Automobile emissions have been cleaned up to the point that flowers virtually sprout from tailpipes, but there's an entire category of internal combustion that the EPA calls Non-Road Engines, which the agency deems still needs improvement. To that end, standards are tightening in 2010 and 2011 for boats, personal watercraft and lawn equipment. The new restrictions will see car-like catalytic converters fitted to engines that power these machines, which will likely lead to price increases. The EPA says that fuel savings brought on by the new rules mean an overall savings for consumers; that may be so, but the precious metals in catalysts aren't getting any cheaper or less rare, making the more fuel efficient units carry a higher initial purchase price.

The changes will likely put a significant dent in emissions from watercraft, which contribute far more to non-road engine emissions than things like lawn and garden equipment. In fact, lawnmowers and tillers are likely one of the smallest contributors to pollution of the group. The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute estimates that less than 2% of smog-forming emissions comes from lawn and garden equipment. Cleaning up all those engines toiling away at construction sites, in farm equipment and powering boats won't mean you've got to trade in your Evinrude, but anything on sale after 2010 will have to comply with the new standards.

[Source: The Detroit News]