Cars Beat Motorcycles in Battle of the Green

Discovery Channel series "MythBusters" does the testing with assistance from UC Riverside research engineer

Kent Johnson, an assistant research engineer at the University of California, Riverside

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (—Which is more green: a motorcycle or a car?

The car, according to a segment on the Discovery Channel series “MythBusters” that premiered Wednesday. Kent Johnson, an assistant research engineer at the University of California, Riverside, oversaw the analysis of the data that showed harmful pollutants from the tested motorcycles exceeded those from the cars tested.

On the show, the MythBusters tested three cars and three motorcycles, one each from 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. They measured fuel efficiency as well as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitric oxide emissions.

They found the motorcycles were more fuel efficient and produced less carbon dioxide than the cars. However, the motorcycles emitted more carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitric oxide emissions, all of which pollute the air.

They also outfitted the motorcycles with an aerodynamic bubble they built. Even with that, the cars outperformed the motorocycles in terms of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitric oxide emissions.

After show analysis of the show can be viewed at:

Johnson, an assistant research engineer at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology at the Bourns College of Engineering, took part in the segment because he and his colleagues at the Center for Environmental Research and Technology are among the leaders in advancing vehicle emissions testing from the laboratory, to in-use evaluation and portable emissions measurement systems.

The researchers have measured the pollution profiles of hundreds of models of cars using dozens of fuel formulations, as well as testing of many off-road vehicles, stationary pollution sources, locomotives, port vehicles, harbor craft, and ocean-going vessels.

Johnson was on the set during three days of filming in June in Oakland. He then spent another two days analyzing the results from the portable emission measurement systems. The results were gathered by Global MRV—Clean Air Technologies Division, a Medford, N.Y.-based company that also provided its exclusive emissions measurement technologies for the segment.

The Emmy-nominated “MythBusters”—hosted by Adam Savage, Jamie Hyneman,Tory Belleci, Kari Byron and Grant Imahara—aims to uncover the truth behind myths and legends by mixing scientific method with curiosity and ingenuity to create a signature style of experimentation. Called “the best science show on television”, “MythBusters” airs at 9 p.m. Wednesdays on Discovery Channel.

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