• Journal Article

Black carbon concentrations in California vehicles and estimation of in-vehicle diesel exhaust particulate matter exposures


Fruin, S. A., Winer, A. M., & Rodes, C. (2004). Black carbon concentrations in California vehicles and estimation of in-vehicle diesel exhaust particulate matter exposures. Atmospheric Environment, 38(25), 4123-4133.


This research assessed in-vehicle exposures to black carbon (BC) as an indicator of diesel particulate matter (DPM) exposures. Approximately 50 h of real-time Aethalometer BC measurements were made inside vehicles driven on freeway and arterial loops in Los Angeles and Sacramento. Video tapes of the driver's view were transcribed to record the traffic conditions, vehicles followed, and vehicle occupant observations, and these results were tested for their associations with BC concentration. In-vehicle BC concentrations were highest when directly following diesel-powered vehicles, particularly those with low exhaust pipe locations. The lowest BC concentrations were observed while following gasoline-powered passenger cars, on average no different than not following any vehicle. Because diesel vehicles were over-sampled in the field study, results were not representative of real-world driving. To calculate representative exposures, in-vehicle BC concentrations were grouped by the type of vehicle followed, for each road type and congestion level. These groupings were then re-sampled stochastically, in proportion to the fraction of statewide vehicle miles traveled (VMT) under each of those conditions. The approximately 6% of time spent following diesel vehicles led to 23% of the in-vehicle BC exposure, while the remaining exposure was due to elevated roadway BC concentrations. In-vehicle BC exposures averaged 6 mug m(-3) in Los Angeles and the Bay Area, the regions with the highest congestion and the majority of the state's VMT. The statewide average in-vehicle BC exposure was 4 mug m(-3), corresponding to DPM concentrations of 7-23 mug m-3, depending on the Aethalometer response to elemental carbon (EC) and the EC fraction of the DPM. In-vehicle contributions to overall DPM exposures ranged from approximately 30% to 55% of total DPM exposure on a statewide population basis. Thus, although time spent in vehicles was only 1.5 h day(-1) on average, vehicles may be the most important microenvironment for overall DPM exposure. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved