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Vehicle exhaust is a leading contributor to air quality concerns. Vehicles and other mobile sources create over half of Iowa’s air pollution! Much of this pollution comes from a small population of poorly maintained vehicles – the easiest ones to spot have visible smoke emissions. One smoking vehicle creates as much pollution as up to 30 properly functioning cars.
The tiny particles and other pollutants in vehicle exhaust contribute to respiratory problems and to cancer-risk. Everyone can be affected, but sensitive populations including children, the elderly, and those with respiratory illness are especially at risk. Cleaning up smoking vehicles will improve air quality to help Iowans breathe easier.
Excessive exhaust is a clue something is not working properly. Since smoke can be unburned fuel, repairs can yield savings of up to 13% at the gas pumps! Other benefits include enhanced engine performance, higher resale value, reduced emissions, longer engine life, and improved air quality.
BEEP, a not-for-profit organization, is a partnership among Iowa's Department of Natural Resources and Department of Education, the School Administrators of Iowa, Iowa Pupil Transportation Association and Mirenco, Inc., an Iowa-based company that specializes in fuel management technology for reducing vehicle emissions. BEEP is the nation's first voluntary bus testing program and helps fund emissions tests on all of Iowa's nearly 5,000 diesel school buses at no cost to schools or state budgets. BEEP officials plan to test all school buses twice a year and offer guidance for lowering bus emissions, saving fuel and improving the health of students. More information about the BEEP program can be found on the Bus Emission Education Program website.
Visible tailpipe smoke can vary in color to indicate different engine problems. Use the chart below to help diagnose problems. This is a guide, and not a substitute for consulting an auto technician: