By on December 6, 2011

Edmunds emission-tested a 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Crew Cab and a 2012 Fiat 500 against an Echo PB-500T and a Ryobi RY09440 leaf blower.

The Raptor has a 411-horsepower 6.2-liter V8. The Fiat 500 is powered (if you can say that) by a 1.4-liter four.

The leaf blowers tested receive their blow from a 50.8cc two-stroke air-cooled single-cylinder engine for the Echo and a 30cc four-stroke engine for the Ryoby. Which pollutes more?

NMHC NOx CO
2011 Ford Raptor 0.005 0.005 0.276
2012 Fiat 500 0.016 0.010 0.192
Ryobi 4-stroke leaf blower 0.182 0.031 3.714
Echo 2-stroke leaf blower 1.495 0.010 6.445

I guess you saw that coming. Pretty amazing, still. Expect a backlash against leaf blowers.

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90 Comments on “Leaf Blowers Create Giant Ozone Hole...”


  • avatar
    segfault

    The leaf blower emissions aren’t surprising.

    What is surprising is that although the F-150 burns at least twice as much fuel as the Fiat, it also emits significantly lower pollutants on two out of three measures.

    • 0 avatar
      Chicago Dude

      A lawsuit by the Sierra Club forced the EPA to start regulating two-stroke engines in the mid 1990s. What is sold now represents a dramatic improvement in emissions from then!

      Edmunds points out that the Fiat is an LEV-II vehicle in the US while the Raptor is ULEV-II. I guess the higher price gave Ford the room to spec a more expensive (and more effective) emissions system in the Raptor.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Environmentalists aren’t scientists, they are Pilgrims demanding we return to the Garden of Eden because of our sinful ways.

        Those sinful ways revolves around daily modern life, which they consider sinful and harmful to the Garden. Cars, beef, furs, children, gas, oil, chemicals, concrete, cities, highways, you name it – to environmentalists, if we got rid of these things then we can all return to Eden.

        Instead of buckles on hats, we have buckles on belts.
        Instead of preaching from pulpits, we have preaching from DC.
        Instead of Cotton Mather, we have Al Gore.

        So, facts aren’t important here. What matters are the sinful symbols of our modern life. Yeah – leaf blowers are worse than cars, but to these people, cars represent a bigger evil.

        Even if we could create emission free cars, (which we really cannot), environmentalists would simply go after us for using materials they consider sinful in building those cars.

        As to the secondary impacts of their unscientific demands upon us in removing sinful behavior, such as the abuse of rare earth materials and pollution in creating car hybrid batteries more damaging than combustion engines, or the harm caused by Ethanol over gasoline, environmentalists don’t freaking care.

        Because it’s all about religion and faith to them. We’re sinners.

      • 0 avatar
        rwb

        Sucks being considered a sinner by pious blowhards, doesn’t it?

      • 0 avatar
        Jellodyne

        That’s one heck of a straw man you’ve got built up there, Vanilla. Good luck fighting it, should be pretty easy!

      • 0 avatar
        windswords

        “Cars, beef, furs, children, …”

        Classic! In the future the Sierra Club will rail against couples who want to have more than two children. “Why does anyone need more than two cars – err children?” they will say. It’s not a straw man for some this is their religion. And he’s right, if one could produce a truly zero emissions car they will find something else about to bitch about. It is the nature of their beast.

      • 0 avatar

        @vanillaDude:

        I’m an enviro. I have ridden a bicycle across the country. I compost. I put R-30 in my uninsulated roof. I mow my lawn with a pre-WWII mechancal push mower. And I LOVE cars. If you don’t believe me on that, go visit my website, motorlegends.com, or do a search here on my name for some of my articles.

        Your comments are gross generalizations that probably apply to not more than five percent of enviros. Any group is going to have people who take things to ridiculous extremes. Your comment is in no way enlightening. You have made some insightful comments on various topics–I’d like to see more of those.

      • 0 avatar
        CamaroKid

        But Vanilla Dude, facts DO matter, and the facts are that since all of these green lefties (and righties… it was Nixon who created the EPA after all) set in place regulations as per emissions standards, our cars and trucks have met and exceeded them all while getting better and better mileage and better and better performance.

