Release 98-75
December 10, 1998 
CONTACT:  Joe Irvin
Allan Hirsch
(916) 322-2990 
Richard Varenchik
(626) 575-6730
Air Board Acts to Reduce Marine Engine Pollution

       SACRAMENTO -  Regulations to greatly reduce smog-forming emissions and water pollution from outboard engines and personal watercraft starting in 2001 were approved today by the California Environmental Protection Agency's Air Resources Board (ARB).

       "These new standards will deliver significant reductions in air and water pollution while still allowing Californians the full range of fishing, boating and other water sports experiences they now enjoy," said ARB Chairman Barbara Riordan.  The ARB regulations apply only to new engines and watercraft sold in 2001 and thereafter.  There are no requirements to modify or retrofit engines or watercraft sold prior to 2001.

       California's new regulations greatly advance marine engine emission reductions beyond those set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which began this year.  California implements the most stringent federal standard in 2001, five years ahead of the 2006 target date for the rest of the country.  This delivers a 70 percent reduction in smog-forming emissions over unregulated marine engines.

       California then makes two more reductions below the maximum federal level; a 20 percent reduction in 2004 and a 65 percent reduction in 2008.  Phasing in new, cleaner engines will mean reductions in smog-forming emissions of 110 tons per day (TPD) by 2010 and 161 TPD by 2020.  Reductions will be greatest on summer days, when California's smog problem is at its worst and boating activity is most prevalent.

       "Many marine engines already available in today's market meet the ARB's first two regulatory levels and some even meet the most stringent third level," Riordan said.

       Marine engines were the focus of new standards because many are conventional "two-stroke" design that burn fuel inefficiently and discharge up to 30 percent unburned fuel into the environment.  A 100-horsepower personal watercraft operated for seven hours emits more smog-forming emissions than a new car driven more than 100,000 miles.  They have become increasingly popular, with more than 50,000 engines and personal watercraft being sold in California each year, and thus are a growing source of air pollution in the state.

       Reduced air and water pollution from these standards will accelerate the use of advanced technology engines that will burn up to 30 percent less fuel and oil, according to ARB staff analyses.  This means considerable savings for consumers who pay as
much as $2 to $2.50 per gallon for fuel and up to $20 per gallon for two-stroke engine oil that is mixed with gasoline in marine engines.

       Simply switching from a two-stroke to a more efficient four-stroke 90 horsepower outboard engine would save the user more than $2000 in fuel and oil costs over the average 16 year "life" of  the engine. A four-stroke personal watercraft would save the user about $1200 dollars over a two-stroke engine during the watercraft's nine-year "life."

       The Board also adopted a labeling requirement that will identify engines and watercraft that meet, exceed and greatly exceed the new regulations.  This will allow consumers to factor environmental considerations into their purchasing decisions and also give local water agencies a way to identify watercraft and engines that meet or exceed California standards.  This may preserve water sport activities in areas where local water agencies have banned or are considering bans on boating activity because marine engines are polluting lakes and reservoirs.

       The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency.  ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy.  The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.

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