California To Ban Sales of Gasoline-Powered Lawn Equipment

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, CBS 8 San Diego

California will soon ban the sale of new, gas-powered lawn equipment, the state’s latest move to curb emissions.

Under the law signed by Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was directed to phase out the sale of small off-road engines by 2024 or as soon as feasible, whichever comes later. 

The law also authorizes the board to identify and make available funding for commercial rebates to help small businesses transition toward electric equipment. The state budget has set aside about $30 million for those purposes, according to The Associated Press.

Retailers will also be limited to selling zero-emissions equipment, such as electric or battery-powered gear. 

Small off-road engines — a category that includes lawn equipment, pressure washers, generators, chainsaws and weed trimmers — are on pace to produce more pollution each year than passenger vehicles, according to The Associated Press.

Supporters of the law, which include the American Lung Association, Union of Concerned Scientists and the Sierra Club, believe it will result in the use of greener and cleaner equipment. 

State Republicans and organizations like the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute said the measure will cause a hardship for landscapers and gardeners, as well as create a market shortfall of products with high consumer demand, The Sacramento Bee reported.

In 1990, the Golden State became the first government in the world to adopt emissions standards for small engines. While vehicle emissions have vastly improved over the last 30 years, progress hasn't been as swift for smaller engines.

In California there are more than 16.7 million small engines, about 3 million more than the number of passenger cars, the Associated Press reported.

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 1,100 miles from Los Angeles to Denver, the outlet also stated, citing state officials. 

According to The Los Angeles Times, the law is expected to affect nearly 50,000 small businesses. 

California is the only US state permitted to set its own greenhouse gas and zero-emissions vehicle standards, but other states can follow its lead, The Associated Press reported.

The new law is the latest of Newsom's moves directed at lowering emissions in a state that would be the fifth largest economy in the world as a sovereign nation.

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In September 2020, Newsom signed an executive order banning the sale of all new passenger cars and trucks powered by gasoline or diesel by 2035. 

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