Small engines engulfed in lower emissions standards

Outdoor power equipment running small power engines will be the first to feel the wrath of lower emissions legislation. Already tabled in parliament, the Product Emissions Standards Bill will enforce new product emissions standards for small spark engines (non-road), bringing us in line with current US, Canada and Europe.

The new standard will cover petrol engines that are spark ignition and under 19kW (25HP).

It is expected the Bill will progress through Parliament, with both the Bill and the detailed Rules becoming Law by December 2017. The standards will be phased in over two years to reduce noxious air pollution from petrol-powered outdoor equipment. By the end of this time frame, both manufacturers and importers are expected to cease offering non-compliant products and will then have a further year to clear stock. The rules will only apply to new imports after 1 July 2018.

It is estimated that 53 per cent of power equipment being sold in Australia already meets the standard and many companies have already updated their product range to meet the proposed new standards.

“The Information paper published last December spelled out the details and timings so industry could get ready” advised Gary Fooks, chair of the cross industry Blue Sky Alliance. “This means industry has had 30 months to finish up the sales of high emission engines”, he added.

The Australian standards will be based on the USA EPA rules, therefore Outdoor Power Equipment with USA, EU, Canada or California (CARB) certification will all pass without the need for further Australian certification. The harmful emissions targeted by the proposed regulations are Hydrocarbons, Oxides of Nitrogen, and Carbon Monoxide. All of these have serious health implications, as verified by the WHO.

Australia is 16 years behind the USA in implementing emission standards for non-road engines.