Friday, September 05, 2008

EPA raises emissions standards for watercraft, effective in 2010, and lawn mowers, in 2011

Lawn care just got a little greener. Yesterday, the Environmental Protection Agency set stricter emissions standards for gasoline-powered lawn mowers. Boat engines were also affected by the policy change, which EPA estimates will save 190 million gallons of gasoline each year.

The boating restrictions will go into effect in 2010, while lawn care standards will be enforced the following year. The press release says that "the rule opens another chapter in EPA's success story of curbing emissions from non-road sources. EPA has recently set stringent emission standards for farm and construction equipment, off-road recreational vehicles, and for locomotives and commercial marine sources."

Not surprisingly, environmentalists were supportive of the stricter standards. Juliet Eilperin of The Washington Post puts the environmental impact in perspective: "One riding lawn mower emits as much pollution in an hour as 34 cars. ... Because spark-ignition engines release as much as 25 percent of their gas unburned in their exhaust, the EPA also estimates that the regulations, when fully implemented, will lead to a more efficient combustion process that will save about 190 million gallons of gasoline each year." Environmental groups' only complaint with the new standards was that they had not gone into effect sooner. (Read more)

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