1Department of Preventive Medicine, Environmental Health Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
2Department of Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA 92617, USA
3Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089, USA
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Abstract. To evaluate the success of vehicle emissions regulations, trends in both fleet-wide average emissions as well as high-emitter emissions are needed, but it is challenging to capture the full spread of vehicle emission factors (EFs) with chassis dynamometer or tunnel studies, and remote sensing studies cannot evaluate particulate compounds. We developed an alternative method that links real-time on-road pollutant measurements from a mobile platform with real-time traffic data, and allows efficient calculation of both the average and the spread of EFs for light-duty gasoline-powered vehicles (LDG) and heavy-duty diesel-powered vehicles (HDD). This is the first study in California to report EFs under a full range of real-world driving conditions on multiple freeways. Fleet average LDG EFs were in agreement with most recent studies and an order of magnitude lower than observed HDD EFs. HDD EFs reflected the relatively rapid decreases in diesel emissions that have recently occurred in Los Angeles/California, and on I-710, a primary route used for goods movement and a focus of additional truck fleet turnover incentives, HDD EFs were often lower than on other freeways. When freeway emission rates (ER) were quantified as the product of EF and vehicle miles traveled (VMT) per time per mile of freeway, despite a two- to three-fold difference in HDD fractions between freeways, ERs were found to be generally similar in magnitude. Higher LDG VMT on low HDD fraction freeways largely offset the difference. Therefore, the conventional assumption that freeways with the highest HDD fractions are significantly worse sources of total emissions in Los Angeles may no longer be~true.