Indoor to outdoor air quality associations with self-pollution implications inside passenger car cabins

L. Abi-Esber, M. El-Fadel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    37 Scopus citations


    In this study, in-vehicle and out-vehicle concentrations of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide (CO) are measured to assess commuter's exposure in a commercial residential area and on a highway, under three popular ventilation modes namely, one window half opened, air conditioning on fresh air intake, and air conditioning on recirculation and examine its relationship to scarcely studied parameters including self pollution, out-vehicle sample intake location and meteorological gradients. Self pollution is the intrusion of a vehicle's own engine fumes into the passenger's compartment. For this purpose, six car makes with different ages were instrumented to concomitantly monitor in- and out-vehicle PM2.5 and CO concentrations as well as meteorological parameters. Air pollution levels were unexpectedly higher in new cars compared to old cars, with in-cabin air quality most correlated to that of out-vehicle air near the front windshield. Self-pollution was observed at variable rates in three of the six tested cars. Significant correlations were identified between indoor to outdoor pressure difference and PM2.5 and CO In/Out (IO) ratios under air recirculation and window half opened ventilation modes whereas temperature and humidity difference affected CO IO ratios only under the air recirculation ventilation mode.

    Original languageBritish English
    Pages (from-to)450-463
    Number of pages14
    JournalAtmospheric Environment
    StatePublished - Dec 2013


    • Automotive emissions
    • In-vehicle exposure
    • Meteorological gradient
    • Self-pollution


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