Emission characteristics of nonmethane hydrocarbons from private cars and taxis at different driving speeds in Hong Kong

Hai Guo, S. C. Zou, W. Y. Tsai, L. Y. Chan, D. R. Blake

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

112 Citations (Scopus)


Vehicular emissions are the major sources of a number of air pollutants including nonmethane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) in urban area. The emission composition and emission factors of NMHCs from vehicles are currently lacking in Hong Kong. In this study, speciation and emission factors of NMHCs emitted from gasoline-fuelled private cars and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG)-fuelled taxis at different driving speeds were constructed using a chassis dynamometer. Large variations in the contributions of individual NMHC species to total emission were observed for different private cars at different driving speeds. The variations of individual NMHC emissions were relatively smaller for taxis due to their relatively homogeneous year of manufacture and mileages. Incomplete combustion products like ethane, ethene and propene were the major component of both types of vehicles, while unburned fuel component was also abundant in the exhausts of private cars and taxis (i.e. i-pentane and toluene for private car, and propane and butanes for taxi). Emission factors of major NMHCs emitted from private cars and taxis were estimated. High emission factors of ethane, n-butane, i/n-pentanes, methylpentanes, trimethylpentanes, ethene, propene, i-butene, benzene, toluene and xylenes were found for private cars, whereas propane and i/n-butanes had the highest values for taxis. By evaluating the effect of vehicular emissions on the ozone formation potential (OFP), it was found that the contributions of olefinic and aromatic hydrocarbons to OFP were higher than that from paraffinic hydrocarbons for private car, whereas the contributions of propane and i/n-butanes were the highest for taxis. The total OFP value was higher at lower speeds (≤50 km h-1) for private cars while a minimum value at driving speed of 100 km h-1was found for taxis. At the steady driving speeds, the total contribution of NMHCs emitted from LPG-fuelled taxis to the OFP was much lower than that from gasoline-fuelled private cars. However, at idling state, the contribution of NMHCs from LPG-fuelled vehicles to OFP was comparable to that from gasoline-fuelled vehicles. The findings obtained in this study can be used to mitigate the air pollution caused by vehicles in highly dense urban areas.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2711-2721
Number of pages11
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


  • Driving speed
  • Emission factor
  • Nonmethane hydrocarbon
  • Ozone formation potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • Atmospheric Science


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