        Yes the buckles moved from our shoes to our belts… More facts for ya, seat belts save lives, lower emissions save lives.

        For people who can’t understand simple science, ya it is a religion, for those of us who both love cars AND love the planet that we live on, they are simple facts. Now excuse me while I commute to work in my 550HP low emissions Cadillac.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      VanillaDude, that’s crap.

      I’m a car nut, have been all my life. There’s nothing mutually exclusive between liking cars and recognizing the obvious reality, long since proven in multiple ways, that we’re living in a trash can that we’ve almost filled.

      The oil companies and other monied interests have paid PR firms and corrupt scientists princely sums to gin up “controversies” about topics like global warming and Peak Oil, most of them as bogus as creationism vs. evolution or the Tooth Fairy vs. preventive dentistry.

      Al Gore is not perfect, but he had one thing very, very right: the inescapable consequences of pollution are indeed An Inconvenient Truth.

      Now, the difference between me and these straw men you so eagerly set up to knock down is, I don’t know exactly what to do about it. I, for one, am not eager to give up my 20-mpg wondersled in the name of a cleaner world, just as I wager you’re not. You and I only differ in that I admit I’m part of a problem.

      And no, as I type this, I’m not wearing a penitential hair shirt. I’m just living in a reality-based world…that is filling up with crud.

      • 0 avatar
        VanillaDude

        Relax.
        Been to the Rockies lately?
        Had you gone there a century ago, you probably would have had a freaking heart attack at the environmental destruction throughout. Mountains blown up, forests destroyed, prairies ruined, crystal clear mountain streams turned into industrial sewers, arsenic mining tailings, radioactive dumps, strip mining, three million dripping outhouses in Colorado alone. Mines pumping out toxic air pollution and liquid poisons, mills churning out more pollution than an entire city today…

        Have you seen how all that turned out? The West isn’t considered a natural beauty because a government suddenly intervened forty years ago – it looks like it does because the Earth can come back.

        Been to New England?
        Those forests are new. The old ones were logged away by 1900.

        Been to Germany?
        Those folks claim a special tie to their forests and nature, and have been bragging about it since Heine’s days. Those forests are not original. The land between The Hague in the Netherlands, across to Hamburg used to be under the sea. They freaking changed the entire earthscape there.

        Why did they do all of this? Because they weren’t a bunch of people who though they needed to help God save the Earth. They thought they needed to help God save human souls, but they believed God was a lot more powerful in saving the natural world than we do today. Today, Germans are so paranoid about harming the environment, it seems they are afraid to fart. They have somehow forgotten more than a decade of death and destruction after six decades of rebuilding. It was hate than destroyed their environment, not need.

        I see most of the environmentalists as people who see modern life as sinful as previous generations used to see mastubation as sinful. Both want to save us from ourselves, by demanding that they call the shots and run our lives. They don’t believe in people because they believe people are stupid, inmoral and for environmentalists, wasteful.

        In the Middle Ages these people believed Jews caused the floods because they don’t accept Jesus as the Son of God. Today, these people believe we caused hurricanes and ocean risings because we live sinful wasteful modern lives.

        To them, facts don’t matter – they believe in their faith, and that is all that matters. Trucks=evil. Chemicals=evil. Modern life=evil.

      • 0 avatar
        Hildy Johnson

        Vanilla, you’re right about nature recovering. However, you still need regulations to discontinue the pollution – only then can recovery begin.

        It is also not true that ‘the land between The Hague in the Netherlands, across to Hamburg used to be under the sea’. This applies to very little of it. If you go 700 years back in time, there used to be more, not less dry area at the North Sea shore. And guess what, only government intervention has managed to put an effective stop to the continued loss of land and lives, and to reclaim a small share of the formerly lost lands.

        Of course, environmentalist zealotry exists, but that is no reason to poor out the baby with the bathwater.

    • 0 avatar
      SunnyvaleCA

      I believe that those measures are percentage of total volume coming out the tailpipe. So, if the F-150 burns twice as much fuel, there is twice as much volume and it would be fair to double its pollution figures when comparing to the Fiat. With the large engine, the F-150 probably also runs longer in the high-pollution cold start condition.

