Clean Snowmobiles  Topic Hub


Preventing Pollution

As a result of regulations and pro-active actions, snowmobile manufacturers are introducing cleaner, quieter, four-stroke snowmobiles to the marketplace. Selling, purchasing and/or renting these snowmobiles, creates a market for cleaner machines and is the most important action that can be taken to reduce the impact of snowmobiles on the environment. EPA estimates that over the life of the snowmobile, the savings in fuel and lubrication oil will be greater than the initial increased cost of a four-stroke engine. All four major manufacturers make four-stroke snowmobiles:

  • Arctic Cat's 4-stroke "touring" and four-stroke snowmobiles were available for model years 2002, 2003, and 2004, including a turbo-charged version. The non-turbocharged models were certified by NPS as meeting their “best available technology” standards for cleaner, quieter, snowmobiles, cleaner then the EPA 2012 regulations.

  • Polaris Industries 4-stroke snowmobiles are available for model years 2002, 2003, and 2004. The models were certified by NPS as meeting their “best available technology” standards for cleaner, quieter, snowmobiles, cleaner than the EPA 2012 regulations.

  • Bombardier and Yamaha both make four stroke snowmobiles. The Bombardier four-stroke snowmobiles were cleaner than the NPS “best available technology” standards, cleaner then the EPA 2012 regulations.

Cleaner Options

Here is what snowmobile dealers, tour operators, fleet managers, and snowmobilers can do TODAY to reduce the pollution from snowmobile fleets and personal snowmobiles:

  • Adjust the snowmobiles for local conditions and altitudes, including:
    • Use the proper jet size for the elevation. Carburetor jets with smaller orifices should be used at higher elevations. Use of the smaller jets results in more complete fuel combustion.
    • Adjust Clutches. Installation of proper jets for higher elevation also improves engine performance, and snowmobile clutches should be adjusted to match performance.
    • Keep the engine tuned properly.
  • Use oxygenated fuels, such as 10 percent ethanol blend, in the snowmobile to reduce emissions.
  • Use synthetic low-particulate lube oils to reduce particulates and smoke.
  • Use low emission lube oils to reduce potential impacts to health and the environment.

Source: Montana Department of Environmental Quality

The SAE Clean Snowmobile Challenge is a student design competition formed to encourage the development of cleaner and quieter snowmobile technology while simultaneously providing a hands-on educational experience to college students ( The fifth annual Clean Snowmobile Challenge was held in Houghton, Michigan in March 2004. Positive results of the Challenge include using data collected to develop final regulations and employment in the industry for engineering students to use their expert knowledge in reducing emissions from all types of recreational vehicles.