Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Vehicles in China

Pan, Da; Tao, Lei; Golston, Levi; Miller, David; Zhu, Tong; Qin, Yue; Zhang, Yan; Mauzerall, Denise
Issue date: 2020
Cite as:
Pan, Da, Tao, Lei, Golston, Levi, Miller, David, Zhu, Tong, Qin, Yue, Zhang, Yan, & Mauzerall, Denise. (2020). Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Vehicles in China [Data set]. Princeton University.
  author      = {Pan, Da and
                Tao, Lei and
                Golston, Levi and
                Miller, David and
                Zhu, Tong and
                Qin, Yue and
                Zhang, Yan and
                Mauzerall, Denise},
  title       = {{Methane Emissions from Natural Gas Vehic
                les in China}},
  publisher   = {{Princeton University}},
  year        = 2020,
  url         = {}

Natural gas vehicles (NGVs) have been promoted in China to mitigate air pollution, yet our measurements and analyses show that NGV growth in China may have significant negative impacts on climate change. We conducted real-world vehicle emission measurements in China and found high methane emissions from heavy-duty NGVs (90% higher than current emission limits). These emissions have been ignored in previous emission estimates, leading to biased results. Applying our observations to life-cycle analyses, we found that switching to NGVs from conventional vehicles in China has led to a net increase in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions since 2000. With scenario analyses, we also show that the next decade will be critical for China to reverse the trend with the upcoming China VI standard for heavy-duty vehicles. Implementing and enforcing the China VI standard is challenging, and the method demonstrated here can provide critical information regarding the fleet-level CH4 emissions from NGVs.

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