California law to eventually ban gas-powered lawn equipment

SACRAMENTO – California is about to ban sales of new gas-powered leaf blowers and lawnmowers, a move aimed at curbing emissions from a category of small engines to the point where they cause more pollution than passenger cars each year.

Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law on Saturday directing state regulators to ban the sale of new gas-powered appliances with small off-road engines, a broad category that includes generators, lawn appliances and pressure washers.

The California Air Resources Board has already begun drafting a regulation to this effect, a lengthy process expected to be completed early next year. But the law, which Newsom signed on Saturday, removes any doubts and instructs the agency to apply the new rule by January 1, 2024, or as soon as regulators determine it is “feasible,” whichever is later.

“Reg. .Newsom’s signature (this bill) sets a strong course on its commitment to moving to zero emissions, cleaner air and healthier lungs, “said Will Barrett, director of clean air for the American Lung Association in California .

The bill, written by Democratic MP Marc Berman, is part of an aggressive strategy to reduce pollution in the most populous state in the United States. California is the only state with the authority to regulate air quality in this way, as part of an exemption enshrined in federal law in the 1970s. While other states cannot legislate of their own, they can choose to follow California’s lead.

Last year California regulators approved the first rule of its kind to force automakers to sell more electric work and delivery vans. Also last year, Newsom ordered regulators to ban the sale of all new gasoline-powered cars and trucks in California by 2035 – a date that has since been adopted by some of the world’s largest automakers.

In California, there are more than 16.7 million of these small engines in the state, about 3 million more than the number of passenger cars on the streets. California was the first government in the world to set emissions standards for these small engines in 1990. But since then, car emissions have improved significantly compared to smaller engines.

Now state officials say that operating a gas-powered leaf blower for an hour emits the same amount of pollution as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry from Los Angeles to Denver, a distance of approximately 1,100 miles.

The law that Newsom signed also instructs regulators to offer discounts for replacing their devices, a move aimed at landscaping businesses that use those machines more frequently. The state budget, approved earlier this year, provides $ 30 million to fund these efforts.

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