2-Cycle Oil Consumption and Pollution 2-Cycle Oil Consumption and Pollution
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    2-Cycle Oil Consumption and Pollution
from Leo (  
1/14/1999 10:48:00 PM


 Just came back from the Houston Boat Show and saw a bunch of 4-stroke motors. Iím pretty excited about them, but the price and their increased weight really bugs me. Itís pretty cool, though, that they would be much better for the environment than the 2-cycle motors pretty much all of us have.

So I decided to do some calculations. Not any rocket science, just some simple arithmetic. Letís see:

1. at 50:1, we use 1 pint of 2-cycle oil per 6 gallons of gas. - thatís 1/6 pint per gallon

2. Assume your boat / motor gets 3 miles per gallon (mine does: 1992, 70 hp Johnson)

3. Assume also, my normal speed is 35 miles per hour - thatís 35/3 gallons per hour = 11.7 gph - letís round off to 12 gph

4. But, remember we get 1/6 pint of oil per gallon of gas, so - 12 * 1/6 = 2 pints of oil / hour of motor operation

5. Now, Iíve heard that a good rule of thumb is that only 70% of the 2-cycle oil injected to ones motor is combusted, so - 2 pints / hour * (1-0.7) = 0.6 pints per hour discharged into the water

6. Assume, then, that I put 20 hours per year actual driving time - 20 * 0.6 = 12 pints per year of oil polluting the water

7. Now multiply this by the number of boaters out there, and we got a royal mess!!

Understand, please, that Iím not picking on anybody. On the contrary, these numbers apply to me! You may want to calculate numbers for your boat.

Sure, there are more modern motors, with oil injection that significantly reduce oil use.

Also, you may get better gas mileage than I do. And who knows what the average hours put on motors per year are? I donít.

Still, the numbers are pretty staggering.

I work for the chemical industry and I deal with EPA some. Iím get mad at them sometimes because, while they do their best, some of the regulations theyíve made law (the word is promulgated) donít always promote recycling. But regarding the 2006 regulations theyíve put into law (no more 2-cycle engines sold after 2006), Iím 100% behind them!

Anyway, enough of this chatter. Iíd like to hear your comments on this.

Also, any of you know if thereís been a 2 cycle oil invented that works at 100:1 ratio?

How about oils which are better for the environment? Biodegradeable?

How about some better pricing from the motor manufacturers? Itís not just about money, weíre talking about the environment!

Anything? I just donít like to pollute.



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   Woodsey Owl from John (  1/15/1999 6:38:00 AM
 Ok Leo lets look at it this way. My 150 gets gas mileage almost as good as yours and will run almost twice as fast. So lets look at it this way I'm polluting less than you are by running faster on a straight basis. However I fish 3 times what you do so overall I'm doing more but less ona percentage basis.

Wait till I tell my wife..She'll be so proud...

