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EPA To Adopt California Streetbike Emission Standards

New road motorcycles sold nationwide will be required to meet strict emissions standards set by the state of California beginning in 2006 under rules being proposed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency, the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) reports.

While the EPA hasn't released its final proposal for public comment, a draft proposal obtained by the AMA shows the EPA wants to adopt a two-tier standard already approved in California on a delayed basis.The first tier of California standards will go into effect in 2004, with the second tier scheduled for 2008. The federal EPA is proposing to adopt the same standards but on a two-year delay, meaning tier one would take effect in 2006 and tier two in 2010.

Road motorcycles built before the 2006 model year would be unaffected by the new regulations and would remain legal to ride.If adopted, the new federal emissions regulations are expected to result in an increased use of fuel injection and catalytic converters on new motorcycles.

Some current motorcycles sold nationwide already meet California's strict 2008 standard. Honda's 2002 Gold Wing, for example, meets the California standard with the use of an emissions control system that includes fuel injection and a three-way exhaust catalyzer to reduce emissions of hydrocarbons,nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide.

Besides tightening existing standards for street motorcycles, the EPA had suggested that the new rules might include requirements for specific components on motorcycles to meet the regulations, as well as stricter "anti-tampering"regulations, which could prohibit certain modifications to motorcycles.

The AMA asked federal officials to refrain from establishing such a list of technologies that manufacturers must use in making cleaner motorcycles. Instead,the Association recommended setting performance-based standards that would allow manufacturers the maximum amount of innovation in reducing emissions.

The advance copy of the proposed emissions regulations indicates that the EPA has taken that approach, leaving it up to the manufacturers to figure out how to meet the standards. The agency also provided an exemption for small manufacturers who may not have the resources to do the research and development needed to meet the proposed new national emissions standards.

Under that exemption, motorcycle manufacturers with sales of fewer than 3,000 bikes a year, and having fewer than 500 employees, would have until the 2008 model year to meet the tier one national emissions standard. Those manufacturers wouldn't be required to meet the tougher tier two standards.

New motorcycles sold in California beginning with the 2004 model year must emit no more than 1.4 grams per kilometer of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides,and 12 grams per kilometer of carbon monoxide. The proposed federal standard would be the same, but would go into effect in 2006.

The California standard gets tougher in 2008, with a limit of 0.8 grams per kilometer of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides and 12 grams per kilometer of carbon monoxide. The proposed federal standard would be the same, but would go into effect in 2010.

Currently, the federal emissions standards for on-road motorcycles are 5.0 grams per kilometer of hydrocarbons and 12 grams per kilometer of carbon monoxide.

Meanwhile, the EPA is also in the process of finalizing emissions standards for off-road motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles.

For more information, go to the AMA's website at www.AMADirectlink.com and click on the "Protecting Your Right to Ride" button
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