Silent success as cars clean up
BREATH EASY: Toxic stuff from British traffic is down by 80% - and there's good news about trucks, too.
Research by the Institute of Advanced Motorists in the UK has shown that toxins in vehicle exhaust fumes have fallen by 80 percent since their peak in 1990 - and that today’s new trucks are quieter than 1970’s cars.
The findings in ‘Toxic Emissions and Noise’, just published by the IAM, show that the noise made by the average family car is now 74 decibels - normal conversation is between 60 and 70 decibels.
Bus levels are 78 decibels and heavy trucks 80 decibels; back in 1972 the level for a car was 82 decibels.
QUIET TYRES HELP
IAM director of policy and research, Neil Greig, said: “Long-term exposure to road noise has been linked to stress and high blood-pressure, so it’s good news that we’re turning down the volume on Britain’s vehicles.
“Yet drivers can reduce noise further by fitting low rolling-resistance tyres and keeping to the speed limit. Starting up and moving off quickly in your diesel also helps and keeps the neighbours happy.”
Toxic exhaust emissions are also falling, the research has shown. Lead emissions, in particular, are now close to zero and carbon monoxide emissions are a quarter of their 1990s levels. While this, the IAM says, is largely due to catalytic converters cleaning exhaust gases and the introduction of lead-free petrol, drivers can also take action to reduce levels of toxic exhaust.
LABELS FOR RUBBER
Greig said: “Driving at a constant speed is far more fuel-efficient than accelerating and braking. Anything that makes traffic slow down and speed up is bad for both fuel consumption and air quality - particulates such as brake dust and toxic gases.”
Tyre labelling will make eco-driving even easier in Europe in 2012. By the end of that year every new tyre will carry a label indicating by how much it will affect fuel efficiency, how it will perform in rain and rolling noise in decibels.