Story at a glance

  • The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted on Thursday to ban the sale of new off-road engines such as those found in leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other equipment by 2024.
  • New portable generators will be subject to stricter standards by that time, and will be required to meet zero-emissions standards by 2028.
  • According to CARB, gas-powered equipment produces more smog-forming emissions than light-duty passenger cars and is projected to produce almost twice as much as passenger cars by 2031.

Regulators in California have approved a measure to phase out the sale of new gas-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers as part of an effort to move the state to a zero-emission future. 

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) voted on Thursday to ban the sale of new off-road engines such as those found in leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other equipment by 2024. New portable generators will be subject to stricter standards by that time and will be required to meet zero-emissions standards by 2028.

The decision by the board follows an executive order issued by California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to bar the sale of gas-powered lawn equipment to curb emissions. 

According to CARB, gas-powered equipment produces more smog-forming emissions than light-duty passenger cars and is projected to produce almost twice as much as passenger cars by 2031. 

Using one backpack leaf blower for one hour generates the same smog-forming emissions as a car driving 1,100 miles, according to CARB. The new rule is estimated to cut smog-forming emissions by 72 tons per day, according to the board. 

“Today’s action by the Board addresses these small but highly polluting engines. It is a significant step towards improving air quality in the state, and will definitely help us meet stringent federal air quality standards,” CARB chair Liane Randolph said in a statement

“It will also essentially eliminate exposure to harmful fumes for equipment operators and anyone nearby,” Randolph said.

The ban does not include existing gas-powered equipment, and the state has set aside $30 million in incentive funds to help commercial landscapers and other businesses acquire zero-emission equipment. 


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Published on Dec 13, 2021