Here’s a handy jargon buster to help you understand your vehicle’s performance on the road
CH4 – Methane
An extremely potent greenhouse gas
DfT – Department for Transport
A ministerial department with responsibility for the transport network, planning and investing in transport infrastructure in the UK
DOC – Diesel oxidation catalyst
A device to promote oxidation of several exhaust gas components by oxygen to harmless gases
DPF – Diesel particulate filter
A trap to catch bits of soot in the exhaust so it doesn’t pollute the air. It needs emptying (or burning off) periodically and this is called regeneration.
EGR – Exhaust gas recirculation
An emissions reduction technique used in ICE engines which works by recirculating a portion of an engine’s exhaust gas back to the engine cylinders.
FE – Fuel economy
The relationship between the distance travelled and fuel consumed e.g. MPG
FC – Fuel consumption
The amount of fuel a vehicle uses to travel a particular distance at a particular speed
GHF – Greenhouse gas
An excess in the amount of these gases (mainly CO2, CHCs, CH4) resulting from human activity such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels traps infrared rays which results in global warming.
ICE – Internal combustion engine
The burning of fuel in a combustion chamber causes hot gases to expand which act directly to cause movement
LEZ – Low emission zone
A geographically defined area where the most polluting vehicles are restricted or discouraged from entering
NH3 – Ammonia
A product of combustion, it combines with NOx and SOx to form fine particulates which contribute to smog and causes respiratory problems
NO – Nitrogen monoxide
Reacts with moisture in the air to form nitrogen dioxide
NO2 – Nitrogen dioxide
A poisonous gas that is particularly harmful to people with heart and lung conditions. It also combines with Volatile Organic Compounds in the presence of sunlight to form photochemical smog.
NOx – Oxides of Nitrogen
NO and NO2 are by-products of combustion and NOx is a generic term used to describe these gases.
PEMS – Portable emissions measurement system
The equipment used to measure emissions and fuel consumption on vehicles in real-world operation rather than in a laboratory
PM – Particulate matter
A combination of small particles and droplets of liquid in the air which, if inhaled, aggravate the lungs and cause serious health effects
PM 2.5 – Fine particulate matter
Particles with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers which are small enough to lodge in deep lung tissue causing health problems
PM 10 – Coarse particulate matter
Particles with a diameter of less than 10 micrometers
SCR – Selective catalytic reduction
Nitrogen oxides are converted in diatomic nitrogen by injecting urea (AdBlue/DEF) into the exhaust stream
SOx – Sulphur oxides
Sulphur oxides are a by-product of burning the sulphur present in fuel. In the presence of a catalyst like NO2, it will form sulphuric acid which is a major cause of acid rain.
TfL – Transport for London
The local government organisation responsible for most aspects of London’s transport system
THCs – Total hydrocarbons
A term to describe compounds which contain hydrogen and carbon. One source is from the burning of fossil fuels during combustion.
ULEZ – Ultra low emission zone
An area within which all cars, motorcycles, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy goods vehicles will need to meet exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge to travel
VED – Vehicle excise duty
A tax payable for most types of vehicle which are used or parked on public highways
VOCs – Volatile organic compounds
Organic compounds that easily become vapours or gases