What you need to know about California's possible ban, regulation of gas-powered garden tools

NOVATO, Calif. (KGO) -- This year, California Air Resources is considering new standards for gas-powered small engine tools to help the state reduce smog-forming pollutant emissions from mobile sources by 80 percent in 2031.

So, just why are these garden tools such a target?

According to the CAB :

"Emissions are significant Today, operating the best-selling commercial lawn mower for one hour emits as much smog-forming pollution as driving the best-selling 2017 passenger car, a Toyota Camry, about 300 miles - approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. For the best-selling commercial leaf blower, one hour of operation emits smog-forming pollution comparable to driving a 2017 Toyota Camry about 1100 miles, or approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Denver.

But, what's the cost of the switch? That's what's causing headaches for business owners.

"We gotta care about our planet, we gotta take care of it but we also have to do it in a way that doesn't adversely affect industry," said Markus Czirban who runs family-owned Liaiason Landscapes. He estimates losing tens of thousands in investments if he has to get rid of his gas-powered tools. He also claims, they don't do the job.

"It's probably double the time to use something battery powered vs. gas because it's a lot weaker," he said.

We called Buck's Saw Service in Novato for a breakdown of average prices. For a residential-use leaf blower, a customer can expect to pay $150 for a gas-power, $199 for battery-operated. Small difference. But, for commercial tools it's a sizeable jump. $550 for gas-power, $1600 for battery-operated.

California is looking at new standards this year for small engine machines as it aims to meet its goal of "reducing smog-forming pollutant emissions from mobile sources by 80 percent in 2031," according to the California Air Resources Board.

David Wooley, Director of Berkeley Center for Environmental Public Policy, said battery-powered garden tools have come a long way in efficiency and price. Wooley said recycling batteries are also getting easier.

"It's important to take actions like this in California because other states and other nations follow the lead," he said.

Czirban understands the need for eco-friendly tools, he just hopes that business owners like himself will get the time and support to transition. He welcomes incentives.

"I think slow integration and phasing it out is a good way to go about it," he said.

So far, about 60 cities in California have some sort of ban or regulation on gas-powered garden tools. Some incentive programs already exist to make the switch from gas to electric.

You can find more information here.
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