The auto industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in existence, with everything from the height of the headlights to how many parts-per-million of NOx can be emitted from the engine. But just how clean are today’s cars? Edmunds Inside Line put two vehicles, a Ford F-150 SVT Raptor pickup and a Fiat 500 compact up against two leaf blowers they bought from Home Depot. You’re not going to believe this.For those of you unfamiliar with the Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, it is an off-road specialty vehicle with a 6.2 liter V8 engine and two-and-a-half tons of badass truck to haul. Edmunds selected it and the Fiat 500, which has a 1.4 liter four-cylinder engine, to represent two opposite ends of the automotive spectrum. Then they picked up two leaf blowers from Home Depot, one a 50 cc two-stroke backpack model, the other a 30 cc four-stroke handheld. Then they went to the emissions labs to see what was cleaner; cars, or leaf blowers?
The AAA lab ran the full, three-phase FTP 75 test cycle on both vehicles, which consists of 505 seconds of cold-start running, 864 seconds of “stable” running, and stage three is a repeat of stage one, except that the engine is already warmed up (and thus producing fewer emissions.) The leafblowers switched between idle and full blast, which Edmunds says is how most landscapers run their equipment (having done landscaping myself, I can say that this is, for the most part, an accurate statement.)
Unbelievably, the SVT Raptor produced less emissions than either leafblower by a wide, wide margin. The four-stroke handheld unit produced almost 7 times more NOx and 13.5 times as much CO as the Raptor. The two-stroke blower produced 23 times more CO and almost 300 times more NMCH than the pickup truck. Edmunds ran the test again, comparing the cold-start results of the Raptor against an idling blower, and still the vehicles produced fewer emissions than the leafblowers out of much larger, more powerful engines.
That is because the EPA only started regulating these engines a decade ago, and new emissions standards go in place on small engines (depending on their size) either this year or next. But for now at least, cars are cleaner than leaf blowers.
The car industry has come a long way, that much is for sure, but small engine manufacturers have a long way to go.
Source: Edmunds Inside Line
Source: Gas 2.0 (http://s.tt/14HBG)