California's New Lawn Mower Law May Be The Push You Need To Go Electric

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Change is coming to California in the form of a new ban on gas-powered mowers and other lawn equipment set to take effect at the start of 2024. According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the regulation — which was approved back in 2021 — prohibits the sale of new gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and other landscaping equipment that rely on gas motors. While these lawn tools are well-known for being loud and disruptive (some are even loud enough to negatively affect local wildlife), noise pollution isn't lawmakers' primary concern — actual pollution is.

A study conducted by Quiet Communities, Inc. showed that in 2011, gas-powered lawn equipment was responsible for adding 26.7 million tons of pollutants into the environment. In 2017, CARB released a statement regarding the environmental impact of continuing to use gas-powered lawn equipment, warning that "by 2020, gas-powered leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and similar equipment in the state could produce more ozone pollution than all the millions of cars in California combined (via Princeton University)." In 2021, the ban on sales was approved starting in 2024.

What the ban means for you

If you live and maintain a lawn in California, the news of the upcoming ban on gas-powered mowers and lawn equipment might stir up confusion regarding what you will and won't be legally permitted to do. When it comes to any gas-powered equipment you already own, you can rest assured that it's still legal to operate. You can even continue to buy and sell used gas-powered mowers, leaf blowers, and other landscaping equipment under the ban.

What you will no longer be permitted to do is purchase new gas-powered lawn tools from a retailer or manufacturer. The natural consequence of this is that, eventually, even diehard gas engine enthusiasts will be forced to come around to using electric lawn tools when their used gas-powered ones fail. If you haven't yet, it may be time to start incorporating electric lawn and garden equipment into your collection so that you can familiarize yourself with the concept by the time it becomes standard. There are many models available — Lowe's has a selection of electric mowers starting at $219. The same applies to electric leaf blowers — you can purchase a battery-powered Dewalt leaf blower with a 4.5-star rating on Amazon for $204.99.