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why do cars produce oxides of nitrogen, sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide?
Your car runs by burning petrol or diesel (a complex blend of lots of different chemicals collectively called hydrocarbons) to produce harmless Carbon Dioxide and water. [ There are, however, some by products of this process. Some of these hydrocarbons do not get burned in your engine and pass through the exhaust unchanged. There are two in particular, called Benzene and 1:3 Butadiene that can be harmful. Not all the fuel burns up completely, so some Carbon Monoxide (CO) is also produced. These are the main pollutants produced by older, petrol driven cars, with diesels of all kinds burning
their fuel much more completely, so producing negligible amounts of them. In the 1980s, there was a move towards "lean burn" petrol engine technology — increasing the amount of air with the fuel in the engine so that more of the fuel is completely burned up. This reduces the amount of the first two pollutants but tends to encourage the oxygen and nitrogen in the air to combine to produce Nitrogen Oxides (NOx). If your petrol car was registered after 1993, it will be fitted with a catalytic converter which removes 95% of these three pollutants from the exhaust as compared with a similar 1976 model. Exhausts can also contain Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) from impurities in the fuel, but only 3% of the total emissions of this substance come from transport, the rest mainly from industry and power generation. Recently, a health threat has been identified from Particulates, or PM10s, which are microscopic soot particles produced in the combustion process. Very little particulate emission (5%) is from petrol engines, though, with much more (19%) coming from diesels, disproportionately from the larger diesels in trucks and buses. The National Environmental Technology Centre (NETCEN) recently suggested that one bus can produce as many particulates as 128 typical cars. ]
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Expert answered|selymi|Points 8132|
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Asked 4/28/2012 4:11:02 AM
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