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Emission-rating scores on outboard engines is a topic that few people are willing to discuss. But we want to talk about it, and with good reason. One company in particular, Evinrude, is known to be very popular when it comes to the emissions on its engines. Let’s take a look at why.

Evinrude Clean Technology Captain's Report

Contents of Report

Acid Rain and EPA Emissions

While emissions don’t impact the speed of the boat, hydrocarbons and nitric oxides contained within them can cause some other things to happen, like acid rain. It can kill trees, and in lakes and rivers it can change the pH level of the water to the point where marine life starts to die.

Evinrude Clean Technology chart
This chart indicates the pH levels where aquatic life can thrive and where these organisms start to die. When the pH level drops below five, it means trouble for most creatures. Hydro carbons and nitric oxides emitted from outboards can have an impact on pH levels.

EPA emissions standards for outboard engines began to be phased in during the late 1990s and two-stroke engine makers responded with direct fuel injection outboards that eliminated the carburetor and provided better fuel economy in addition to lowering emissions. California, which has the worst smog pollution in the United States, enacted even stricter emissions regulations (CARB) for outboards sold in that state, and they went into effect sooner than the EPA 2006 guidelines.

Ratings and Comparisons

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) instituted a star numbering system to identify the cleanliness of an outboard motor. A three-star certified motor today emits less than 10% of the emissions recorded from an average pre-1998 outboard. Virtually all outboards sold in the U.S. today have a three-star CARB rating. But among all of them, the 2-stroke Evinrude E-TEC G2 has the lowest emissions of all.

Evinrude Clean Technology 3 star
Evinrude’s engines adhere to a stricter emissions standard than the average 3-star rating most outboards today would have.

When the total carbon nitric oxide and carbon monoxide levels are measured using EPA standards in compliance tests of these five engines, the Evinrude E-TEC G2 engine scored 77.8, the lowest of any major 150-horsepower 4-stroke engine on the market. The next closest competitive outboard brand scored 89.4. And the worst was the Yamaha 150-horsepower 4-stroke scoring 154.6, or nearly twice the emissions of the Evinrude E-TEC G2 2-stroke 150.

Evinrude Clean Technology horsepower
The Evinrude E-TEC G2 shows to be the lowest of any major horsepower engine on the market.

The entire Evinrude E-TEC outboard lineup is 100% globally compliant with all environmental regulations on the world’s waterways, including Lake Tahoe in California, and Lake Constance in Europe, which have the toughest emissions requirements in the world. Evinrude E-TEC was also the first outboard to ever be awarded a Clean Air Excellence award, that recognizes and honors outstanding innovation efforts to help make progress in achieving cleaner air.


Cleaner burning also means more efficient burning. Evinrude’s E-TEC G2 has direct fuel injection into the cylinder. The 4-stroke outboards have indirect fuel injection, which is outside of the combustion chamber.

It also has an electromagnetic fuel injector. Like the driver on a stereo speaker it pulsates thousands of times a second, and varies depending on how much fuel is needed.

A dome in the top of the combustion chamber permits stratified combustion at low RPMs. In this case, only a miniscule amount of fuel… as little as the size of a few champagne bubbles, combust in the dome and don’t need the whole cylinder, or a lot of fuel, to do their work.

No other outboard in class has these three elements. And they are largely why the Evinrude E-TEC G2 engines have more complete burning resulting in the lowest emissions and excellent fuel efficiency.

Evinrude Clean Technology fuel injection
The Evinrude E-TEC G2 cylinder has direct fuel injection for cleaner burning.
Evinrude Clean Technology injector
The injector pulsates thousands of times per second to measure precise amounts of fuel going into the cylinder.
Evinrude Clean Technology features
No other engine in class has these three features.


It’s clear to see why emissions are so important to the Evinrude E-TEC G2 lineup and how it helps the outboards be so fuel efficient. And this is just one of the many attributes that makes these engines so popular and reliable.


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