    • 0 avatar
      Lokki

      SHIPS! Why doesn’t anyone ever mention ships? Here we are chasing poor little leaf blowers when you could put entire leaf blowers into the cylinders of ship engines and they’d just burp them out the smokestacks.

      Yeah they started pollution controls for them back in 1998 but that’s -started.

      Still, molehills are in the backyard and easy to see while ships… are over the horizon.

  • avatar
    Kevin Kluttz

    Oh, please. I think I’ll go fire up my Stihl 27cc, 1.1hp hand-held 185mph blower right now in celebration and make the hole bigger.

  • avatar
    joe_thousandaire

    What exactly is NMHC, I’m guessing something-something hydro-carbons? Also I see they tested carbon monoxide but not CO2, the greenhouse gas everyone is so worried about, why?

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      Non-methane hydrocarbons. Methane apparently isn’t a smog contributor. The heavier hydrocarbons are.

      CO2 emissions aren’t regulated (at least, not in the same way). The emission tests are for stuff that will poison you in short order, not for stuff that affects the climate over a period of decades or centuries.

    • 0 avatar

      non-methane hydrocarbons. I had to google it. And I had the same question about co2.

    • 0 avatar
      Hildy Johnson

      Any combustion engine is supposed to maximize complete combustion of fuel, that is to convert it quantitatively to CO2 and H2O. Therefore, the output of CO2 is simply proportional to the input of fuel – no point in measuring that.

  • avatar

    Umm…the ozone hole is created by Freon, not by CO or other hydrocarbon combustion byproduct.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      There is no ozone hole…. Every time the sun shines, UV light reacts with oxygen and forms ozone. Every time there is a lightening strike, the electricity in the air reacts with oxygen forming ozone.

      No matter how much ozone is supposedly destroyed by CFCs, there is an endless supply being created.

      And every time an ozone molecule is broken down by a CFC, the CFCs molecular bond is weakened and eventually itself is destroyed, and if not, they eventually escape into outer space.

      • 0 avatar
        MarkP

        The ozone referred to by the “ozone hole” is in the stratosphere, far above weather systems that form lightning. CFCs destroy ozone because they are catalysts; they react chemically to destroy ozone molecules, and then hang around to do it again. They have a very long life span – tens to hundreds of years. With CFCs present in the stratosphere, the ozone levels reach an equilibrium that is determined by formation and destruction. The equilibrium level is lower with CFCs than without. And CFCs are virtually entirely man-made.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        MarkP: Don’t blow Rush Limburger’s arguments with facts or anything like that. A story like this brings out all the anti environmental protection folks. Sorry to burst your bubble but regulation made cars as clean as they are, not folks clamoring for it. However, those regulations made people aware and most would not be happy with a car that stank like a 60′s car if it were available today. Yep, some here would say they would love to buy such a car, just like they say they want a 6 speed manual equipped wagon…this same approach is now being used to clean up outdoor power equipment and a user of these devices, I am happy. I tossed my old smelly stuff in the scrap metal bin and love the new clean burning equipment. Same goes for snowmobiles…I hated having my expensive skiwear stink like a winter redneck. I can’t imagine anybody arguing that all this has not been a net positive for everybody…

    • 0 avatar
      Hildy Johnson

      Nitrous oxide is supposed to deplete ozone. How much of it really reaches the ozone layer I don’t know, it should be much less stable than CFC, and I would expect most of it to be converted to nitric acid or nitrous acid and fall down as rain before it reaches the ozone layer. However, this is just my guess, not based on research.

  • avatar
    MarkP

    NMHC = non-methane hydrocarbons.

    Paul, right you are. In fact, HCs produce ozone near ground level.

    Everyone should really follow the link. Much is explained there, except I didn’t see exactly what “weighted” grams per minute meant. But the original article actually explains the results, including truck-vs-Fiat.

    • 0 avatar
      Dynasty

      HCs don’t produce ozone.

      Ozone is three or more oxygen atoms bonded.

