• Nov 3, 2008
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]


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  • 43 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Friggin' EPA. Why can't they leave some things alone?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because "some things" need to be changed.
      • 6 Years Ago
      hopefully it will make these stupid leaf blowers more expensive, and people will get back to raking their leaves...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Id be willing to bet that the air cleaning ability of the very large trees that I have in my yard outweighs the pollution caused by my gas powered leaf blower that I use a couple times a year to clean up after them.

        Get off your high horse.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The only people I ever see using gas powered leaf blowers are the landscaping companies. Every homeowner I know uses an electric one, myself included. I also use an electric weed eater/edger, but my yard is relatively small.

        The mowers the landscaping guys use are louder than their gas powered backpack leaf blowers anyway.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Is this a joke?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I share a large garden with my neighbors in the community that I live in and I sympathize completely with this plan. During the spring and the summer, it is often miserable to even go and sit outside because of the smoke from the gardening contractor's lawnmower. The very purpose of having a garden and paying large sums of money both towards buying it and as taxes in order to enjoy the open is lost because of the stink of half-burnt fuel. In the long term, the people who use these lawn mowers would benefit from lower fuel costs if the EPA insists on fuel efficiency regs in addition to emission ones. That said, I think the government should also give tax creduts to those who buy the reduced emissions and fuel efficient mowers in order to encourage their sales and not penalize those who have the old ones. Incentives work better than penalties in civil society.
      • 6 Years Ago
      EPA is a self sustaining monster-they have to find somthing to go after ! Whats next ? Cows produce allot of methane they need to be regulated !!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Without the EPA, you think that we'd all naturally migrate to electric leaf-blowers/mowers/cars? Hmmm...LA's air is better than it was in the 70's and 80's, how did that happen?
        • 6 Years Ago
        That was meant to be a sarcastic joke ,meaning they will always find something that needs to be policed hence the" self sustaining "comment
        • 6 Years Ago
        That methane is produced from grass, the grass captured the carbon in spring by taking CO2 from the air and splitting it into oxygen and carbon using sunlight and putting the carbon into their plant structures. Then the cows ate the grass and farted out the carbon. This merely returns the carbon to the air where it was last January.

        Cows do not contribute to a net carbon increase in our atmosphere.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "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."

      FYI - The engines in farm and construction equipment are under emissions control and have been since the mid-90's.

      ISZ
      • 6 Years Ago
      Honest to God, if they eliminated the leaf blowers from my neighborhood alone they would solve the smog issues of half of the industrialized world! (We'll leave the old GW thing out of it as removing all the CO2 emissions won't likely change the warming/ cooling pattern the earth has exhibited over the last millions of years or so. But the smog is bad - anyone watch the Olympics?)
        • 6 Years Ago
        Please provide third-party statistical proof of your retarded comments.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This will likely be easy to tackle, as CARB has emissions programs for lawn equipment, construction equipment and boats. CARB started requiring catalytic converters this year.

      So manufacturers likely won't have to develop any new technology, just offer their CARB models to the rest of the country.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why would it have an impact in the last year? They just started with the catalytic converters this year and there's no requirement to throw out your old lawnmower or retrofit it.

        But yeah, CARB has reams of data on their site, free. More than enough to make a monkey out of people like you who pretend that somehow from their armchair they know more about managing air quality than CARB does.

        Have at it:
        http://www.arb.ca.gov/html/ds.htm
      • 6 Years Ago
      I just use electric lawn tools. An electric mower, an electric blower, and a rechargeable weed-whacker. It's not because I'm trying to be envrio-friendly, it's just that I'd rather deal with an electric motor than a gas engine when possible. Which is why I have a gas snow thrower. :)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I have no problem with this. Every little bit helps. I currently have a 2 stroke jetski, weedeater, and blower all which smoke like crazy. My 4 stroke ATVs and lawnmower don't. If they enforce higher environmental standards on newer equipment, that's great! It's worth the small hike in price, plus in 10 years no one will think twice about it. It will just be the way it is and the Earth will be happy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Noah, do you own a boat or other watercraft? I guarantee that those who do care a lot more about the quality of the bodies of water they use than you do.
        • 6 Years Ago
        TJ-
        You're joking right?

