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A new report reveals an appalling stat about gas-powered leaf blowers — here’s what one state is doing about it

Meanwhile, more than 100 cities have banned them or restricted their use.

Meanwhile, more than 100 cities have banned them.

Photo Credit: iStock

Gas-powered lawn equipment produces a mind-blowing amount of pollution, and yet it is not regulated on nearly the same level as other types of gas-powered, pollution-creating technology.

What is happening?

According to a report from the California Air Resources Board: “For a commercial leaf blower, one hour of operation emits smog-forming pollution comparable to driving a new light-duty passenger car about 1,100 miles — about the distance from Los Angeles to Denver, over 15 hours of driving.”

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Why is this concerning?

This is an incredible statistic. Cars are widely acknowledged as a major source of air pollution and planet-overheating gases. A typical passenger car produces over five tons of carbon dioxide pollution per year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

And yet, as the transportation sector is being scrutinized, regulated, and gradually electrified, gas-powered lawn tools have carried on essentially as they have always been. These machines are responsible for an astonishing 4% to 5% of the total planet-overheating gas pollution in the United States.

What is being done about it?

There is finally some movement on that front, however. Electric leaf blowers are beginning to appear on the market, with several options available to consumers for under $200.

Meanwhile, more than 100 cities have banned or restricted gas-powered leaf blowers, limiting both air and noise pollution — this increases the quality of life for citizens and helps to protect our planet.

And, of course, it is important to keep in mind that not all leaves that are on the ground need to be blown, or even raked. Leaves are organic matter, and when left on the ground they will break down and help the entire ecosystem — unlike leaves that are bagged up and sent to landfills, many of which are lined with plastic that prevents the leaves from reintegrating with the soil. 

According to the California Air Resources Board, more regulations are needed on leaf blowers and other types of gas-powered lawn equipment, such as mowers. To that end, the state government has set a goal of transitioning all off-road vehicles and equipment to 100% zero pollution by 2035, where feasible.

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