All vehicles produce emissions as fossil fuel is burned and converted into energy. Unfortunately, like most other emissions, these usually end up in the atmosphere.
The damage to the environment and the planet’s populations is clear. Emissions are mainly composed of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons – all which create numerous problems. They cause smog, acid rain, health problems and they allegedly deplete the layer in the atmosphere that keeps us protected from the direct rays of the sun. Personally, having researched both sides of the argument, I am not entirely sold on the arguments for global warming. But the damage to peoples’ health is very real and does concern me.
Trace elements in fossil fuels have harmful effects too. Sulphur and heavy metals cannot be completely eliminated during refining. And when fuel is not fully combusted, these emissions become a danger to your health.
There are steps you can take as an individual to make sure that your contribution to these emissions is minimized. A major contribution to excess emissions is poor maintenance and a fuel system and engine made inefficient due to deposit build-up. Using higher quality fuels and/or regular fuel treatments/conditioners can help ensure these areas – as well as the components designed to neutralise or capture emissions – are clean and function efficiently. This includes the catalytic converter and diesel particulate filters for the majority of diesel vehicles that now have them. By tending to these areas, we can help keep harmful engine emissions to a minimum.
Ensure engine sensors have not degraded, particularly those that contribute towards air/fuel ratio calculations. Dirty airflow sensors in particular reduce combustion efficiency resulting in an increase in exhaust emissions.
There are cars available in the market today that are designed to be more environmentally friendly, such as hybrids. If you are serious about reducing car emissions then these cannot be ignored. However, the actual benefits of electric or partly-electric vehicles are widely debated. Some argue that the harmful emissions that are prevented are negated by the cost of manufacturing and later decommissioning the battery cells for these vehicles.
In addition to better maintenance and vehicle alternatives, behavioural changes also can reduce emissions. It’s a tough bullet to chew, but have you ever considered driving less? Why should you drive everywhere if you can walk or cycle there? It’s a serious point that we all should consider. Even carpooling or using public transportation can help cut emissions by simply having fewer vehicles on the road.
What do you do when you are caught in traffic? Most people will just let their engines idle and continue to use fuel and create emissions. The best thing to do is switch it off altogether. In fact, car emissions peak at rush hour so if more people turned off their engines there would definitely be considerably less pollution. BMW officials, for their part, are addressing this issue with their Auto Start Stop function, which automatically turns off a vehicle when it comes to a complete halt and then restarts it automatically when it is time to move. In time the problem caused by idling will likely become moot as most other manufacturers incorporate similar features.
While buying a new vehicle or walking to work might not be an option for you, there are steps you can take to reduce the emissions you create. And it can be as simple as keeping your engine clean.
As mentioned earlier, fuel system and engine deposits considerably increase car emissions. As the flow pattern deteriorates on fuel injectors, the efficiency of the engine is reduced. More hydrocarbons are produced as a result, in turn depositing carbon in the combustion and post-combustion areas such as the exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system. This reduces efficiency further and results in even more car emissions. It’s a dwindling spiral and ‘before and after’ emissions tests demonstrate the improvements made by cleaning the fuel system.
While some fuels are marketed as having cleaning properties, the fact is they aren’t using fuel catalyst chemistry to prevent deposit build-up from occurring, even with the latest fuel-efficient engines. The answer is to use professional treatments on a regular basis to keep the fuel system and engine free of deposits.
For more information on treatments to keep your fuel system and engine clean, please don’t hesitate to contact us.