A bill introduced by Assemblymembers Marc Berman (D-Menlo Park) and Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) would phase out new gas-powered small off-road engines (SORE).
These types of engines are primary used in lawn and garden equipment, including leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and other outdoor power equipment. AB 1346 would require new sales of SORE to be zero-emission by 2024 or whenever the California Air Resources Board (CARB) determines is feasible, whichever is later.
There is nothing in the bill that prevents people from buying these types of engines online or purchasing them from another state and bringing them to California.
However, Berman stated that a leaf blower puts out more air pollutants than driving a vehicle from one city to another.
“Today, operating the best-selling gas-powered commercial leaf blower for one hour emits air pollutants comparable to driving a 2017 Toyota Camry from Los Angeles to Denver,” said Assemblymember Marc Berman. “Smog-forming emissions from small engines will surpass those from passenger vehicles this year. We must look beyond transportation if we are to achieve the emissions reductions needed to fight climate change and improve air quality and health in our communities.”
SORE are engines that produce 25 horsepower or less, but emit high levels of air pollutants, including oxides of nitrogen (NOx), reactive organic gases (ROG), and particulate matter (PM), which adversely affect air quality and human health. By 2031, NOx and ROG emissions from SORE are projected to be twice those from passenger cars. AB 1346 will mitigate the negative environmental and health consequences that result from SORE.
“It’s time to phase out these super polluters. They’re not only bad for our environment, but can cause serious health issues for workers who utilize them every day,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez (D-San Diego) said. “We can and must help small landscaping businesses replace their gas-powered equipment with cleaner alternatives.”
AB 1346 directs CARB to develop cost-effective and technologically feasible regulations to phase out the sale of new gas-powered SORE by 2024 or whenever the board determines is feasible. The bill also requires CARB to make funding available for commercial rebates to support the transition to zero-emission SORE.