The no-smoking zone. That’s what you could call the large staging area for the spring snow shoots in West Yellowstone, Mont. It’s amazing to watch 50 snowmobiles idling away, waiting for the snowmobile media test drivers to go for their daily evaluation run. It was not many years ago that 50 snowmobiles all idling in a parking lot would produce a distinct smoke cloud. These days, however, they all run without emitting any distinct smoke cloud or odor.
Large advances in emission technology (i.e., computer-controlled electric oil pumps) have dramatically reduced oil consumption, almost eliminating the need to carry that extra quart of oil on the trail. For many years, the standard oil pump was mechanical and output was mostly linear, depending on engine RPMs and throttle opening. These mechanical pumps were manufactured by Mikuni, the carburetion people. Back in the 1970s, this was a big improvement – much more convenient than carrying a number of quarts of oil and mixing them with gas every time you filled your tank.