While in Europe the European Commission wants to ban the production of cars with internal combustion engines from 2035, in the United States they go one step further. New California law focuses on small internal combustion engines that can pollute the air more than cars. For example, it prohibits petrol lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other garden equipment.
Server Ars Technica informsthat California Governor Gavin Newsom has signed a law that since 2024 prohibit the sale of small internal combustion engines used mainly in garden and grass technology. The law will provide consumers with discounts on the purchase of electrical alternatives. It builds on previous regulations prepared by the California Air Resources Board (better known as CARB).
Only mowers without petrol
“Currently, there are equivalents of all devices [s malými motory] with zero emissions, which are regulated by the State Office for Air Protection, “ it is stated in the bill. “The battery technology needed for commercial zero-emission devices is available, and many commercial and home users have already begun to switch to zero-emission devices.”
Lawn mowers and leaf blowers are said to be extraordinary polluters. Their small engines emit huge amounts of smog-forming nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and lung-damaging solids. According to government officials, the hourly operation of a gasoline leaf blower produces as many volatile organic compounds and NOx as the 2000-kilometer Toyota 2017 Camry ride from New York to Orlando.
In California alone, more than 16.7 million gasoline garden equipment and generators are in operation. By comparison, approximately 35 million cars and trucks are registered in the same state. Although the law does not mention go-karts or golf carts, those with an output of less than 25 hp (18.6 kW) are already regulated under the small engine regime. More powerful powertrains are subject to regulations for large internal combustion engines.
Millions of mowers
Small engines were not regulated at all in California before 1990 and until 1995 in other countries. Especially in the last two decades, the new limits have succeeded in reducing the pollution caused by these power units. Yet last year, they produced small engines in California more emissions of NOx and volatile organic compounds than passenger cars.
Despite recent changes in regulations, people operating garden and grass equipment are exposed to certain pollutants in potentially harmful amounts. According to a 2006 study, the worst pollutants were mainly fine particles (PM2.5) and carbon monoxide.
The new law does not only cover exhaust emissions, but also emissions from fuel tanks, where large amounts of benzene and other hazardous compounds can be released from evaporating gasoline. Evaporative emissions together account for about 35% of pollution from small engines. Due to the fact that many mowers and similar devices are stored in garages, evaporated pollutants can also penetrate into households.
In 2003, California introduced stricter regulations for evaporative emissions from small engines. A few years later, when CARB inspected 60 models of garden and grass equipment, it found that 33 of them did not meet the specified requirements. Over the next few years, small engine manufacturers such as Kawasaki and Yamaha were fined or agreed to compensate for non-compliance.
The new law comes at a time when electric garden and grass technology is increasingly competing with gasoline versions. For example, the best battery-powered lawnmowers get it in Consumer Reports almost the same rating as gasoline. Several manufacturers even offer walk-behind cordless lawnmowers that are able to mow up to two acres of land on a single charge while requiring significantly less maintenance.
California also addresses emissions from internal combustion engines on other fronts. Last year, the California Air Protection Administration said all truck and van manufacturers would have to switch to electric versions by 2045.
In addition, the state of California as well by 2035, ban the sale of new cars and trucks with internal combustion engines. Until then, many car manufacturers want to switch exclusively to electric cars. Another zero-emission rule will enter into force in 2030 and will apply to light autonomous vehicles.