Recent studies suggest overestimates in current U.S. emission inventories of nitrogen oxides (NOx = NO + NO2). Here, we expand a previously developed fuel-based inventory of motor-vehicle emissions (FIVE) to the continental U.S. for the year 2013, and evaluate our estimates of mobile source emissions with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Emissions Inventory (NEI) interpolated to 2013. We find that mobile source emissions of NOx and carbon monoxide (CO) in the NEI are higher than FIVE by 28% and 90%, respectively. Using a chemical transport model, we model mobile source emissions from FIVE, and find consistent levels of urban NOx and CO as measured during the Southeast Nexus (SENEX) Study in 2013. Lastly, we assess the sensitivity of ozone (O3) over the Eastern U.S. to uncertainties in mobile source NOx emissions and biogenic volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions. The ground-level O3 is sensitive to reductions in mobile source NOx emissions, most notably in the Southeastern U.S. and during O3 exceedance events, under the revised standard proposed in 2015 (>70 ppb, 8 h maximum). This suggests that decreasing mobile source NOx emissions could help in meeting more stringent O3 standards in the future.
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