      What is reported in the media regarding ground level ozone may in fact be true ozone, but more often than not are really nitrous oxides. Either as a byproduct of combustion, or the reaction of UV light on vehicle or factory pollution.

  • avatar
    Sundowner

    It’s a cute comparison, but ultimately worthless. cars run thousands of hours over the course of their lives, and the vast majority of people in this country own at least one and use it everyday. How many 2 stroke engines are there in this country and how often do they get used?

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Which pollutes more? That’s a question of usage. It’s like comparing the cost of a gallon of gas to a gallon of olive oil.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      Agreed, there is a lacking “per” term in the results, e.g., is it emissions per gallon? If so, it misses the effect of total fuel consumption. It’s similar for the leaf blowers. Does the more powerful 2-stroke get the job done in half the time using less overall fuel? Probably not, but that’s something you have to answer to get the right answer.

    • 0 avatar
      faygo

      in the Inside Line piece it’s note that on one of the measures, running the leaf blower for 30 minutes was the same as driving the Raptor ~3800 miles. unless one has a very small yard (and if you did, why would you buy a blower ?), I can see using a blower for say 5 hours/year, which is the same emissions as 2 years of average vehicle usage. the puzzle for reduced emissions has a lot of different pieces, each with their own contribution.

      I found this piece to be 100% better than the lame motorcycles vs cars piece Mythbusters did – that was a low point for them on vehicle-related myths…

  • avatar

    The Ozone Hole = another environmental scare story that didn’t pan out.

    It’s not so fashionable to talk about the ozone hole anymore. It’s interesting that just as more scientific research started questioning the alleged link between chlorinated fluorocarbons and the supposedly growing hole in the ozone layer over the South Pole, the environmental movement latched onto carbon dioxide as a bad guy.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      We actually did something about it. That’s why it’s not a horror story anymore.

      But we did do some damage. Head south, like to Chile or New Zealand, and you’ll see UV forecasts as part of the weather report, and a greater concern about skin cancer in general. They’re dealing with the aftermath, mild as it may have turned out to be.

      • 0 avatar
        Contrarian

        Almost all countries weather services have a UV forecast, but it’s a sunlight intensity measurement for general skin health purposes and not due to any particular ozone layer issues that people may or may not have caused.

        And personally, up here in the Toronto area, ours is far too low most of the year.

      • 0 avatar

        CFCs probably contribute something to ozone depletion, just not at the level previously thought.

        The problem with the greens who cry wolf is that some legitimate environmental concerns get mixed in with a lot of questionable science all driven by the precautionary principle.

      • 0 avatar
        Dynasty

        Any “damage” that was done, was repaired in about five minutes…

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Of course by banning CFCs we are now forced to use less efficient refrigerants, wasting energy and driving up costs. Standards of living have been lowered, and the misanthropes have been served.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        …..Of course by banning CFCs we are now forced to use less efficient refrigerants, wasting energy and driving up costs. Standards of living have been lowered……

        YOU are talking about the lowering of the standard of living???? The person who referred to union workers as “tumors”??? The delight you had when the dehumanized people were rehired for a substantially lowered wage? Oh, I get it. When the environment gets protected its bad because it lowers the standard of living. When a worker get screwed by his employer its “good business practice”…Hypocrite

      • 0 avatar
        tonycd

        Exactly right. We banned CFC aerosols, and the damage has started to repair itself.

      • 0 avatar
        CamaroKid

        TonyCd…

        Remember that science is cause and effect… We figure out that CFC’s are causing a problem with the protective Ozone layer, we test and document this in the lab, we measure skin cancer rates and see that there is a direct link. So we ban CFC’s and the problem gets better… All that left for the religion folk who get none of that is to argue that there wasn’t a problem in the first place…

        The same thing will happen with Global warming/Climate Change. IF humanity dodges that bullet, the religion folk will go… “see told you, it was all media hype” of course the “other hand” won’t matter since if we fail to solve this problem we will all be dead.

      • 0 avatar
        Hildy Johnson

        Camaro Kid – actually, you’ve got the cart before the horse. No disaster occurred, but because we had ‘done something’, it is still possible to claim that disaster would have occurred.

