Characterizations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from vehicular emissions at roadside environment: The first comprehensive study in Northwestern China

Bowei Li, Steven Sai Hang Ho, Yonggang Xue, Yu Huang, Liqin Wang, Yan Cheng, Wenting Dai, Haobin Zhong, Junji Cao, Shuncheng Lee

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

89 Citations (Scopus)


A first comprehensive campaign was conducted at an urban roadside in Xi'an, China in summer, 2016. A total of 57 VOCs, as known as critical surface ozone (O3) precursors, and other trace gases were measured simultaneously during the sampling period. Iso-pentane, a tracer of gasoline evaporation, was the most abundant VOC in the roadside samples, followed by isobutane and benzene, attributed to the largest composition (∼70%) of gasoline-fueled vehicles on the road. The molar ratio of toluene/benzene (T/B) in our study (0.36) is far lower than the range reported in other cities, indicating the stronger contributions from diesel emissions. The results of source apportionment achieved with positive matrix factorization (PMF) receptor model were highly consistent with the vehicles compositions, strongly evidenced that the precise characterization of the VE sources from those marker species. The degrees of individual compound contributed to O3production were weighed by ozone formation potential (OFP). Propylene (20%), 1-butene (11%) and iso-pentane(10%) were the top three contributors at the roadside. The information of this study complements the VOCs database regarding to the VE sources in Northwestern China.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Ozone precursors
  • Roadside
  • Source apportionment
  • Vehicular emissions
  • VOCs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Atmospheric Science

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