California law to eventually ban gas-powered lawn equipment

SACRAMENTO (Calif.) California is set to ban the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers/lawn mowers in the near future. This move is intended to reduce emissions from small engines that produce more pollution per year than passenger cars.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed Saturday a new law that requires state regulators to prohibit the sale of small-sized off-road engines that are gas-powered. This broad category includes generators and pressure washers.

California's Air Resources Board is already working on a rule for this purpose, which will be completed in the early part of next year. The law Newsom signed Saturday eliminates all doubts. It directs the agency to apply the rule by January 1, 2024 or as soon as regulators determine it is possible, whichever comes later.

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Marc Berman, Democratic Assemblyman, wrote the law. It is part of a comprehensive strategy to reduce pollution in America's most populous state. California is the only state that has the authority to regulate air quality in this manner, as a result of a federal exception in 1970s law. California's regulations can be adopted by other states, but they cannot enact their own.

California regulators approved last year a new rule that would force automakers into selling more electric delivery vans and work trucks. Newsom also ordered that regulators ban all new gasoline-powered cars and trucks in California by 2035. This date has been accepted by many of the largest automakers around the globe.

California is home to more than 16.7 millions of these small engines, which is about 3 million more than the passenger cars. In 1990, California became the first country to establish emission standards for small engines. However, car emissions have greatly improved since 1990 when they were lower than those of smaller engines.

Officials from the state claim that a one-hour run of a gasoline-powered leaf blower emits as much pollution as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry between Los Angeles and Denver for approximately 1,100 miles (1.770 kilometers).

Newsom's law also requires regulators to offer rebates to people who change their equipment. This is a move that was intended to help landscaping businesses that use these machines a lot. This effort was funded by $30 million in the state budget that Newsom approved earlier this year.