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Polaris Responds to EPA Concerns

September 8, 2003


J. Keith Moyer


Star Tribune

425 Portland Ave.

Minneapolis, MN 55488


Dear Keith,


I was disappointed in the article in Thursdays paper concerning the emissions of snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park  EPA: New Snowmobiles Pollute Even More.  While there is room in the newspaper for honest, legitimate debate on this issue, there is no room for significant factual inaccuracies.  The purpose of this letter is to correct the factual errors in Ms. Carts article.


The essence of the article was that clean technology snowmobiles, which have recently been developed by Polaris and other manufacturers, produce significantly higher emissions

(40-213%), and operate more loudly, than traditional snowmobiles.  That assertion is simply not the case.


Clean technology snowmobiles produce far fewer emissions and operate far more quietly than traditional snowmobiles.  As the manufacturer of the product, we know this to be a scientific, verifiable fact, and for anyone who has ever ridden any type of snowmobile, they would know it as common sense.  For the non-engineers the case is pretty simple:  Traditional snowmobiles use two stroke engines.  The cleaner technology snowmobiles utilize four stroke engines.  It is well known four strokes engines in outboards, watercraft, lawn equipment, and snowmobiles are cleaner and quieter than ordinary two strokes.  For engineers, here is a bit more detail:


  • Based upon official test results recently approved by the EPA, the 2004 Polaris Indy Frontier is 98% cleaner in hydrocarbons and 72% cleaner in carbon monoxide than the average industry snowmobile. 


  • As a result of these tests, the Frontier was the first snowmobile certified to meet the agencys rigorous standards for reduced emissions. 


  • Furthermore, not only are the emissions dramatically lower than traditional snowmobiles, they also meet the most challenging standards required by the EPA in model year 2012.  Other manufacturers clean technology snowmobiles are also significantly lower in emissions.


  • In February, 2002 the National Park Service tested our Indy Frontier for sound and determined it met their Best Available Technology standard.  Our own sound tests indicate our equivalent 2004 machines continue to meet that standard.  Like many engineering standards, the technical details for measuring the sound of a snowmobile are complex and would consume this article.  Putting the details aside - there is no doubt that the Indy Frontier is significantly quieter than traditional snowmobiles.

  • Finally, the National Park Service has stated that starting this season 80% of the snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park will be operated by independent fleet operators and that these snowmobiles must use the Best Available Technology.  For many years Polaris has been the snowmobile of choice for these fleets and our Indy Frontier, powered by our Liberty four cycle engine, has been approved by the park Service as meeting the Best Available Technology standard as it relates to exhaust emissions.


Polaris voluntarily spent millions of dollars to design, develop and produce a cleaner, quieter snowmobile.  We would appreciate it if your newspaper got the facts straight concerning our product and our industry.




Tom Tiller

President and CEO

Polaris Industries Inc.

Minnesota United Snowmobilers Association
7040 Lakeland Avenue N., Suite 212, Brooklyn Park, MN, 55428, United States
Phone: 763-577-0185     Fax: 763-577-0186
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