Long time car authority service Edmunds recently conducted an interesting series of emissions tests. The group found that a Ford Raptor pickup truck, with an enormous V-8, emits less pollution than a gas operated leaf blower.
What the truck
The Ford F150 Raptor pickup is not an environmentalist’s dream. The truck has a monster 6.2-liter eight-cylinder engine that produces 411 horsepower and 434 foot-pounds of torque.
Most people would expect this thing would get terrible gas mileage — and it does. They would also expect that it produces far more pollutants than, say, a Fiat 500 or a leaf blower. However, according to USA Today, testing has revealed that is not the case.
Tests used federal standards
Car information service Edmunds, through its Inside Line publication, conducted testing at the Automotive Research Center, a testing facility owned by the American Automotive Association. The facility conducts Federal Testing Procedure 75, or FTP-75 emission cycles tests, which are used by Environmental Protection Agency for testing emissions.
Emissions are measured during a 505-second period after a cold start, an 864-second normal operation period and a repeat of the 505-second operation after ignition, though it occurs after the engine has been warmed for other tests. Testing simulates driving conditions by varying acceleration, idling and so forth. Leaf blowers were tested instead of other tools such as lawnmowers or weed whackers, as the adjustable speed compares more easily to a car.
Leaf blowers emit more pollution than several cars
The tests examine emissions of three greenhouse gases: oxides of nitrogen, non-methane hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide.
The Raptor emitted 0.005 grams of NMHC per minute, 0.005 g/m of Nox and 0.276 g/m of carbon monoxide. The Fiat let off 0.016 g/m of NMHC, 0.010 g/m of Nox and 0.192 g/m of CO. The Ryobi produced 0.182 g/m of NMHC, 0.031 g/m of Nox and 3.717 g/m of CO. The Echo produced 1.495 g/m of NMHC, 0.010 g/m of Nox and 6.445 g/m of CO.
The leaf blowers still emitted more NMHC and CO when idling than the cars did during the first cold-start test. The lab also measured the air in the lab for NMHC emissions, finding that there were fewer NMHC parts per million while the Raptor was operating than before the testing began. The Raptor would have to be driven from Texas to Alaska to emit the same amount of NMHC as the Echo.
Green wisdom challenged
Conventional wisdom about car emissions is being challenged all the time. For instance, according to Car Advice Australia, a 2010 scientific paper calculated that if a Tesla Roadster is charged at a typical home receiving power from a coal-fired power plant, the carbon monoxide emissions from the power plant in charging the Roadster would be 25 percent more per year than if a person drove a gas-powered Lotus Elise, the car the Roadster was based on.