Outboard makers crank out cleaner machines
January 19, 1997
Web posted at: 3:30 p.m. EST
From Correspondent Natalie Pawelski
LAKE ALLATOONA, Georgia (CNN) -- While flying across the
water in an outboard motorboat can be quite a rush, it's hard
to enjoy the great outdoors when you're filling the air with
smoke and slicking the water with oil. But a new generation
of cleaner outboard motors is helping to make the sport
friendlier to America's waterways.
This month, Outboard Marine Corp. is releasing a new,
radically cleaner two-stroke engine. Its computerized
direct-injection system keeps unburned fuel from spilling out
into the environment. That makes the outboard not only
cleaner, but more efficient too.
The downside is that the new engine costs 20 percent more
than a conventional model, at least for now.
Outboard Marine is spending $100 million to develop the new
engine and converting its factories in order to build it.
The company doesn't have much of a choice; the Environmental
Protection Agency is forcing outboard makers to clean up
The EPA has given the outboard industry 10 years to cut
emissions by 75 percent. Over the next decade, manufacturers
will stop shipping conventional outboards and continue to
develop cleaner models. It's the first time outboard makers
have been required to meet pollution standards.
Some manufacturers are concentrating on four-stroke engines,
touted as naturally cleaner. But others -- including Mercury
Marine, Outboard Marine's main U.S. competitor -- are
concentrating on cleaning up two-strokes.
"The new direct-injection technology basically takes the
two-stroke engine -- which a lot of people thought was dead
-- and gives it a whole new lease on life," said Russ VanRens
of Outboard Marine.
Manufacturers say the key is keeping performance levels high,
even as pollution levels drop. So far, they seem to be
pulling it off.
Related site: Note: Pages will open in a new browser window
External sites are not endorsed by CNN Interactive.