        It will be different with global warming, though. CO2 emissions are going to increase, but there will be no disaster regardless. So this time, the green zealots will have to eat crow.

    • 0 avatar
      MarkP

      It’s a popular thing among climate skeptics to discount the fact that environmental regulations actually did help with ozone depletion. It allows them to argue that regulations cannot help with anthropogenic global warming. Anyone who thinks the “ozone hole” was not an actual phenomenon or that CFCs did not play a role is simply not familiar with the facts. I admit that atmospheric chemistry is not a simple area, but this is one place you can trust the atmospheric scientists. The reason you don’t hear much about it today has little or nothing to do with the continuing research, and a whole lot to do with the facts that there are new problems to talk about, and the general news media have moved on to other, more important things – you know, like the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor, and which celebrity got a divorce or arrested recently.

    • 0 avatar
      ckb

      I see it more logical than interesting. CFC’s and other known ozone depleting chemicals were largely banned and the problem was greatly reduced. Moving on to another potential problem (man made global warming) is exactly what should happen. Hopefully GW won’t pan out either but a mountain of evidence and ~95% of the scientific community suggests its something worth looking into. In the meantime, I’m inclined to agree.

    • 0 avatar
      GS650G

      The ozone scare, along with acid rain, the coming ice age, and depletion of food/water/oil are all examples of media driven frenzy.

  • avatar
    George B

    Shows how far we have come in cleaning up pollution from automobiles. The original article also reported that the Raptor actually helped clean the air!

    From Insideline: “Here’s why you should care. When the Raptor (and the Fiat) was running Phase 2 of its tests on the dyno, it was cleaning the air of hydrocarbons. Yes, there were actually fewer hydrocarbons in the Raptor’s exhaust than in the air it — and we — breathed. In the Raptor’s case, the ambient air contained 2.821 ppm of total hydrocarbons, and the amount of total hydrocarbons coming out the Raptor’s tailpipe measured 2.639 ppm.”

    • 0 avatar

      It’s fun to tell people that sometimes car and truck exhaust is cleaner than the air used to run the car and watch their heads explode. Tell ‘em that someone on a bicycle puts out a non-trivial amount of CO2 and they get a quizzical look on their faces.

      A lot of folks, including smart and supposedly educated people, don’t know very much about science and technology.

      • 0 avatar
        Acubra

        >>smart and supposedly educated people, don’t know very much about science and technology>>

        Well, here’s an oxymoron here. If they don’t know very much about science and technology, and are shocked to hear about humans emitting “a non-trivial amount of CO2″, then they are neither smart nor educated.

      • 0 avatar
        Ubermensch

        Fortunately, other people are smarter than you and recognize that the CO2 being emitted by a bicyclist and the mouths of political blowhards like yourself is “borrowed” from the existing atmosphere and is carbon neutral. The problem is with digging up billions of tons of carbon that has been sequestered away for millions of years and dumping it into the atmosphere at a rate that the existing carbon cycle can’t handle.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        It’s fun to tell people that sometimes car and truck exhaust is cleaner than the air used to run the car and watch their heads explode. Tell ‘em that someone on a bicycle puts out a non-trivial amount of CO2 and they get a quizzical look on their faces.

        And they’d be right to look quizzical, because you’re dead wrong on both points, unless you’re changing the definitions of “cleaner” and “non-trivial” to support your own interpretation.

  • avatar

    I use a rake. It’s funny, I consider myself a conservationist and have worked in waste management. I’m pretty skeptical about most environmental claims and prefer market solutions. That being said, I use a bicycle for transportation a good deal of the time, I clean up leaves and cut grass with a hand rake, and I use an electrically powered lawn mower. I think that a lot of the ICE powered tools, powered by ubiquitous generic Chinese 25cc, 33cc, and 50cc engines, are wasteful. Does a leaf blower really work faster and better than a rake? It might take less physical labor, but does it really do the job better and faster? If you cut it regularly and don’t let the grass get too long, you can even use a hand mower. When I was a kid, my dad kept our lawn cut with a hand reel mower. They’re pretty neat.

