California will soon ban the sale of new gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers, a move aimed at reducing emissions from a class of small engines capable of producing more pollution each year than passenger vehicles.
Governor Gavin Newsom on Saturday signed a new law that directs state regulators to ban the sale of new gas-powered equipment using small off-road engines, a broad category that includes generators, lawn equipment and high-pressure cleaners. pressure.
The California Air Resources Board has already started working on a rule to do just that, a lengthy process that is expected to be completed early next year. But the law Newsom signed on Saturday removes any doubt, directing the agency to enforce the new rule by Jan. 1, 2024, or as soon as regulators determine it’s “feasible,” whichever is later. late.
“Governor. .Newsom’s signing (this law) really paves the way for not only his commitment to going to zero emissions, but also cleaner air and healthier lungs,” said Will Barrett, director of the clean air advocacy for the American Lung Association in California.
The law, drafted by Democratic Congressman Marc Berman, is part of an aggressive strategy to reduce pollution in the nation’s most populous state. California is the only state with the ability to regulate air quality in this way, under an exception provided for in federal law from the 1970s. While other states cannot pass their own regulations, they may choose to follow California’s lead.
Last year, California regulators approved a first-of-its-kind rule to force automakers to sell more electric work trucks and delivery vans. Also last year, Newsom ordered regulators to ban the sale of all new gas-powered cars and trucks in California by 2035 — a date that has since been adopted by some of the world’s biggest automakers.
California has more than 16.7 million of these small engines in the state, about 3 million more than the number of passenger cars on the road. California was the first government in the world to adopt emission standards for these small engines in 1990. But since then, car emissions have improved dramatically compared to smaller engines.
Now state officials say running 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, approximately 1,100 miles ( 1,770 kilometers).
The law Newsom signed also directs regulators to offer rebates to people who want to change their equipment, a measure aimed at landscaping companies that use these machines more often. The state budget, approved earlier this year, includes $30 million to pay for this effort.