California’s New Law Could Change the Way You Shop for Lawn Equipment

The Golden State is set to ban gas-powered lawn equipment by 2024. Here's what it means for you.

Last weekend, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill banning the sale of gas-powered lawn equipment in the state as soon as 2024. The ban applies to all newly-sold small off-road engines (SORE), including those for gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers and golf carts.

According to the bill, in 2020 SORE devices created higher levels of emissions in California than light duty passenger cars. State officials say running a gas-powered leaf blower for one hour produces the same amount of smog-forming pollutants as driving a Toyota Camry 300 miles.

The bill also requires all portable generators sold in California to be zero-emission by 2028. By banning SORE, the state hopes to dramatically reduce overall emissions and limit air pollution from gas-powered equipment.

“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, the author of the bill, told 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.”

To help ease this transition, California has set aside $30 million for a rebate program to offset the cost of new zero-emission equipment for professional gardeners and landscapers.

While this new law only apples to California, similar policies eventually could be enacted in other parts of the U.S. California is the only state with the authority to set its own laws and regulations concerning air quality, because the state’s air quality standards predate the federal government’s. Other states lack that autonomy but may can choose to adopt California’s air quality standards.

The bill requires the California state board to develop “cost-effective and technologically feasible regulations” to prohibit emissions in new SORE products. The bill is slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2024, but the date could be delayed if certain conditions aren’t met.

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