the impact of emissions on humans and the environment. In addition, 32 states require emissions testing of vehicles, further helping to keep pollution under control.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

P2159 OBD-II Trouble Code: Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance
Diagnostic Trouble Code (DTC): P2159 P2159 code definition Vehicle Speed Sensor B Range/Performance...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...
P0477 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Pressure Control Valve Low
P0477 code means that the PCM has detected an abnormally low voltage reading often due to the exhaust back pressure control valve circuit.


Related questions

Q: Car cannot pass inspection

It is hard to say what the issue is exactly without knowing what Diagnostic Trouble Codes or DTC's are present in your vehicles engine computer. A DTC is an automatic fail in most states, if there are no DTC's the...

Q: Do All States Require Emissions Testing?

The short answer is – yes, every state requires emission testing. However, there can be a lot of variation from state to state and even within a state. All states require annual or biennial tests, but in many states, testing...

Q: Can't pass emissions.

The system should be scanned and the 02 sensors checked when the system is enriched to see if the sensors respond correctly. You could just have a defective sensor or a convertor that is bad. Only these tests can determine...