Press Releases

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today praised final EPA rules to limit emissions from small engines – including lawn mowers, garden equipment and recreational watercraft – which are responsible for about 7 percent of all U.S. mobile source smog-forming pollutants.

“This is great news, and the end of a very long road,” Senator Feinstein said. “It will require a 35 percent reduction in smog-forming emissions produced by lawn mowers and other small engines under 25 horsepower. And it will require a 70 percent reduction in these emissions from recreational watercraft.

“These smaller engines are responsible for 7 percent of all the smog-forming emissions produced by mobile sources in the United States. So, these reductions are critical to improving America’s air quality. This is a case where the EPA got it right.”

The new national rules are modeled after rules put into effect in California in January 2007, after the EPA granted the state a Clean Air Act waiver in December 2006. California’s rules require that new small engines under 25 horsepower be built to reduce smog-causing pollutants -- such as hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides – by 35 percent.

These reductions can be achieved by using catalytic converters and other improvements to engine combustion.

The EPA announced a draft rule change in April 2007. Today’s announcement marks final implementation of the rules. The new EPA rule includes phased-in implementations:

  • By 2010, reductions in emissions would be required for speedboats and other recreational watercraft.
  • By 2011, new Class II engines (riding mowers, farm equipment, and other non-handheld equipment) will be required to meet the EPA standard.
  • By 2012, Class I engines (such as walk-behind lawnmowers, dishwashers, and other larger non-handheld equipment), will be required to meet the reduction standards.

The EPA estimates that the new standards will save approximately 190 million gallons of gasoline a year. In addition, the EPA estimates that when fully implemented, the new rules will lead to reductions of:

  • 1.5 million tons of carbon monoxide; 
  • 600,000 tons of hydrocarbon emissions; 
  • 130,000 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions; and
  • 5,500 tons of direct particulate matter.