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European regulatory framework and particulate matter emissions of gasoline light-duty vehicles: A review

The particulate matter (PM) emissions of gasoline vehicles were much lower than those of diesel vehicles until the introduction of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in the early 2000s. At the same time, gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines started to become popular in the market due to their improved efficiency over port fuel injection (PFI) ones. However, the PM mass and number emissions of GDI vehicles were higher than their PFI counterparts and diesel ones equipped with DPFs. Stringent PM mass levels and the introduction of particle number limits for GDI vehicles in the European Union (EU) resulted in significant PM reductions. The EU requirement to fulfil the proposed limits on the road resulted to the introduction of gasoline particulate filters (GPFs) in EU GDI models. This review summarizes the evolution of PM mass emissions from gasoline vehicles placed in the market from early 1990s until 2019 in different parts of the world. The analysis then extends to total and non-volatile particle number emissions. Care is given to reveal the impact of ambient temperature on emission levels. The discussion tries to provide scientific input to the following policy-relevant questions. Whether particle number limits should be extended to gasoline PFI vehicles, whether the lower limit of 23 nm for particle number measurements should be decreased to 10 nm, and whether low ambient temperature tests for PM should be included.