We often get calls and E-Mail's regarding the recent action by the California Air Resources Board (CARB).  This only applies to 2-stroke outboard engines.  We have answered some frequently asked questions below:

Table of Contents

  1. What is going on ?
  2. Why did this happen ?
  3. What does the labeling systems mean ?

What is going on?

The CARB ruling takes effect 1/1/02 and bars the sale of any conventional 2-stroke motor in the state of California.  All 4-stroke and injected (Ficht, Optimax etc.) 2-stroke motors are exempt.

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Why did this happen?

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) negotiated a new agreement with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  which would have phased out the conventional 2-stroke motor effective 1/1/06.  The industry recognized that this change was necessary and in the best interest of the environment.  The seven year phase in would allow the engine manufacturers to perfect direct injection models or develop new 4-stroke models.  It was understood at the time that CARB would follow the EPA and abide by the 2006 deadline.  An Assembly bill by Debra Bowen of San Diego failed to pass which addressed this issue as a water pollution issue.  CARB was lobbied to pick up this bill as an air pollution issue and pass it without much public input.

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What does the labeling system mean ?

CARB will label all outboards in the state in a tiered program depending on pollution standards set by CARB.  A "1 star" label  will apply to all motors made prior to 1997.  A "2 star" label will be applied to all current DFI or FICHT motors such as RAM FICHT or Mercury Optimax.  The "3 star" label does not currently apply to any motor under production.  It is unclear if any motors will meet this criteria in the near future.

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Information provided by Western Outdoor News &  Mercury Marine.
Copyright (c) Castaic Boat & Marine. All rights reserved.
Revised: May 08, 2003.