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One of the world’s greatest minor annoyances, the gasoline-powered leaf blower that wakes entire neighborhoods up at 7 a.m. with a sound like a jet plane taking off, may soon be a thing of the past in California.
The state legislature is set to consider a new bill that would ban the sale of new gas-powered leaf-blowers, lawnmowers and other “small off-road engines.” If approved, the ban could go into effect as soon as January 1, 2024.
The bill’s author, Assembly member Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park), wrote the bill to address air pollution, not noise pollution. Small off-road engines (the acronym is the entirely appropriate word SORE) are a serious source of emissions as well as aggravations. According to the California Air Resources Board, one hour of use of a gas-powered leaf blowing produces the emissions equivalent of a 1,100 mile car trip.
Many cities, including Los Angeles, have restrictions on the use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers, but they are frequently ineffective and difficult to enforce.
If the bill to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered yard equipment passes, Californians won’t just be able to breathe easier, they may be able to sleep better, too. The bill proposes incentives like rebates to help ease the cost of switching over to zero emission equipment.