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An In-Service Emissions Test For Spark Ignition Petrol Engines

United Kingdom
United Kingdom Flag
Geo-spatial type
STRIA Roadmaps
Vehicle design and manufacturing (VDM)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

A high proportion of the vehicle fleet now consists of catalyst equipped petrol engined cars.


The current MOT test involves checking a vehicle's emissions at low and high idle only. It is unclear how well the results of these tests represent emissions when the vehicle is being driven.


For this reason the ability of this test to detect excessive on the road emissions from catalyst equipped vehicles needs to be assessed. The project will consider the capabilities of current and future test equipment taking into account the findings of previous UK research on MOT emissions data, including consideration of the detection of oil burning in catalyst equipped vehicles project (S361D/VB).


The project is very similar in scope and structure to research on improving the in-service emissions testing of diesel vehicles, being managed by the Vehicle Inspectorate.


The objectives of this project are to:

  • conduct a literature survey of non-DETR research on in-service emissions testing,
  • define the level of emissions from a catalyst-equipped vehicle which should be considered unacceptable,
  • assess the effectiveness of the current test at identifying vehicles emitting this level of pollutants, and
  • if necessary, propose and evaluate a variety of options for a new, more effective test, resulting in the development of a test protocol and equipment specification for a new in-service test for catalyst equipped cars.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
United Kingdom Department for Transport
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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