    • 0 avatar
      Coley

      “Does a leaf blower really work faster and better than a rake?”

      You’re more than welcome to come over to my two-and-a-half-acre wooded lot any Saturday in October and find out for yourself.

      Or I can save you the effort and offer an unequivocal “YES!” I would still be out there raking LAST Fall’s leaves if I didn’t have an Echo backpack blower. It burns maybe one gallon of gas per season.

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        I’ll be That Guy.

        I’m having difficulty understanding why you’re clearing leaves from a 2.5 acre wooded lot.

        Do you fertilize the grass every spring?

      • 0 avatar
        Coley

        Signal11 – “I’m having difficulty understanding why you’re clearing leaves from a 2.5 acre wooded lot.”

        The lot’s probably about 2/3 woods; I’m only clearning the leaves from the other 1/3, and pushing them into the perimeter of the woods. My point was to illustrate that the lawn areas are surrounded by trees, and there are a lot of leaves to clear. No, I don’t fertilize the lawn; I use a mulching mower.

        Someone else mentioned that leaf blowers become ineffective when the dry pile is about three-feet high. It just takes a different technique at that point: you shave layer after layer from the top.

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        Well, that makes some sense.

        I was about to launch into a diatribe on leaves, the nitrogen cycle and silly American practices but thought maybe I’d ask a question first. :)

    • 0 avatar
      ringomon

      Agreed 100% on the overkill for the job thing.
      Not to mention that the manual methods help to keep you in shape.
      How many desk jockeys go home to their manageble suburban plots and use a riding mower, snowblower, and leafblower and then go to the gym and jog on a treadmill?

      I grew up using a non-powered push-mower (in the 80′s!) because it got the job done (after my dad’s prized electric lawnmower had finally bit it). My dad is a mechanical engineer and loved the mechanical simplicity of the push-mower. I view raking leaves as a Fall tradition. We lived in an urban neighborhood so it wasn’t a huge plot, but it was big enough to throw a ball around at least…

      As a desk-jockey myself I almost look for excuses to get outside and do manual labor. (I can understand why someone who does manual labor 40+ a week or the elderly might not look forward to pushing a lawnmower or raking leaves though.)

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Having tried both (including a monster blower powered by a 5 hp Briggs & Stratton engine), I would say that a rake is more effective on grass. It dislodges leaves that are stuck to bare spots or caught within the grass (even mowed grass).

      OTOH, for getting leaves out of flower beds and big azalea bushes, you gotta have at least a small blower. (I use an electric jobbie that’s not as noisy.)

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        May I suggest a Little Wonder HPV? It was the best $1,500 I ever spent, at least in regards to outdoor equipment…mulches the hell out of the leaves…vacs like mad, and made in USA…

    • 0 avatar
      mazder3

      Speaking as a lawn care professional, a leaf blower is faster than a rake 90% of the time. That 10% is only when leaf piles are too high to be blown effectively, roughly 3 ft high dry, 1 ft wet. Of course that is using an Echo PB-750 or Stihl BR600. Anything less is just a gas powered hair drier.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        I’d rather the lawn care folks around me use vacuums. As it is, they just blow everything in one direction, then back, then back again, and so forth. They double or triple their work because they aren’t actually accomplishing anything with the leaf blowers (except making noise). At least with a vacuum, once they’ve ‘blown’ it once, it’s gone.

  • avatar
    bucksnort

    …maybe now my wife will let me buy an environmentally responsible big block Ford truck.

  • avatar
    grzydj

    Don’t use a freakin’ leaf blower. Much your damn leaves with a mower with a mulching blade on it, it’s free lawn fertilizer ferchrisakes.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    So, all we need is a leaf blower powered by a Ford Coyote V8.

    Sounds like a job for Jeremy Clarkson…or Red Green.

  • avatar
    windswords

    Stupid comparison because 2 stroke engine are inherently more polluting than their 4 stroke brethren. Years ago the auto industry tried to develop 2 strokes to power cars but they couldn’t solve the emissions issues, especially nitrous oxides.

