The World Forum - April 24th, 2024

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Gas leaf blowers and lawn mowers are shockingly bad for the planet. Bans are beginning to spread.


California has already taken the biggest step in banning the engines, which are formally known as "small off road engines," or SOREs. California's ban phases in next year and prohibits the sale of new small gas engines. People can keep using the ones they already own and can resell used ones.

Washington, D.C., has a much stricter ban, barring the use of gas-powered leaf blowers by anyone within the district as of Jan. 1, 2022, and levying $500 fines for violators, unless they're on federal property. The ban also allows anyone who sees or hears a gas-powered leaf blower to file a complaint – they don't need a city inspector to witness it.

Denver-area regulators are considering restrictions that primarily target large commercial and municipal users but provide exemptions for homeowners. The Denver-area ban is focused on reducing ozone pollution, which causes breathing difficulties and contributes to climate change.

The residential retail market is already responding, and most hardware and big-box stores now sell electric equipment.

Critics say battery-powered machines aren't as strong as gas-powered ones, and some people also worry about having to buy new equipment, which is generally more expensive.