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Light duty gasoline vehicles
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In US legislation, the light duty vehicle (LDV) category includes all vehicles of less than 8,500 lbs (3,859 kg) gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR, meaning vehicle weight plus rated cargo capacity). LDVs are further divided into the following sub-categories (w1):

  • passenger cars

  • light light-duty trucks (LLDT), below 6,000 lbs GVWR

  • heavy light-duty trucks (HLDT), above 6,000 lbs GVWR

In Europe, vehicles of less than 3,500 kg gross vehicle weight belong to the light-duty sector and vehicles with more than 3,500 kg GVW are referred to as heavy duty vehicles (HDVs). Light-duty vehicle (LDV) technology is derived from passenger car developments, though the higher vehicle weight requires more engine power.

Emission reduction measures for spark-ignition engines include the following:

  • Three-way catalysts (TWC) with closed-loop control

  • Changes in engine design and combustion conditions

  • Electronically controlled ignition

  • Special measures for reducing cold-start and idling emissions

  • Exact fuel metering by fuel injection

  • Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR)

A thorough discussion of these technologies can be found in document (1) "Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles - Standards and Technologies for Controlling Emissions", Asif Faiz, Christopher S. Weaver, Michael P. Walsh, 1996, 266 pages.

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The development and improvement of the emission control technologies listed above were induced by tightened emission standards in North America, Europe and Japan. They led to a drastic reduction of toxic pollutant emissions from vehicles over the last few decades. This trend is continuing through successively tighter emission standards in many parts of the world. These standards essentially reflect the emission reduction potential to be achieved by emission control technologies for light duty vehicles.

US federal regulations treat diesel and gasoline powered cars in the same way from 2004 onwards. Previously there existed a more relaxed NOx limit for diesels (w2). In Europe, emission standards for diesel and gasoline powered vehicles are different at present with diesel CO cleaner than gasoline but diesels dirtier for NOx and PM. It is however considered within the EU to consolidate these standards for EURO V in 2010. The table below shows the evolution of European emission standards for gasoline light commercial vehicles from 1994 through 2006.

Fulfilling the standards implies that the vehicles are equipped with three-way catalytic converters. That means that the gasoline has to be lead-free and that the sulphur content should be on a low level (<50 ppm starting in 2005).

Class Tier Year CO HC HC+NOx NOx

Diesel

N1<1305 kg

Euro 1

1994.10

2.72

-

0.97

-

Euro 2

1998.01

2.2

-

0.50

-

Euro 3

2000.01

2.3

0.20

-

0.15

Euro 4

2005.01

1.0

0.1

-

0.08

N21305-1760 kg

Euro 1

1994.10

5.17

-

1.40

-

Euro 2

1998.01

4.0

-

0.65

-

Euro 3

2002.01

4.17

0.25

-

0.18

Euro 4

2006.01

1.81

0.13

-

0.10

N3>1760 kg

Euro 1

1994.10

6.90

-

1.70

-

Euro 2

1998.01

5.0

-

0.80

-

Euro 3

2002.01

5.22

0.29

-

0.21

Euro 4

2006.01

2.27

0.16

-

0.11

Note: For Euro 1/2 the weight classes were N1 (<1250 kg), N2 (1250-1700 kg), N3 (>1700 kg).Measured in the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC)

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Gasoline combustion systems have been used in the transport sector for many decades, especially in the light duty portion of the market. They are considered to be very reliable, especially in comparison to more recent technologies employing alternative power trains.

Advanced pollution control systems have also demonstrated great reliability but only when properly maintained and when using the correct fuel.

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Cost estimates are contained in Document (1) "Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles - Standards and Technologies for Controlling Emissions", Asif Faiz, Christopher S. Weaver, Michael P. Walsh, 1996, 266 pages.

For gasoline powered cars, emission reduction technologies such as three-way catalysts have been standard components of new cars for many years in the US and Europe. Price increases can be considered marginal in comparison to the total cost of the vehicle. Retrofitting catalysts may be slightly more expensive.

In a report for congress in October 2000 (w3), it was stated that the "EPA predicts that the new regulations (the "Tier 2" standards, which will be phased in between model year 2004 and 2009) will cost less than $100 per vehicle for most passenger cars, less than $200 for most light trucks, and approximately $350 for larger passenger trucks, with no increases in the cost of vehicle care and maintenance.

Some additional costs result from the necessity of lead-free gasoline (for proper catalyst operation), and the demand for low sulfur gasoline (for optimal operation of most aftertreatment devices).

Experience over the past decade has shown that the actual costs of complying with emissions standards frequently turn out to be less than originally estimated.

Since most of vehicle manufacturers are working on the international arena, producing the same product worldwide, there might be a possibility that vehicles produced not meeting the present regulations in Europe, USA and Japan will be more expensive because those vehicles have to be produced separately. In some odd cases, suppliers of components may not even be able to produce the components needed for building vehicles to the old specifications.

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The technologies listed above are now for the most part well established on the European and North American markets. Three-way catalytic converters for gasoline LDVs and the optimization of engine operation are widely used for emission control in Europe, Japan and the United States.

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Developing countries will have to meet the challenge to provide the necessary fuel quality in terms of absence of lead and low sulfur content on the one hand, and to have the human resources to maintain the advanced technology vehicles on the other hand. Even for vehicles with little or no controls, assuring good vehicle maintenance can minimize emissions within the capability of the technology.

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