    • 0 avatar
      Brian P

      NOx was not a big problem on account of the two-stroke operation itself. Two-strokes inherently have a built-in exhaust gas recirculation mechanism that mostly takes care of the NOx. The problem with a normal two-stroke is the massive CO and HC, and the dismal fuel consumption, and the rather low exhaust temperature combined with lube oil escaping out the exhaust, all of which is not favorable for catalytic-converter operation.

      The NOx problem happens when you try to use direct injection in lean-burn mode to get around the CO, HC, and fuel consumption. You get the same NOx issue if you run a four-stroke in lean-burn mode.

      • 0 avatar
        nikita

        DI, if done primarily for economy and not increased power, lowers temps and therefore NOx. You cannot run a spark ignition engine with port injection lean enough to lower temperatures significantly and not lean misfire. DI allows a rich mixture right at the location of the spark plug and super lean everywhere else. It is the excess air, rather than wasted fuel and/or recirculated exhaust in the old days, that can result in lower temps.

        This is nothing new, just much more controllable with modern electronics. The 18-cylinder Curtiss-Wright 3350ci Turbocompound engines used on 1950′s Douglas and Lockheed airliners had mechanical direct fuel injection, allowing (relatively) cool running economy cruise.

  • avatar
    70Cougar

    I have a kick ass Stihl leafblower, but I have to admit that the exhaust is so bad that I have to put my clothes outside to air out before I put them in the laundry.

  • avatar
    beefmalone

    I think I’ll go take my KX500 for a spin.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    Old news around 2004 2005((I think) there was a big blowup in the news about how polluting the small engines were. Lawnmowers, leaf blowers, go-karts etc.

    I remember the EPA was going to look into it and probably create some regulations, looks to me that that has not happened, most likely because of the economic meltdown.

    I’d rather see information about how we are going to make these machines more environmentally friendly.

    • 0 avatar
      mazder3

      It happened. 2006/7 for smaller engines, I think. That is when Stihl introduced their “4Mix” line of trimmers and blowers. Also, I pretty sure there was an EPA phase in on lawnmowers in 2003.

      • 0 avatar
        beefmalone

        It definitely happened. Wound up shutting down the LawnBoy plant in Oxford, MS since they couldn’t make the 2stroke mowers anymore. More jobs shipped to the Chicoms.

      • 0 avatar
        daveainchina

        Thanks I thought there was something about that.

        Didn’t know they had catalytic converters in them but it doesn’t surprise me.

        I do know that even with them they are still fairly dirty polluters, I think they don’t run hot enough and aren’t many of them still running carburetors?

        That also would make a huge difference in emissions, moving to fuel injection etc. But there are also costs, and I’m not sure that simple tools like this should be that computerized.

        Realistically how much of an issue are these compared to vehicles and industrial plants pollution?

        I suspect this type of a pollution is relatively insignificant in comparison, on the other hand, I also think it’s a situation where every little bit helps.

        Tough call on whether they should be cleaned up even more.

      • 0 avatar
        Coley

        Dave – I’d have to think that, like you suggest, it’s not an issue that has any significant impact in the aggregate. I think that, by some people, leaf blowers are particularly maligned based on association–they’re “suburban” with all that that entails.

  • avatar
    fishfry smith

    The big news here is that anyone sitting around in their garage with the motor running hoping to end it all are wasting their time. Turn off the car and fire up the leaf blower and you’ll really be in business. The downside is that all that CO may not even be enough to prevent the noise from keeping you awake.

  • avatar
    mistrernee

    The chart doesn’t include Carbon Dioxide emissions at all, which wouldn’t paint the vehicles in a very good light, especially that V8.

    CO, NMHC and NOx are all burned off by the three way catalytic converter, which turns them into CO2 or H2O. Carbon Dioxide isn’t a “pollutant” but it is a green house gas and not so easily dealt with.

    “Hydrocarbons” are basically unburned fuel of some sort, which the cat burns off. 2 Strokes are great at not burning fuel.

    NOx is a different animal. Annoyingly, efficient engines tend to create lots of it.

    “It’s only in the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) — not yet directly regulated by EPA or CARB — where the Raptor is the higher emitter.”

    no shit

  • avatar
    colin42

    There is missing data to say the leaf blower has higher emission. 1st there are no units and 2nd they both have different emissions cycle. It like comparing apples to walnuts!