        "Yeah, my plan for the weekend is to make my own Cat for my lawn mower!!"
        HAHAHA.

        It's a fact that small, 2 stroke engines are WAY dirtier than 4 strokes. Like, sickeningly dirtier. Regardless of how you look at "the environment," we will have cleaner air to breathe if we reduce the number of dirty engines out there. This will be a progressive change, since there are so many non-clean 2 strokes in use today (and will continue to be used for a long time), but what's wrong with wanting cleaner lawn mowers? "They're more expensive though!" Great. Fortunately, you don't buy a lawn mower every day. And you'll undoubtedly realize that the extra money will pay you back by making the air a lot less dirty. Less emissions in your body=better health. I hope you don't disagree with that one.

        You don't need to be completely opposed to everything the EPA does just because the EPA is doing it. Next time, try thinking about an action, the outcome it will have, and weigh the pros and cons before you just look at who is proposing it and rejecting it based on that. I think we should all try to do that, we'd probably all get a long a lot better.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Alright, I'm just gonna say it. misguided environmental view? What, smelly engines and oil slicks on our formerly pristine lakes due to boat and jet-ski engines is misguided? So people with these engines mucking up our lakes don't like being bothered with legislation forcing them to buy cleaner engines. Sorry to "impose", but they imposed their pollution on the rest of us first.

        Sometimes, the general public doesn't do the right thing, and when science clearly shows that dirty 2-strokes are causing big pollution in our lakes/bays, something needs to be done when people won't voluntarily buy cleaner engines. Legislation also forces cleaner change to occur MUCH FASTER than people naturally migrating from dirty 2-strokes to cleaner 4-strokes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You want to do your part? add a retrofit kit or fab up your own.

        As for the rest of us, I would prefer not to have your misguided environmental worldview legislated upon me.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @TJ: You are not a big fan of practicing what you preach, are you? If you keep challenging various people on the other side of the debate to provide proof for their statements, you can start by providing proof for yours. Please provide third-party statistical proof that shows boat and watercraft owners care more about water quality than the rest of us.

        TJ @ Nov 3rd 2008 12:27PM wrote: "Where do you get your stats... ?"

        TJ @ Nov 3rd 2008 11:30AM wrote: "Has CARB released any data to show... ?"

        TJ @ Nov 3rd 2008 12:07PM wrote: "Please provide third-party statistical proof..."

        TJ @ Nov 3rd 2008 12:31PM wrote: "... do you own a boat or other watercraft? I guarantee that those who do care a lot more about the quality of the bodies of water they use than you do."
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thank you for using electric gardening equipment so that we can all die from ozone.

      Next up the EPA will regulate how often EPA employees can talk since the hot air coming out of their mouths is causing climate change.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What is this basket we are in, and why is it so hot?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Goes to show how f'd up and brainwashed some people's thinking is that they cannot see the simple statement for what it is- the Sun warms the Earth. 20 years ago every 3rd grader knew that. Now, not so much.
        vehicle CO2 emissions is a tiny part of man-made CO2 emissions. But going after commercial electricity use or home heating fuel consumption isn't nearly as "sexy".
        If you want to look at CO2 emissions from consumer non-road equipment, it gets even more laughable. I go through about 5 gallons of gas around the house every month in the summer. I use that in a day or 2 in the car. This posting, along with the future EPA regulations it pertains to is much more about reducing smog forming emissions- not CO2. Catalysts actually make CO2 (that's one way to tell that they're working). Not saying that they're not beneficial, but they have bloody little to do with a CO2 discussion.
        JD- Your 2 pretty graphs fail at one thing- to correlate any of the metrics to temperature, which is kind of the focus of Global Warming.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well, isn't it hot because of all the carbon emissions that 6.5 Billion people make?

