Environment Minister Greg Hunt announced today an Agreement between the state and federal ministers that will see emissions standards for outboards on the table by mid 2015. According to the Ministers’ announcement: “Governments will complete work by mid 2015 to develop emissions control measures for: non-road spark ignition engines and equipment.” (Non road spark ignition engines will include outboards petrol engines from lawn mowers to generators.)
“We welcome the business certainty that engine emissions standards are at last on a timetable” said AMEC Chair David Heyes. Congratulating the Minister he added, “Greg Hunt is providing direction and is keeping to his schedule: leadership that we didn’t see under the previous administration.”
“Standards have been in the pipeline since the Minister’s decision last April” added David. “Today’s announcement is on schedule, and we can be confident that the standards will be posted by mid-2015. After that, it will still take a few months to draft the laws and put them in place.”
Perhaps the last carby two strokes will be delivered for Christmas this year, but it is more likely that “D-day” will be some time in 2016.
After that date only engines that meet the new standard will be imported. Australia will probably match the USA EPA standard, meaning what is sold in the world’s largest outboard market will pass muster in Australia, and without costly re- testing. Manufacturers won’t need more time: it is existing technology and already accounts for half the retail sales in Australia.
“Basically it means only 3 star engines” according to Analyst Gary Fooks. “It looks like all of the E-Tec and other direct injection two strokes on the market as well as almost every four stroke model are here to stay. It is carby and EFI two strokes that will disappear from shelves.
The regulations will also mean changes for boat builders. John Haines of Haines Signature explained “Boat builders will have the responsibility of reducing fuel vapor emissions. That’s achieved by using low vapor fuel lines, a carbon canister on the fuel vent and either an overflow or ullaged to allow for fuel expansion in a full tank. We have worked these requirements into every hull in our range and have been ready for about three years now. “
AMEC are offering to assist boat builders to understand the proposed changes, so they can start to incorporate them into their designs.
The harmful emissions targeted by the proposed regulations are Hydrocarbons, Oxides of Nitrogen, and Carbon Monoxide. All of these have serious health implications.
The difference between outboards is dramatic. According to the audited USA EPA engine certification data, and 8hp carby two stroke pushes out 59% more emissions per hour than a 150hp four stroke. With solid data like that it’s hard argue against regulations.
Australia is fourteen years behind the USA in implementing emission standards for non-road engines. We lag Canada, Europe, and Japan and are about two years behind China.