Leaf Blower (File)

U.S. Bans On Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers Gain Steam But Face Landscaping Industry Opposition

Leaf Blower (File)
Leaf Blower (File)

A growing number of cities and states across the United States are implementing bans or restrictions on gasoline-powered leaf blowers, citing concerns over noise pollution, air pollution, and their contribution to climate change.

However, these bans are facing strong opposition from the landscaping industry, which argues that the alternatives are less efficient and more costly.

Currently, no state has fully banned gas-powered leaf blowers. However, California has enacted a law that will ban the sale of new gas-powered small off-road engines, including those in leaf blowers, starting in 2024.

Read: States Ranked From Lowest To Highest Tax Rates: An Overview

Several cities and counties across the United States have implemented bans or restrictions on gas-powered leaf blowers, including:

  • California: Many cities, such as Los Angeles, Berkeley, and Carmel-by-the-Sea have restrictions or bans in place.
  • Washington D.C.
  • Colorado: Boulder has a ban on gas-powered landscaping equipment.
  • Illinois: Evanston has a ban.
  • Vermont: Burlington has a ban.

According to a Dec. 19 report from Fox Business, the city council of Ann Arbor, Michigan, has unanimously voted to ban gas-powered leaf blowers. The new law will fully ban gas blowers starting Jan. 1, 2028, but until then, they will be allowed from October through May only.

Many other cities and counties are considering similar bans or restrictions due to concerns about noise and air pollution.

Advocates for the bans highlight the negative health and environmental impacts of these machines. Gasoline-powered leaf blowers emit significant amounts of pollutants, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, which can contribute to respiratory problems and other health issues.

Read: Leaf Blowers: The Great Sleep Disrupter Just Got Quieter

The noise they generate is also a major nuisance for residents and can cause hearing damage with prolonged exposure.

Environmental groups argue that these bans are a crucial step in reducing emissions and combating climate change. They point to studies showing that a single gas-powered leaf blower can produce as much pollution in one hour as driving a car for hundreds of miles.

However, the landscaping industry is pushing back against these bans, arguing that they are impractical and harmful to their businesses. They claim that electric leaf blowers are less powerful and have shorter battery life, making them less efficient for large-scale landscaping projects. Additionally, they argue that the cost of switching to electric equipment would be a significant burden for many small businesses.

Despite the opposition, the movement to ban gas-powered leaf blowers continues to gain momentum. Several major cities, including Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Burlington, Vermont, have already implemented full or partial bans. States like California are also taking action, with legislation requiring all new small off-road engines, including those in lawn equipment, to be zero-emission by 2024.

The debate over gas-powered leaf blowers highlights the tension between environmental concerns and economic interests. As more communities consider bans, it remains to be seen how the landscaping industry will adapt and whether viable alternatives can be found that satisfy both environmental and economic needs.

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