California will soon ban the sale of new gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers, a move aimed at curbing emissions from a category of small engines on pace to produce more pollution each year than passenger vehicles.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law on Saturday that orders 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 pressure washers.
The California Air Resources Board has already started working on a rule to do this, a lengthy process scheduled to conclude early next year. But the law Newsom signed on Saturday removes any doubt, ordering the agency to apply the new rule by January 1, 2024 or as soon as regulators determine is “feasible,” whichever date is later.
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.
State officials say running a gas-powered leaf blower for one hour emits the same amount of pollution as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry from Los Angeles to Denver, a distance of about 1,100 miles.
The law Newsom signed also orders regulators to offer rebates for people to change out their equipment, a move aimed at landscaping businesses that use these machines more often. The state budget, approved earlier this year, includes $30 million to pay for this effort.