Tyres Have More Emissions Than Your Engine?

Sat 11th Jun 2022

A major new report has thrown a huge spanner in the works to convert all vehicles to electric emission free engines, with the  news that in some cases, your car’s tyres are more polluting than the exhaust fumes.

The analysis, which has come from one of the world’s leading independent emissions testing consultancies for passenger and commercial vehicleshas found that the increasing weight of cars, is producing almost 2,000 times more particle pollution.

The news is a particular concern as traditional EVs are much heavier than combustion engines due to the weight of the battery within.

Tests have revealed that tyres can produce more than 1tn of ultrafine particles for each kilometre driven, particles of which contain toxic chemicals which can pollute the environment but also enter the human organs via the bloodstream.

Nick Molden, from Emissions Analytics, which published the report, said that more attention needs to switch to other areas in which a car can pollute.

He said: “Tyres are rapidly eclipsing the tailpipe as a major source of emissions from vehicles. Tailpipes are now so clean for pollutants that, if you were starting out afresh, you wouldn’t even bother regulating them.

“We came to a bewildering amount of material being released into the environment – 300,000 tonnes of tyre rubber in the UK and US, just from cars and vans every year.”

Emissions Analytics have tested almost 250 chemicals found in synthetic rubber tyres, which are mainly derived from crude oil. 

“There are hundreds and hundreds of chemicals, many of which are carcinogenic,” Molden added. “When you multiply it by the total wear rates, you get to some very staggering figures as to what’s being released.

“You could do a lot by eliminating the most toxic tyres. It’s not about stopping people driving, or having to invent completely different new tyres. If you could eliminate the worst half, and maybe bring them in line with the best in class, you can make a massive difference. But at the moment, there’s no regulatory tool, there’s no surveillance.”