California Banning Gasoline-Powered Lawn Mowers, Leaf Blowers, Hiring Sheep?

Just when you thought your lawn mower and leaf blowers were safe! California Governor Gavin Newsom had a busy weekend, putting a variety of new bills into place. One of which is set to ban gasoline-powered lawn mowers and leaf blowers from being used in the state. One solution put forth by the University of California, Davis campus is…sheep mowers?

Why is California banning lawn mowers and leaf blowers, and is it the only state doing so?

California Is banning gasoline-powered lawnmowers, leaf blowers
California Is banning gasoline-powered lawnmowers, leaf blowers | David Cannon/ via Getty Images

According to a report by The Hill, Newsom signed the bill on Saturday that would render gasoline-powered lawnmowers and leafblowers from being used in the state. Newsom noted he hoped the new regulations would help limit further air pollution in the state. The official bill is Assembly Bill No. 1346, part of the Health and Safety Code, relating to air pollution.

The bill calls lawnmowers and leaf blowers “Small off-road engines” and says the engines pollute the air.

“Small off-road engines (SORE), which are used primarily in lawn and garden equipment, emit high levels of air pollutants, including oxides of nitrogen (NOx), reactive organic gases (ROG), and particulate matter (PM).”

Assembly Bill No. 1346

It further notes that these lawnmowers and leafblowers exceed the limits of pollution set forth by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and California ambient air quality standards.

Some areas in Florida have already banned gasoline-powered lawn equipment. Back in 2020, Collier County aimed to ban such equipment. According to a local news source, that has been hindered recently by supply chain issues. The ban was supposed to go into effect on October 21st, 2021, but the deadline might get moved.

An additional headache hindering the switch is finding chargers for the electric version. Paul Lange, manager at Lawn Equipment Center in Naples, Florida, says he has had units on backorder for months now with no end in sight. It could take a while for these changes to go into effect when coupled with the supply chain problems.

What other items will Gavin Newsom ban along with lawn mowers and leaf blowers?

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Part of the official documents notes that these small off-road engines pollute the air more than light-duty passenger cars. “One hour of operation of a commercial leaf blower can emit as much ROG plus NOx as driving 1,100 miles in a new passenger vehicle.”

California says that many zero-emissions lawn mowers and leaf blowers on the market can replace gasoline-powered equivalents. The bill also notes that many commercial and residential users have already started to transition to zero-emissions equipment.

“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,” Assemblyman Marc Berman said.

This bill aims to have gasoline-powered equipment banned as early as 2024 if all goes as planned. Lawn mowers and leaf blowers aren’t alone, either. The ban also includes chainsaws, weed trimmers, golf carts, and other similar equipment.

Let’s replace these machines with sheep mowers

In an exciting turn of events, the University of California, Davis campus experimented with sheep mowers instead. The UC Davis Arboretum and Public Garden has been working on seeing how the sheep do instead of lawn mowers. UC Davis set 25 sheep out to pasture to see how the animals do with the experiment.

The sheep will be allowed to graze in a one-acre area on campus to see how the “mowing” does. The experts assume it will take two to three days for the sheep to mow the area. The Arboretum and Public Garden landscape managers will maintain a similar control area.

Whatever the solution might be, California residents better hop on the electric lawn mower phase before it’s too late. Sheep sound like a good solution until you consider storing a sheep in your shed for easy access. Does Gavin Newsom have a solution for this?

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