According to researchers, new-generation petrol engines typically release around 1, 000 times more harmful particles, including carcinogens, than traditional designs do.

According to a European Commission research paper, new gasoline direct injection (GDI) petrol engines have helped carmakers dramatically reduce emissions, and GDI-powered cars are expected to account for almost all new petrol cars sold in Europe by 2020.

Yet, a study, made by the independent technical research institute TÜV Nord finds that GDI engines release about 1,000 times more particles classified by the World Health Organization as harmful than traditional petrol engines, and 10 times more than new diesels.

This is because the engines operate with higher pressure in their cylinders to reduce emissions, tending to produce larger numbers of the particles. European regulations require filters that stop particle emissions to be fitted to all new diesel cars, but there is no mandatory requirement for petrol engines. A filter can cost as little as €50.

“Cars are the largest source of air pollution in Europe’s cities and 90 per cent of European citizens are already exposed to harmful levels of particle pollution,” said Greg Archer, clean vehicles manager at Transport & Environment, a Brussels- based think-tank. “More fuel-efficient, lower-CO2, GDI engines would be a great innovation if they did not emit harmful particles. These particles can be eliminated for the price of a hands-free kit.”

EU research suggests air pollution contributes to 406,000 deaths annually and causes more than 100m lost days of work, costing the EU economy more than €330bn.
Governments in Europe have tried to drive emissions up the power-producing chain, promoting electric or hybrid car technology that essentially moves pollution outside population centres by switching it from car exhausts to power station chimneys.

Via Financial Times


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