Motoring News

Exhaust pollution slashed – but what about brake and tyre dust?

JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng – Tight United Natiions regulation of exhaust emissions by the European Union has almost eliminated exhaust particle pollution but tyre wear and braek-dust pollution remains unregulated.

They can, according to testing business Emissions Analytics, be 1000 times worse, especially from SUVs – ”as does growing sales of heavy electric vehicles and widespread use of budget tyres”.

”Fitting only high-quality tyres and reducing vehicle weight,” EA says, ”are needed to reduce non-exhaust pollution. Particles from tyres and brakes are very serious and a growing environmental problem being exacerbated by the increasing popularity of large and heavy vehicles.


”Growing demand for electric vehicles, which are heavier than standard cars because of their batteries is also a problem.”

Vehicle tyre wear pollution, EA ssys, is unregulated but has been rapidly reduced by automakers after pressure from European emissions standards. However, particles released into the air from brake-pads, tyre wear, the road-surface wear road dust.”

”No legislation,” EA says, ”is in place to limit or reduce these emissions but do raise concern about air quality.”

To understand the scale of the problem, EA – an independent, global, testing and data specialist for the scientific measurement of emissions – performed some initial tyre wear testing using a popular family hatchback running on new, correctly-inflated, tyres.


The result was 5.8g/km of particles. Exhaust emission limits, EA says, are 4.5mg/km so tyre-wear caused more than 1000 times exhaust emissions – or higher with under-inflated tyres or coarse roads.

Richard Lofthouse, senior researcher at Emissions Analytics, told The Corner in a media release: “It’s time to consider not just what comes out of a car’s exhaust but also particle pollution from tyre and brake wear.

“What is even more frightening (to EA, at least – Ed) is that while exhaust emissions have been tightly regulated for many years tyre wear is still unregulated. Increasing growth in sales of heavier SUVs and battery-powered electric cars, non-exhaust emissions, are a very serious problem.”


Nick Molden, CEO of EA, added: “The challenge to the industry and regulators is an almost complete black hole of consumer information, undone by, frankly, out-of-date regulations still preoccupied with exhaust emissions.

”Short term, fitting better quality tyres, correctly inflated, is a way to reduce NEE’s. Ultimately, though, the auto industry might have to find ways to reduce vehicle weight.

”Whether that will lead to harder wearing tyres is not for us to say – but change has to come.”

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