In the fight to curb the effects of global warming and climate change, the main focus has always been to stem the tide of increasing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle exhaust systems. Yet what many are not aware is that there is an even greater pollutant poisoning our air — tires.
Yes, tire wear and brake dust are two of the most rampant pollutants that are contributing to air pollution. And the sad part is that these are largely left unchecked.
This is according to Emissions Analytics, an independent global testing and data specialist for the scientific measurement of vehicle exhaust emissions. In its report, Emissions Analytics says that tire wear, for instance, can pollute the air up to 100 times more than exhaust gases
With stricter regulations already in place in most countries around the world, vehicle emissions are now limited to 4.5 milligrams per kilometer. A typical hatchback that is fitted with ordinary on-road tires, for instance, can emit up to 5.6 grams per kilometer due to rubber degradation.
The report goes on to say that tire wear can be heightened by factors such as rough roads, underinflated tires, and budget tires that don’t pas quality standards. Interestingly, even electric vehicles (which are heavier than their gasoline-engine counterparts) can wear tires much quicker. While each of these can easily be checked (well, the underinflation, at least), regulators might want to think twice about including this in their checklist of stuff to monitor in terms of pollutants.
Of course, it is easier said that done. But with proper technical know-how, legislation, and enforcement, it can be done. In the meantime, it would be wise to have those tires properly inflated and brakes cleaned every so often. Not only will this save fuel and keep you out of harm’s way, it will likewise lessen your carbon footprint.