New Fuels Technology Impacts

The New Fuels Technology Impacts activity ensures that advanced fuel formulations are environmentally friendly and do not produce adverse effects on the ecosystem. To avoid unexpected, adverse environmental impacts from new vehicle technologies, this research proactively evaluates the impacts of changes in fuel, engine, and aftertreatment technologies on the ecosystem. Because new vehicle technologies are both exploratory and developmental, they are not yet in the commercial stages typically regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The New Fuels Technology Impacts work includes research on ozone and particulate matter [both primary (directly emitted from mobile sources) and secondary (formed in the atmosphere from oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide, and organic gases)]. Fuels examined include gasoline, diesel, biodiesel, natural gas, methanol, and ethanol.

Current research includes:

  • Identifying major air quality problems affected by fuel-related emissions.
  • Examining emissions from heavy and light vehicles.
  • Studying the transport and fate of pollutants and their precursors, and
  • Supporting the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in health effects studies of heavy- and light-vehicle exhaust


Gasoline Vehicle Particulate Matter Study: Researchers are collecting on-road vehicle emissions data in Kansas City, Missouri, to validate and update the EPA’s MOBILE 6.2 vehicle emissions model.

Air Toxics Source Apportionment Study: Working with representatives of California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District and Health Effects Institute, researchers are conducting an ambient study to identify pollution source types responsible for elevated air toxics pollutant concentrations in Los Angeles, California.

Weekday/Weekend Differences in Pollutant Concentrations in Different U.S. Locations DOE scientists, together with the Coordinating Research Council, are conducting analyses of ambient air quality data in the Northeast, Chicago/Lake Michigan, Atlanta, Houston/Gulf Coast region, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver, and Phoenix areas to quantify changes in emissions on weekends that lead to elevated weekend ozone levels throughout the United States. This project will provide information about the most effective and least costly means of reducing ambient ozone levels in urban areas.

Diesel Particulate Measurement Research Study: In collaboration with the EPA, Engine Manufacturers Association, the Coordinating Research Council, and other groups, researchers are developing and validating particulate matter sampling methods needed to meet the EPA’s 2007 heavy-duty diesel engine certification standards.

Weekend Particulate Matter Nitrate Study: Researchers are studying the relationship between large decreases in weekend nitrogen oxide emissions and their influence on particulate nitrate concentrations in Los Angeles.


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