New Emission Regulations Take Effect in 2011-2012

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized a new emission control program to reduce hydrocarbon emissions from small spark-ignition engines by about 35%. The new exhaust emissions standards will take effect in 2011 or 2012, depending on the size of the engine.

The new regulations include evaporative emissions requirements. "It is similar to those requirements for automobiles," explains John Fischer. "They will minimize the amount of raw fuel that can find its way into the atmosphere. And since the State of California has already developed good standards, the EPA had adopted them rather than create something new." This should make regulation compliance simpler for manufacturers who can then develop one engine or product to be sold in all 50 states.

According to Fischer, the EPA is also now addressing the change in performance and emissions during high-altitude operation. "Manufacturers now have guidelines that will help in developing and providing altitude kits that ensure engine performance, while also meeting the exhaust emissions requirements of the EPA," Fischer explains.

Within the new regulations, the EPA has issued three designations for useful life of the equipment engines, which are 50 hours for light use, 125 hours for medium use, and 300 hours for heavy use. "These values indicate the number of hours the engine is required to comply with the applicable emission standards," says Fischer. "This information is stated on the emission label for the engine." If the engine is blocked from vision, the label should appear somewhere else on the unit.

John Fischer has worked designing engine components and installations. Most recently, he was with Iveco Motors/FPT Powertrain.

To learn more about small engine emission regulations, visit EPA - Lawn & Garden Equipment.