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California Weighs Tougher Emissions Rules For Gas-Powered Garden Equipment


California Weighs Tougher Emissions Rules For Gas-Powered Garden Equipment
February 28, 2017

hose gas-powered leaf blowers, hedge trimmers and mowers you hear in your neighborhood aren't just annoying — they make a lot of pollution, too.

In California, they're about to pass cars as the worst air polluters, spewing out formaldehyde, benzene and particulate matter. According to Michael Benjamin at the California Air Resources Board, in just three years' time, the biggest single ozone polluter in the state is going to be all this gardening equipment.

"We expect that ozone-contributing pollutants from small off-road engines will exceed those same emissions from cars around the 2020 time frame," Benjamin says.

It sounds hard to believe: More pollution from leaf blowers than cars. But in California and across the country, regulations on car exhaust have gotten tighter and tighter over the years, substantially reducing their ozone-damaging emissions. Not so with small gas engines, Benjamin says. And with 16 million of them cranking up across California, all that pollution adds up.

"Unless ARB adopts more stringent controls, emissions from this category are going to really become much more significant relative to cars," he says.

Some states and regional air-quality districts do have incentive programs in place to try to get homeowners to switch from gas to electric machinery.

But California — which currently goes by federal standards for its emissions regulations of small off-road gas engines — is considering requiring tougher emissions standards for small gas engines and to offer major incentives for landscaping businesses to change over to electric....


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