April 18, 2007

New U.S. proposal tackles small-engine emissions

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has introduced a new proposal that will set strict standards for engines in most lawn and garden equipment and small recreational watercraft. To meet the standards, manufacturers are expected to use catalytic converters for the first time ever in many types of small watercraft, lawn and garden equipment.

The proposal also sets the first fuel evaporative standards for all the types of equipment and watercraft covered in the rulemaking; national standards for vessels powered by stern-drive or inboard engines; and carbon monoxide standards for gasoline-powered engines used in recreational watercraft.

The EPA says that Americans spend more than three billion hours per year using lawn and garden equipment, and a current push mower emits as much hourly pollution as eleven cars, while a riding mower emits as much as 34 cars. Under the proposed rule, non-road gasoline-powered engines would see an additional 35 per cent reduction in hydrocarbon (HC) and NOx emissions, beyond a 60 per cent reduction that finished phasing in last year under an earlier rulemaking. Those engines would also see a 45 per cent reduction in fuel evaporative emissions.

Recreational watercraft, which can emit the equivalent of 348 cars in an hour, would see a 70 per cent reduction in HC and NOx, a 20 per cent reduction in carbon monoxide, and a 70 per cent reduction in fuel evaporative emissions.

When fully implemented, the rule would result in annual emission reductions of 630,000 tons of HC, 98,000 tons of NOx, 6,300 tons of direct particulate matter, and 2.7 million tones of carbon monoxide. The new standards would apply as early as 2011 for most lawn and garden equipment under 25 hp, and 2009 for watercraft.

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