Detecting candidate high NOx emitting light commercial vehicles using vehicle emission remote sensing

Sci Total Environ. 2022 Jun 1;823:153699. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.153699. Epub 2022 Feb 7.


Vehicle emission remote sensing devices have been widely used for monitoring and assessing the real-world emission performance of vehicles. They are also well-suited to identify candidate high emitting vehicles as remote sensing surveys measure the on-road, real-driving emissions (RDE) of a high proportion of the operational vehicle fleet passing through a testing site. This study uses the Gumbel distribution to characterize the fuel-specific NOx emission rates (g·kg-1) from diesel vans (formally referred to as light commercial vehicles or LCVs) and screen candidate high emitting vehicles. Van emission trends of four European countries (Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK) from Euro 3 to Euro 6a/b have been studied, and the impact of road grade on candidate Euro 6a/b high-emitters is also evaluated. The measurements of Euro 6a/b fleets from four countries are pooled together, and a consistent 4% of candidate high-emitters are found in both class II and class III Euro 6a/b vans, accounting for an estimated 24% and 21% total NOx emissions respectively. The pooled four country data is differentiated by vehicle models and manufacture groups. Engine downsizing of Euro 6a/b class II vans is suspected to worsen the emission performance when vehicles are driven under high engine load. The VW Group is found to be the manufacture with cleanest NOx emission performance in the Euro 6a/b fleets. By distinguishing high-emitters from normally behaving vehicles, a more robust description of fleet behaviour can be provided and high-emitting vehicles targeted for further testing by plume chasing or in an inspection garage. If the vehicle is found to have a faulty, deteriorated or tampered emission after-treatment system, the periodic vehicle inspection safety and environmental performance certificate could be revoked.

Keywords: High-emitters identification; NO(x) emissions; Remote sensing; Vans.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants* / analysis
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Motor Vehicles
  • Remote Sensing Technology
  • Vehicle Emissions* / analysis


  • Air Pollutants
  • Vehicle Emissions