Millions of Americans own gas-powered lawn mowers, but that could be changing. California is making the switch to electric mowers and experts believe other states could eventually do the same.
David Hernandez is with "Sod and Turf Pros" in Los Angeles and has used gas-powered equipment for years. He understands electric tools are the future but says there are pros and cons. "You won't be having all that gas up your nose, be inhaling it, because I've been there. I've done that," Hernandez says.
One trade-off is usage time. Hernandez bought an electric leaf blower but says he has to operate it sparingly. "It doesn't last as long, right, so we use a battery. It will only last 20, 30 minutes, and then after that go charge it," Hernandez says.
Homeowners are snatching up e-powered products, but it's a harder transition for lawn care companies running lots of devices all day.
In October, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law making California the first state to ban the sale of gas-powered lawn equipment by 2024 in an effort to curb emissions. Lawmakers supporting the ban say the gas-powered equipment produces high levels of pollutants that impact human health, emissions that can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems.
According to the California Air Resources Board, using a commercial gas-powered lawn mower for an hour creates the same amount of smog-forming pollution as driving a car 300 miles from LA to Las Vegas.
USC environmental law professor Robin Craig says other states could follow. "We'll see how manufacturers react. I think the easier the manufacturers make it for other states to adopt the same sort of ban, the more states will do it," Craig says.
Hernandez and consumers can still use their gas-powered lawn mowers in 2024, but any new equipment purchased will have to be electric.