        Sorry, I had to.
        • 6 Years Ago
        TJ, I'm gonna go ahead and ask for what you seem to love asking for- proof. How much has the temperature of the sun varied lately? Heck, I'll find it for you.

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Solar-cycle-data.png

        Note the dates in the bottom. Note the changes in our mean temperatures. Strange, they don't match, isn't that odd? Here's some more data now!
        We do know that the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has increased dramatically in the last several hundred years. This is a fact, you can't dispute it. Take a look at the past 400,000 years of CO2 concentration for yourself.

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1c/Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr.png

        Look, I like science. Science is based on facts, and science shows that our increased carbon emissions lead to increased temperatures (aka global warming). They show result and causality.

        I am yet to see any proof that this is incorrect, aside from people saying "We don't know that's true!!" We do, the conclusion is based on fact, and dissenting opinion needs to do more than just say "I don't think that's true."

        And it's not just the "suburbanites with Tahoe's and leaf blowers." It's a much bigger, comprehensive problem that needs addressing on a very large scale. Lawn mowers may not be large scale, but they should be addressed none the less. We aren't the biggest polluters, but we are a leading example in the world- and we can put pressure on others to reduce their emissions (cough cough CHINA) if we want to.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @JD:

        Since you like science, I should point out why global warming is not good science. I support clean air and water, energy independence from the Middle East, and so on, but not bad science.

        • Correlation, no matter how seemingly strong, should never be used to prove causality in good science. Case in point: For a long time now, climatologists have noted a correlation between increased CO2 in the atmosphere and increased global temperatures. To date, it has yet to be scientifically proven that the higher CO2 levels cause global temperature rise, as opposed to an unknown third factor that may be causing both higher CO2 and higher temperatures.
        • Science involves 4 basic steps: (a) The observation of nature and how it works; (b) Coming up with a theoretical framework to explain the observations; (c) Making predictions based on the theoretical framework; (d) Validating the predictions with experiments. Scientists who support the notion of man-made global warming have satisfied the first 3 of the 4 steps, but they have yet to satisfy the last step. Lacking this most critical step, the rigorous scientific validation by experimentation, the global warming theory cannot be called a science in its current state. FYI, it is for this very same reason that superstring theory has been called a religion by its critics, and superstring supporters have been working to come up with predictions that can be verified by our current level of technology and supercolliders.
        • A lot of supporters of global warming -- or, more precisely, the notion that human activities are causing global warming -- use the scientific consensus on global warming to argue the phenomenon is real. In reality, scientific consensus does not equal scientific proof. There was scientific consensus that the Earth was flat; that it was the center of the universe about which the Sun and other planets rotated; that an atom was the smallest divisible matter; and that space and time were absolute and unchanging quantities. Scientific consensus has been wrong before; absent a rigorous scientific validation, scientific consensus can be wrong again.
        • Having said all that, I also wish to point out that the research funding, and livelihood, of thousands and thousands of climatologists are based on the public perception that global warming is real, and a man-made phenomenon. As a result, it is in the best interests of climatologists to produce studies allegedly supporting global warming, and to suppress studies that might disprove it. Case in point, in the 2006 PBS science program NOVA, a climatologist produced a finding that seemed to contradict global warming. She described her colleagues' reaction thus: " My friends' reaction, actually, to Gerry's and to my work—at the same time, too—was, 'Oh my god, this is really extreme. You are contradicting global warming. Do you know how many billions of dollars was spent on global warming research? And you and this old guy are contradicting us?' " And, the public would never have heard of this, but for her ability to eventually reconcile her findings with global warming. Link:
        http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/transcripts/3310_sun.html
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am all for this. Maybe this will keep them off the car industry a bit. Its crazy how much crap mowers and whackers release. I have an electric mower now cause I got sick of the smell. For the record electric mowers are no where neart as good at cutting as a gas but my yard is small.
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