   Epa from Ed (  1/15/1999 1:06:00 PM
 The #@*! EPA really ticks me off sometimes! They try to regulate my 4 hours per month of boating with my 2stroke Yamaha. What about the freakin factories who are nastying up all my rivers. Do something about this, EPA or anybody, please!. My point is that there is plenty of unregulated polution everywhere that does more damage than outboards. If you are one of those people who would buy a 4stroke outboard just to help the polution problem, thats great, but why not buy a canoe; 4 strokes pollute also. I agree with being environmentally responsible; but I don't want someone preaching to me about how their recent 4 stroke outboard purchase puts them on some type of environmental pedestal over all the 2 stroke owners out there. This subject really gets me boiling!!
   Two stroke oil pollution?? from Sherrill (  1/15/1999 2:48:00 PM
 Leo: your thoughts, comments and calculations are very interesting. However, I would like to offer several observations: 1. If so much pollution is occuring from 2 stroke engines, why is there no obvious evidence of such?? In my entire life of 56 years, I cannot ever remember seeing a fish, bird or other animal that was killed from the effect of 2 stroke engine exhaust. Just where is all the alleged oil pollution occuring?? Why does it not appear in water supplies like the new reformulated "oxygenated" gasoline is appearing? One of the reasons is because two stroke engine oil is lighter than water and breaks down (decomposes)and becomes harmless in the presence of moisture and air. Point number 2: The Stihl Chain Saw Company recently introduced a two stroke engine oil and chain bar oil and both oils are bio-degradeable. So; if chain saw oil can be made environmentally frendly, can 2 stroke outboard engine oil be far behind?? Next point: Since there is no scientific proof that 2 stroke engines harm the environment and since it may be possible to develop outboard oil that is biodegradable, why was it necessary for the EPA to prohibit 2 stroke engines?? Also, just what type of scientific test did the EPA use to base their decision to prohibit 2 stroke engines?? Sounds a lot like the reasoning used to declare a so called problem about "Global Warming"! NO ONE has been able to prove this theory either! Also, what ever happened to the "ozone hole" problem? It appears to me the EPA is trying to justify its budget by using pseudo-science to create imaginary problems that do not exist! -Sherrill
   thoughts on the epa from ray (  1/15/1999 5:22:00 PM
 I doubt that this is always true, but reminds me of a sign someone stuck on the wall at a govt. loadingdock If it ain't broke, FIX IT TILL IT IS!!!!!
   4-stroke's dirty little secret? - the CO2 output from Brian (  1/15/1999 5:26:00 PM
 Did anyone read the B&WB article on the FICHT vs. The honda 4-stroke? They made an interesting point about the types of pollution the two engines put out. I cannot recall the specific emission type the 4-stroke was slightly better at, but the FICHT emmitted significantly less CO2 than the 4-stroke. Do we not here many complaints about how there are too many cars emmitting CO2? If the EPA was to outlaw 2-strokes (Which is not what is being done in 2006), then we would have a whole lot of little car engines emmitting more CO2. My personal opinion is that it would be good if the DFI tech would become standard, but to push the whole industry to little car engines is STUPID. The DFI' shows (and demonstrates) the ability to significantly reduce the standard 2-stroke pollution without the added CO2. Think about it.
   Ppb from Skipper (  1/15/1999 8:09:00 PM
 The reason you don't see 2 cylcle oil floating in the lake is a few hundred gallons mixed with a several billion gallons equals a real low PPB. There is probably more oil seeping into some of these deep lakes from deposits in the ground that you could afford to pour in it at the marina. Skipper
   will the older 2strokes become more valuable after 2006? from barney (  1/15/1999 8:32:00 PM
 I know the preban AR15's are worth more now. How about 2 stroke motors that put out 100 percent more power for the same weight in the year 2006?

Recall how pre-emmision-control hot rods were so desirable when the air pollution regs first came?

   two strokes after 2006 question from Tom Wilkinson (  1/15/1999 10:03:00 PM
 Does anyone on the board know the exact EPA rulings after the year 2006. I assume the current two strokes will be allowed to run after that date. Also will the new DFI engines such as Optimax still be avalible after that date or are all two stokes banned.

Thanks in advance. Tom W. in NC

   2-strokes from sed (  1/15/1999 10:14:00 PM
 give the epa a break. they pushed omc & merc into building a leaner.cleaner and quieter outboard. these new outboards will alow you to fish farther. why would you want a old "dirty" motor when you may not find a lake to run it on. the new motors are better motors, they will give you most for your fuel and oil. by the way all that oil gets burned with the gas,
   4 strokes may look like the answer BUT from DRhodes (  1/16/1999 12:18:00 AM
 The guy that parks next to me at work drives a Honda which is a few years old, and I am sure it has a few of miles on it. When I get to work before him I always see a puddle of oil the size of a dinner plate. What do you think will happen when all these new 4 strokers get some age on them? 4 stroke motors have more moving parts that need more seals and gaskets which will fail! The old motor will still run and it's cheaper to add a little oil than have the motor rebuilt.

I bet that there is more oil getting washed in our lakes from those great 4 strokes that towed these polluting 2 strokes to the lakes every time it rains than all the 2 strokers on the water. At least the 2 strokes only pollute when they are running, the 4 strokes will pollute all the time.

