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To help fight its ongoing smog issues California just announced it will ban the sale of lawn equipment. You know, things like mowers, leaf blowers, and chain saws. Surprisingly, these small-engine products are beginning to produce more emissions than cars and trucks. 

The sale of new gas-powered lawn equipment will be banned in 2024

lawn equipment ban
Brush trimmer | Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

California Governor Gavin Newsom, having just fought and won a state recall, signed the ban Saturday. It requires regulators to ban sales of any gas-powered equipment that has a small engine. That category also takes in generators, pressure washers, and lawn equipment. The state has three million more types of these small motors than it does cars; estimated to be 16.7 million. 

California has already placed emissions regulations on these types of engines back in 1990. But while vehicle emissions have steadily fallen, the same cannot be said for small engines. As an example, the California Air Resources Board says that a gas-powered leaf blower emits the same amount of pollution as a 2017 Toyota Camry traveling from LA to Denver, Colorado. That’s about 1,100 miles. 

The ban does offer rebated for those who switch over to electric equipment

lawn equipment
Man mowing lawn | Stu Forster/Getty Images

Part of the language in the ban calls for rebates to those who get rid of their gas-powered equipment. This should help in the transition, especially for gardeners and landscaping businesses. Already $30 million has been earmarked for the rebate program. 

The signing helps to streamline the CARB’s efforts to finish up its own gas-engine ban later this year. The new rule will take effect starting on January 1, 2024. “Gov. Newsom signing this law really sets a strong course to not only his commitment to transitioning to zero emissions but also to cleaner air and healthier lungs,” said Will Barrett, clean-air advocacy director for the American Lung Association in California.

California can legally create its own emissions laws as granted by the government

mowing lawn
How to use the lawn mower her parents had in their garage | Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The federal government made California the exception to regulate air quality as it sees necessary due to its unique air basin that traps pollution. This authority became law in the 1970s. Since then many states in the US take California’s lead and apply the more stringent standards. 

This follows on the heels of California’s ruling to ban new gas-powered car and truck sales by 2035. It was the first state to mandate this type of ban. The ruling has also been followed by several other states in the US as well as by many automakers. 

While you may not live in the state, if other emissions regulations and bans initiated by California are any indicators then your state could be next.


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