SACRAMENTO, Calif. – California will soon ban the sale of new gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers, a move aimed at curbing emissions from a category of small engines on pace to produce more pollution each year than passenger vehicles.
Gov. 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 category that includes generators, lawn equipment and pressure washers.
The California Air Resources Board has already started working on a rule to do this, a lengthy process set to end early next year. But the law Newsom signed Saturday removes any doubt, ordering the agency to apply the new rule by Jan. 1, 2024, or as soon as regulators determine is “feasible,” whichever date is later.
California is the only state with the authority to regulate air quality this way, part of an exception carved out in the 1970s. While other states can't enact their own regulations, they can choose to follow California's lead.
California has more than 16.7 million of these small engines, about 3 million more than the number of passenger cars. California was the first to adopt emission standards for small engines in 1990. But since then, emissions in cars have vastly improved compared with smaller engines.