    • 0 avatar
      mazder3

      Take it from someone who uses small engines seven months out of the year: these things are dirty. I can no longer use a blower, trimmer or even a 17hp 48″ walk-behind mower without a heavy-duty replaceable cartridge fine particulate mask. They will destroy your lungs after extended usage. I can sit next to my idling PZEV Mazda3 all day without an issue.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    I never understood what was wrong with using a rake, or for that matter your feet.

  • avatar
    acuraandy

    A couple of years ago, the City of Minneapolis attempted to ban the use of leaf blowers, push mowers, weed-whips, etc. (And hence why I refuse to EVER live in Minneapolis city limits, or even Hennepin County)

    I now know why.

    I wonder how long until the EPA mandates shoulder-mounted catalytic conveters for these, i’m sure the landscaping community would be all for it…um, right…

    • 0 avatar
      Crabspirits

      I work at a golf course, so I’m around this stuff all the time. They are already out there with the catalysts. They’re not that obtrusive either. They fit inside the muffler and, are about the size of a couple oreo cookies.
      http://www.stihl.co.uk/upload/assetmanager/merkmal_imagefilename/scaled/zoom/M132T002_g.jpg

      These machines are stinky as hell, so we’ve welcomed them with open arms. We even retrofitted some other units that didn’t come with them.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I’d love leaf blowers to be banned–not because of emissions, but because of the noise.

  • avatar
    jconli1

    For years I’ve done much of my commuting on older 150-200cc Vespas or their Indian counterparts (LML kept building the venerable old PX150 long after Piaggio pulled up roots). It is a fantastic paradox: 100+ mpg, small, light, maneuverable, cheap to maintain, low infrastructure impact, and an absolute rip-roaring hoot to ride… yet the constant whiff of smoke reminds you it’s not perfect. (Of course, one company makes strawberry-scented 2T oil… and switching to old fashioned castor is always a nice smell)

    For me, I think the overall benefits (psychological, economic, and societal) outweigh the costs… but I’ve heard some emphatic arguments against, sometimes while in traffic… especially since moving to the enviro-evangelical NW.

    Speaking of evangelism – If you’re remotely into two-wheeled vehicles, abandon any sort of scooter bias you might have and at least try to ride a Vespa or Lambretta (or a newer Stella) once or twice in your life. Not the new plastic twist-n-go 4-strokes, but a bona-fide hand-shifted, 2-stroke, metal-bodied scooter. You’ll understand why they sit alongside the Model T, Beetle, and Mini as transportation icons – and you’ll probably smile while doing it, which might just be worth a few stray HCs.

  • avatar
    montyz81

    At what speed was the F150 going when those numbers were captured? I think you would have to measure it at 55mph and at 15-20mph as those are probably average speeds for traffic and non traffic driving. Also, the f150 spends far more time running then the leaf blower. I agree that small engines needs some standards around emissions control, but this isn’t a fair test unless both items numbers are captured during their normal operating environments.

    • 0 avatar
      MarkP

      If you follow the link in the story, you will find that the test conditions are detailed pretty well. At least for the truck and car, they followed some (apparently) pretty stringent test requirements.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    All I know about leaf blowers is the one my wife and I experienced volunteering for a skit on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” back in late September! That was fun, and when we saw ourselves (and others) on national TV, we laughed our heads off – and so did everyone else!

    F-150 trucks? Never experienced one of those, either, just Chevy and Dodge.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Glad they didn’t test my boats 1996 Yamaha 90HP 2 stroke outboard engine. Its spews blue smoke and gets around 4 mpg. To make for the damage it does to the environment I have an electric leaf blower/sucker.

  • avatar
    likenissan

    You ask “which pollutes more?”. Are you concerned about the concentration of pollution or the amount of pollution?

    I assume what you are listing here is the concentration measured at the tail pipe, without taking into account the volume of exhaust gases.

    The 6 liter engine generates a lot more exhaust volume than the 30cc engine. It also consumes a lot more fuel.


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