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Special Issues Regarding The Proposed Off-road Small Spark-ignition Engine Emission Regulations

Prepared by Environment Canada, April, 2002

For distribution with the Discussion Draft of the Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations


The Discussion Draft of the Off-Road Small Spark-Ignition Engine Emission Regulations under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999 is designed to align Canadian emission standards with those of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The purpose of this note is to provide contextual background and request comments on issues that arose during the development of the Discussion Draft. Specifically, comments are solicited on:

  • Accepting engines certified to the European Union emissions standards for small spark-ignition engines;
  • Canadian regulatory plans to address U.S. EPA proposed amendments to the emissions standards dealing with non-road spark-ignition engines;
  • Whether the Canadian regulations require special provisions for engines certified to the U.S. EPA "wintertime" provisions; and
  • U.S. averaging, banking and trading provisions.

The proposed modifications to the U.S. rules and the proposed European Union standards are evolving and may influence the final content of the Canadian Regulations.

Engines with type-approval from a European Union member country

In July 2001, the European Parliament and Council amended Directive 97/68/EC that would implement European Union emission standards for small spark-ignition engines aligned with the U.S. EPA Phase 2 standards. The content of the Directive is not yet finalized.

The Department is seeking comments regarding the equivalence of the proposed European standard and, if it is put into place, the appropriateness of accepting European Union certificates as evidence of conformity to Canadian standards.

Proposed Modifications to U.S. EPA standards

The U.S. EPA has proposed emissions standards for large spark-ignition engines (LSI) and recreational vehicles. Portions of the small spark-ignition engine emissions standards, Part 90 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), will likely be modified as a consequence. The U.S. final rule is expected in the fall of 2002.

We have prepared the Discussion Draft of the Canadian Regulations to align with the expected final U.S. rules. There may be further changes when the U.S. rules are finalized. The scope of the Discussion Draft is essentially the same as the existing U.S. standards with the exception of some minor differences:

  • The Canadian Regulations exclude hobby engines, such as those used to power reduced scale model aircraft. Hobby engines are expected to be specifically excluded under the updated Part 90 of the CFR. The U.S. EPA estimates that hobby engines account for much less than 0.01 percent of hydrocarbon emissions from all mobile sources in the U.S.
  • The Canadian Regulations include engines used to propel recreational vehicles with the exception of snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-road motorcycles whereas the current U.S. rules exclude engines with specific operating characteristics that are used to propel recreational vehicles. This difference is expected mainly to affect go-kart engines. The Discussion Draft would capture go-kart engines rated up to 19 kW.

These issues will be addressed once the U.S. standards are finalized.

The Discussion Draft does not address the "opt-in" provisions contained in the U.S. rules whereby a manufacturer can elect to certify an engine to either the small spark-ignition engine emissions standards or an alternative standard. The U.S. has proposed "opt-in" categories for engines rated between 19 and 30 kW as well as for ATVs and for motorcycles with engines less than 70 cc displacement. It is our intention to address this situation when Canadian regulations for large spark-ignition engines and recreational vehicles are developed.

The Department is seeking comment on the proposed regulatory approach.

Winter Use Engines

The U.S. EPA rules for small spark-ignition engines incorporate alternative emissions standards for engines used during winter. Engines used exclusively for winter-time machinery, such as ice augers and snowblowers need not meet the combined hydrocarbon/nitrogen oxides standard, which mainly addresses summer smog. The winter engines must be certified to the applicable CO standard. Also, two-stroke engines used to power snowblowers can be certified to a less stringent standard (equivalent to a standard for handheld devices).

There are no special labeling or information requirements for such engines under the U.S. rule. A "loose" engine certified under the U.S. EPA winter-time provisions is not distinguished from other loose engines certified by the U.S. EPA. Consequently there exists a risk that winter-time engines could be installed in non-winter applications once imported into Canada.

The Department is seeking comments on whether the Canadian regulations require special provisions to address engines certified to the U.S. EPA "wintertime" standard.

Averaging, Banking and Trading

The U.S. EPA rule incorporates an optional averaging, banking and trading program that allows manufacturers to certify one or more engine families above the prescribed standard as long as the increased emissions are offset, on a sales weighted basis, by one or more engine families certified below the standard. Individual engines certified under the averaging provisions cannot exceed a prescribed maximum level.

The Discussion Draft does not include averaging. Engines covered by a U.S. EPA certificate of conformity and offered for sale concurrently in the U.S. will be eligible in Canada. Alternatively, an engine that does not carry a U.S. certificate of conformity must be certified at or below the Canadian standards, which are the same as the U.S. standards without averaging.

The U.S. program addresses a relatively limited number of engine manufacturers. There is one small spark-ignition engine assembly plant in Canada. Therefore almost all small spark-ignition engines in Canada are imported, by over 400 retailers, wholesalers and machinery manufacturers. Most are, whether originating from the U.S. or from offshore, covered by a U.S. EPA certificate of conformity. Canadian importers would not normally have access to the information necessary to calculate emission averages.

The Department is seeking comment on the proposed approach.

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