• anthropogenic emissions;
  • diesel;
  • gasoline;
  • secondary organic aerosol

[1] Although laboratory experiments have shown that organic compounds in both gasoline fuel and diesel engine exhaust can form secondary organic aerosol (SOA), the fractional contribution from gasoline and diesel exhaust emissions to ambient SOA in urban environments is poorly known. Here we use airborne and ground-based measurements of organic aerosol (OA) in the Los Angeles (LA) Basin, California made during May and June 2010 to assess the amount of SOA formed from diesel emissions. Diesel emissions in the LA Basin vary between weekdays and weekends, with 54% lower diesel emissions on weekends. Despite this difference in source contributions, in air masses with similar degrees of photochemical processing, formation of OA is the same on weekends and weekdays, within the measurement uncertainties. This result indicates that the contribution from diesel emissions to SOA formation is zero within our uncertainties. Therefore, substantial reductions of SOA mass on local to global scales will be achieved by reducing gasoline vehicle emissions.