Denver Rhodes

   Synthetics ? from Icon (  1/16/1999 12:30:00 AM
 I believe Amsoil has a 100 to 1 synthetic and a biodegradeable. Anybody out there it or any other synthetic ?
   Don't wanna hear this crap!!!!!!! from Riverat (  1/16/1999 12:51:00 AM
 LEO; I'll tell you what....WHEN the 'EPA' and/or other powers-that-be start comin'-down on the huge corporations that "pollute" a 'thousand-fold' on a DAILY BASIS more than our insignificant little 2,4,or 6-bangers might contribute 2 or three times a week, THEN and only then will I consider 'doing my part'!!!!!! Hate to sound radical here, but WAKE-UP man,....look at the facts before you get on a "soapbox"!!!!!!!!
   Solution to Oil Question -- BLUE MARBLE!! from Phil (  1/16/1999 1:19:00 AM
 Blue Marble is a biodegradable two cycle engine oil produced by MDEChem Inc. It is new on the market and some of the benefits offset the price per gallon. Benefits are not only is it biodegradable but it also does the following: increases fuel economy by 20-30%, reduces noise levels and smoking from the outboard to the atmosphere, removes carbon from pistons and rings, increases the outboard's life, plus others. This oil is a highly refined food grade white oil (baby oil) utililzing "Phosamid" technology which is patented by MDEChem Inc. If you would like more info. on this two cycle oil check out their website at www.mdechem.com. Their telephone number is (713)334-7221. Located in Houston, Tx. You can also email myself and I would gladly send more info. on this oil.

Thanks Phil

   'blue marble' from Riverat (  1/16/1999 1:49:00 AM
 I'd bet a handfull of 'yozurri's' that this stuff would void mfgr's warranty,tho...??? (at least @ this point)???
   DRhodes - paragraph 2 is right on !! from mha (  1/16/1999 9:00:00 AM
 I live in an area where subdivisions and shopping centers are all uphill from / and all drain into a river that runs through the middle of town. DRhodes is correct; a good rain washes more oil (and trash) into the river than boaters could ever contribute. As they say "--it flows downhill" - "there's bigger fish to fry" before we ban 2 stroke outboards.

side note: Outboards are banned in the river above the water plant - but according to the river authority it's not because of pollution but because the supposed "increased turbidity" (stirring up the bottom silt by outboards) makes the water harder to process. Believe that one??

   Ban Two-Strokes? from Larry (  1/16/1999 12:07:00 PM
 As far as I know, no one outside of California is banning two-stroke cycle engines. The EPA regs. require a certain percentage reduction in hydrocarbon emissions by 2006. The souce of those hydrocarbons is two-stroke oil and un-burned fuel. It is up to the outboard manufacturers to decide what technology to use to meet the new standards. The only way a two-stoke can meet it is to add direct injection (ficht/optimax). Considering that it is only 1999 and most new design two-strokes and four-strokes already meet the 2006 standard, there should be plenty of time for a smooth transition.

Unfortunately, California has dramatically accelerated the timetable and will require much lower emissions in 2006. Since outboard manufacturers can't ingnore sales in California, they will be forced to change more of their products and speed up development to the point where reliability will suffer and prices will go even higher. In effect, the extra burden of the California regulations will be suffered by everyone else.

   Thanks for the discussion!!! from Leo (  1/17/1999 12:02:00 PM
 Wow! Imagine little olí Leo being accused of being accused of being a raging environmentalist!

When I met with EPA and some "raging environmentalists" last year, I think they thought I was some sort of rape and pillage polluter.

What a switch! What irony!

I think Iím doing this all wrong. The EPA and the environmentalists hate me, and now you folks on BHPF hate me too. Poor, poor sensitive, misunderstood Leo. Lifeís not fair.

A few comments:

1. I agree with the guy who complained about his 4 hours per month just recreating and doing his hobby. Heís only trying to have fun.

2. I was only trying to stimulate some discussion by posting those figures. Too often in U.S. society people pontificate without any understanding of the actual data. I thought those numbers on oil consumption were interesting.

3. I also agree with the fellow asking where the environmental damage from these oil emissions was. I certainly donít see a bunch of oil slicks out on the lakes, much less dead fish floating on the water caused by these emissions.

4. Iím personally very proud of the motor improvements made in the past few years. Now weíve got oil injection, and fuel injection, and Ficht and Optimax and 4 strokes, and etc, and the motors are MUCH better than what was available just 6 years ago (and the motor Iíve got).

5. But, give me a break, huh? I was not trying to paint any of you with the guilt of being a major source of pollution. Just stating some facts, asking a few questions, and raising some issues.

Thanks for the comments. Progress only happens when we can all discuss issues openly.

Iím going fishing. In my boat. You know, the one that dumps 12 pints per year of oil into the water.

Iím taking my son.

Iíll practice catch and release.

Iíll take my binoculars and look at the ducks.

I wonít drink beer while on the water.

I wonít encroach too closely to other boats fishing.

And Iíll try to use that trip to relax, unwind from the stress of day to day life, and try to catch a few fish.

See ya!




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