Gov. Newsom signs bill banning gas powered lawn and garden equipment

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed into law a bill that would ban all gas-powered off-road engines according to a report in The Free Press on Tuesday. 

The ban, which takes effect on Jan. 1 2024 extends to all types of motorized equipment including generators, lawn equipment, pressure washers, weed trimmers, golf carts, etc. 

According to the Free Press, the only caveat to the potential start date for the ban is if administrative rule-makers make a determination about when it’s “feasible” to start the broad rule. 

Under this mandate, small and off-road machines must be zero-emissions which will necessitate that they work off of either a power cord or battery of some kind, The Washington Examiner reported.

“This is a pretty modest approach to trying to limit the massive amounts of pollution that this equipment emits, not to mention the health impact on the workers who are using it constantly,” said Marc Berman, the bill’s author.

“It’s amazing how people react when they learn how much this equipment pollutes, and how much smog forming and climate changing emissions that small off-road engine equipment creates.”

It’s estimated that this law will affect almost 50,000 small businesses. However, the state has come up with a plan to assist businesses in making the switch, including $30 million in taxpayer dollars to help professional landscapers and gardeners stop using equipment that runs on gas, a sum experts believe will be a drop in the bucket compared to the accumulated cost of switching.

This news didn’t sit well with The National Association of Landscape Professionals who said in their response to the news of the law that electrical power equipment has a number of drawbacks, including that it is more expensive (often double the cost) and less efficient than gas-powered equipment.

Andrew Bray, vice president of government relations for the National Association of Landscape Professionals, said during an interview that the ban will be devastating for many small businesses: 

“These companies are going to have to completely retrofit their entire workshops to be able to handle this massive change in voltage so they’re going to be charged every day,” Bray said, going on to explain that even a three-person landscaping crew would likely have to carry 30 to 40 fully charged batteries just for a full day’s work.

Additionally, concerns about where the state will find the electricity to power all the equipment are rising as questions about the power grid grow.