California law to soon ban gas-powered lawn mowers in bid to cut emissions

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California will soon ban the sale of new gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers, aimed at curbing emissions from a range of smaller engines known to generate more pollution each year than passenger vehicles.

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Governor Gavin Newsom signed a new law 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. Are included.

The California Air Resources Board has begun working on a rule to do so, a lengthy process set to end early next year. But the law Newsom signed Saturday casts aside any doubts, ordering the agency to implement the new rule by January 1, 2024, or as soon as the regulator determines that is “feasible,” whichever is later.

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“Govt. Newsom signing[this law]really sets a strong course not only for their commitment to transition to zero emissions but for clean air and healthy lungs,” says clean air advocacy for the American Lung Association in California Director Will Barrett said.

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The legislation, authored by Democratic Assemblyman Mark Berman, is part of an aggressive strategy to reduce pollution in the country’s most populous state. California is the only state that has the authority to regulate air quality in this way, which is part of an exception made in federal law in the 1970s. While other states cannot make their own rules, they can 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 until 2035 – a date that has since been adopted by some of the world’s largest automakers.

California has more than 16.7 million of these small engines in the state, which is about 3 million more than the number of passenger cars on the road. California was the first government in the world to adopt emissions standards for these small engines in 1990. But since then, emissions in cars have improved significantly compared to smaller engines.

Now, state officials say running a gas-powered leaf blower for one hour causes as much pollution as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry from Los Angeles to Denver, a distance of about 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers). Is.

The law Newsom signed also orders regulators to offer discounts for people to change their equipment, a move aimed at landscaping businesses that use these machines more frequently. The state budget approved earlier this year includes $30 million to pay for this effort.

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