California to ban gas-powered lawnmowers, leafblowers, chainsaws, generators

, California to ban gas-powered lawnmowers, leafblowers, chainsaws, generators, The Evepost National News

One hour’s use of a gas-powered leafblower is equivalent to driving a car 1,700 kilometres in terms of emissions

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In an attempt to curb carbon emissions, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill on Oct. 9 outlawing the use of gas-powered lawn equipment, which are categorized as small off-road engines (SORE).

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This includes lawnmowers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, pressure washers, generators and engines of the sort.

The bill, AB 1346 , orders state regulators to halt the sale of new gas-powered SORE equipment by Jan. 1, 2024. Purchases made before the deadline can still be used by property owners and professional landscapers.

According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), there are more small gas-powered off-road engines in California than cars, and they create more pollution. The number of them — 16.7 million — is approximately 21.9 per cent greater than cars, contributing more total nitrous oxide (NOx) and reactive organic gases (ROG) than passenger vehicles

, California to ban gas-powered lawnmowers, leafblowers, chainsaws, generators, The Evepost National News

Operating a commercial lawn mower for one hour emits as much pollution as driving a passenger car for about 483 kilometres. Similarly, an hour use of a leaf blower emits pollution comparable to driving a car for about 1,770 kilometres according to CARB statistics.

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Due to regulations the agency put in place starting in 1990, small engines are 40 to 80 per cent cleaner today than they were before the start of the program. However, “total smog-forming emissions from small engines are projected to exceed those from passenger cars in the South Coast Air Basin because passenger car emissions will continue to decrease,” the board noted.

“By 2031, small engine emissions will be more than twice those from passenger cars.”

, California to ban gas-powered lawnmowers, leafblowers, chainsaws, generators, The Evepost National News

“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,” Assemblyman Marc Berman,  author of the legislation said in an interview with the Los Angeles 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.”

Berman added that the state has allocated $30 million to incentivize landscaping businesses to transition towards zero-emission equipment. The bill reassures the public that there are good zero-emission replacements for these engines, available at low cost.