California becomes first state in nation to phase out gas-powered lawn equipment

California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law Saturday to ban the sale of new gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers beginning in 2024.

The legislation was introduced by Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) and Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) in response to projections that smog-forming pollution from Small Off-Road Engines will surpass that from passenger cars this year.

According to state officials, Gonzalez and Berman secured $30 million in the state’s budget to create a statewide incentive program to help landscaping businesses transition to zero-emission equipment.

“Small gas engines are not only bad for our environment and contributing to our climate crisis, they can cause asthma and other health issues for workers who use them,” Gonzalez said. “It’s time we phased out these super polluters, and help small landscaping businesses transition to cleaner alternatives.”

Berman thanked Newsom for signing “this landmark legislation to protect people and our planet.”

“By signing AB 1346, Governor Newsom has made good on his commitment to a clean energy future that protects the health of all Californians—including workers who face disproportionate health risks from air pollution,” Berman said. “Coupled with $30 million in zero-emission incentives, we are ensuring an equitable transition to clean technology.”

AB 1346 would require the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to set emissions requirements for small off-road engines to zero by 2024 or whenever CARB determines is feasible. State officials stated SORE emit high levels of oxides of nitrogen (NOx), reactive organic gases (ROG), and particulate matter (PM), which adversely impact human health, causing lung cancer, heart disease, strokes, asthma, and other respiratory ailments.

A 2018 study by the California Air Resources Board found that operators of gas-powered devices could potentially double their current cancer risk from volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

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