Energy & Environment

California to ban gas lawn mowers, leaf blowers

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed a bill on Saturday that moves to ban gas-powered lawn equipment in the state — including lawn mowers and leaf blowers — in an effort to limit air pollution.

The bill directs state regulators to stop selling gas-powered equipment that has small off-road engines by Jan. 1, 2024, or once the California Air Resources Board says such a law is “feasible,” whichever date comes later.

The law also calls for new portable gas-powered generators to be zero-emission by 2028, according to the Los Angeles Times. That deadline, however, could be pushed back by the state board.

Gas-powered equipment with small off-road engines produce a similar amount of smog-causing pollution as light-duty passenger cars create in California, according to the Times, which is why lawmakers are working to curb emissions that come from those tools.

According to The Associated Press, there are more than 16.7 million small engines in California, which tops the number of passenger cars on roads by roughly 3 million.

Using a gas-powered leaf blower for one hour reportedly causes the same amount of pollution to be emitted into the air as does a 2017 Toyota Camry driving from Los Angeles to Denver, which spans roughly 1,100 miles, the AP reported, citing state officials.

“It’s amazing how people react when they learn how much this equipment pollutes, and how much smog-forming and climate-changing emissions that small off-road engine equipment creates,” said Assemblyman Marc Berman (D), the author of the legislation, according to the Times.

“This is a pretty modest approach to trying to limit the massive amounts of pollution that this equipment emits, not to mention the health impact on the workers who are using it constantly,” he added.

The state has allocated $30 million to support professional landscapers and gardeners with switching their equipment from gas-powered to zero-emission, according to Berman.

Some lawmakers from both sides of the aisle voiced opposition to the bill, according to the Times, airing concerns regarding individuals living in rural areas.

Critics specifically pointed to the requirement for portable generators to be zero-emission, noting that California often experiences blackouts during wildfire season.

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