Leaf Blower's Emissions Dirtier than High-Performance Pick-Up Truck's, Says Edmunds' InsideLine.com

Leaf Blower's Emissions Dirtier than High-Performance Pick-Up Truck's, Says Edmunds' InsideLine.com

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — December 6, 2011 — A consumer-grade leaf blower emits more pollutants than a 6,200-pound 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor, according to tests conducted by Edmunds' InsideLine.com, the premier online resource for automotive enthusiasts.

The tests found that a Ryobi 4-stroke leaf blower kicked out almost seven times more oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and 13.5 times more carbon monoxide (CO) than the Raptor, which InsideLine.com once dubbed "the ultimate Michigan mudslinger." An Echo 2-stroke leaf blower performed even worse, generating 23 times CO and nearly 300 times more non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) than the Raptor.

"The hydrocarbon emissions from a half-hour of yard work with the two-stroke leaf blower are about the same as a 3,900-mile drive from Texas to Alaska in a Raptor," said Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor at Edmunds.com. "As ridiculous as it may sound, it is more 'green' to ditch your yard equipment and find a way to blow leaves using a Raptor."

The InsideLine.com test also found that the Raptor, which was chosen to represent the extreme heavy-duty end of the light vehicle spectrum, actually reduced the amount of hydrocarbons in the air in the test lab. The ambient air measured prior to the test contained 2.821 parts per million (ppm) of total hydrocarbons, and the amount of total hydrocarbons coming out the Raptor's tailpipe measured 2.639 ppm.

InsideLine also tested a subcompact 2012 Fiat 500 for comparison and found that the Fiat actually emitted more hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen but dispatched less carbon monoxide than the Raptor. But like the Raptor, the 500 tested much cleaner than the leaf blowers.

Edmunds' InsideLine.com FTP 75 Emissions Test Results (in grams per minute)
  Non-Methane Hydrocarbons(NMHC) Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) Carbon Monoxide (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

To compare the emissions of these vehicles and the leaf blowers, Edmunds' InsideLine.com staff conducted FTP 75 emissions tests — one of the primary yardsticks in the U.S. certification of light-duty vehicle emissions and fuel economy — at the American Automobile Association's (AAA) Automotive Research Center in Diamond Bar, CA. The test simulates 11.04 miles driven over 31.2 minutes and includes idle periods, accelerations, decelerations and cruising. The leaf blowers were adjusted to full speed during the cruise periods defined by the FTP 75 and observed the same designated idling periods.

For more details and video of Edmunds' InsideLine.com's experiment, please visit http://www.insideline.com/features/photos/emissions-test-car-vs-truck-vs-leaf-blower-gallery.html.

InsideLine.com's experiment comes just weeks after the Obama administration proposed new Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for 2017-2025 model year vehicles. For a better understanding on how these proposed changes will affect the automotive marketplace, please visit Edmunds.com's FAQ at http://www.edmunds.com/fuel-economy/faq-new-corporate-average-fuel-economy-standards.html.

About Edmunds (http://www.edmunds.com/help/about/index.html)

Edmunds publishes Web sites that empower, engage and educate automotive consumers, enthusiasts and insiders. Edmunds.com, the premier online resource for automotive information, launched in 1995 as the first automotive information Web site and hosts the most established automotive community online. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.edmunds.com, makes car pricing and other research tools available for car shoppers at dealerships and otherwise on the go. InsideLine.com is the most-read automotive enthusiast Web site. Its mobile site, accessible from any smartphone at www.insideline.com, features the wireless Web's highest quality car photos and videos. AutoObserver.com provides insightful automotive industry commentary and analysis. Edmunds is headquartered in Santa Monica, California, and maintains a satellite office in suburban Detroit. Follow Edmunds.com on Twitter@edmunds and fan Edmunds.com on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/edmunds.

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