Air quality research

Life cycle analysis of vehicle fuels and technology

This study, prepared by Ecolane Consultancy in 2006, covered petrol, diesel, biodiesel, natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, battery electric, hybrid electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles:

  • battery electric vehicles, recharged using renewably sourced electricity, have the least overall environmental impact, reduced by 70% - compared to a petrol vehicles, with 100% reduction in tail-pipe air pollution emissions
  • petrol hybrids perform second best with overall impact is reduced by around 26%, tail-pipe air pollution emission reduced by 90%.
  • liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas (CNG) vehicles deliver 18%-19% reduction in the overall environmental impact, fewer NOx emissions than petrol and virtually no particulate matter emissions
  • vehicle size is strongly correlated to overall environmental impact.  Larger vehicles require higher fuel use, and more materials and assembly energy during manufacture leading to greater overall environmental impacts compared to smaller sized vehicles

Informed by the results of this study, Camden are promoting the uptake of electric and hybrid vehicles as well encouraging residents and businesses to downsize their cars. Research by the Government has identified electric and plug-in hybrids vehicles as the most promising technologies that can help achieve significant reduction in CO2 emissions from road transport in the UK, and deliver benefits to local air quality.

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