USU researches how drivers’ gender, experience level impacts vehicle emissions

Posted at 5:40 PM, Jul 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-30 19:40:59-04

LOGAN, Utah -- Do things like experience or gender factor into how much pollution a driver creates? That’s the question researchers at Utah State University set out to answer.

This week FOX 13 car-guy Brian Champagne spoke with Abed Khader, visiting from Palestine, and USU research professor Randy Martin about what they found.

The team fitted measuring tools to a vehicle and had a variety of drivers all take an identical route.

“We were measuring the emissions while they were driving, second by second,” Khader said.

Among their findings were that male drivers appeared to be less pollutant than female drivers, while younger drivers tended to load the engine more than experienced drivers. That extra load can mean more emissions.

“I’m not surprised that different behavior gives us different emissions,” Martin said. “I’m a little surprised at the trends that we saw, almost stereotypical trends, young vs old, inexperienced vs experienced drivers, and even I hate to say it, there does seem to be a gender bias.”

Researchers said while the results are interesting, they would need to conduct more analysis before making too many generalizations about trends. Researchers say steps like smoother driving and less acceleration can reduce emissions.