New star emission rating system for outboard engines sold in Australia: Voluntary Emissions Labeling Scheme (VELS)
OEDA introduced a Voluntary Emissions Labeling Scheme (VELS), an emissions rating system, in January 2007 to help boat owners choose outboard engines based on emission information along with other features required to meet their usage requirements. VELS .
The voluntary code VELS is based on international emission regulations and was supported by the major outboard distributors in Australia including BRP, Honda, Mercury, Suzuki, Tohatsu and Yamaha. VELS is the only established scheme recognised and approved by the Australian Government.
Under the code, engines are identified by permanent, recognisable external labels that identify the emission rating of the product.
The rating system is based on world best practice and, while it is curently only applicable to petrol outboard engines, OEDA will invite other outboard importers and PWC manufacturers to take advantage of the labels in the future..
The aim of the uniform labelling scheme VELS is to assist the consumer make better informed choices when purchasing an outboard engine.
OEDA encourages the boating public to look for the VELS star-rated labels when buying an engine.
The VELS star rating system is:
- Zero star - High emission - Generally 2-stroke engines
- One star - Low emission - many 2-stroke engines
- Two star - Very low emission - some 2 stroke direct injection and 4 stroke engines
- Three star - Ultra low emission - most 2 stroke direct injection and 4 stroke engines
- Four star – Super ultra low emission – for future technologies
The scheme is based on world standards and, in particular, the world leading USA scheme.
Future development of the Australian VELS system will continue to follow world standards.
The US Environmental Protection Agency introduced regulations in 1998 aiming to reduce marine engine emissions by 75 per cent by 2025.
The Australian Government in discussions with OEDA in 2007 stated it was not suggesting regulations, preferring an Industry voluntary systems such as VELS.
OEDA realised self regulation is always a better option than regulation and is hopeful Australian boat owners will show their genuine concern for the environment when making their next purchase. Australia needed readily understood information on outboard emission levels which is what we now deliver."
Low emission engines reduce air pollution, use less fuel and oil, produce less noise and smell and have better resale value than higher emission engines.
As well as investing in the most suitable technology when buying a new engine, OEDA hopes and encourages the boating public to help the environment by ensuring boats and engines are kept in peak operating condition and being careful to avoid fuel spills.