Facing Multiple Crises, Gavin Newsom Bans... Gas Lawn Mowers?

After surviving a recall attempt, California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) is not wasting time when it comes to foisting more leftist restrictions on the residents of his state — and gas-powered lawn equipment is at the top of his list.

Last week, Newsom signed a bill into law that mandates California regulators take action to ban the sale of new equipment powered by "small off-road engines" (SORE) that are used in common items such as lawn mowers, chain saws, weed trimmers, generators, leaf blowers, and power washers. 

California will outlaw the sale of new gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers and chain saws as early as 2024 under a new law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Saturday.https://t.co/o71W1YR3Ch pic.twitter.com/ly6ASnExjF— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) October 11, 2021

Regulators, according to the new law, must finalize specifics for the ban before 2024 or as soon as the ban is "feasible" and come up with a plan to use $30 billion in funding for "commercial rebates or similar incentive funding" to "support the transition to zero-emission" equipment. 

Newsom's new mandate doesn't apply to existing gas-powered equipment and will just ban the sale of new equipment that's not plug-in or battery-powered, meaning SORE-powered equipment will be phased out over time as new electric implements slowly replace aging or broken gas-powered ones.   

There are plenty of issues Newsom would be wise to address before leaf blower emissions, such as homelessness, crime, public education, or land management and fire prevention to name a few, but he's not. Instead of fixing issues that could make Californians' lives better, he's going after niche special interest priorities without much concern for what the immediate and longer term impact for his state's residents will be.

There is a certain type of Democratic politics that succeeds amazingly well at picking the policies most likely to annoy people while least likely to address the underlying problems https://t.co/8Qb7yucQ5H— Nathan J Robinson (@NathanJRobinson) October 13, 2021

Critics point out that "hurdles involved with the transition are multifold" and expensive. "A commercial electric lawn mower can cost more than twice its gas equivalent," while an electric mower "often doesn't perform as well, with less power and shorter usage times." Plug-in models are generally cheapest, but for homeowners or businesses with large lawns, corded products aren't able to meet their needs. And unlike gas-powered equipment, when batteries run down, users can't just top off the gas tank and keep going. 

Other opponents of the law point out that "the new law is expected to affect nearly 50,000 small businesses," and the "$30 million to help professional landscapers and gardeners quit using gas-powered equipment is "still not capable of bearing the full financial burden." The National Association of Landscape Professionals told The Los Angeles Times that a "gas-powered riding lawn mower costs between $7,000-$11,000 — while the zero-emissions version costs more than twice that amount."

Those added costs for lawn care equipment will be passed on to customers, another unnecessarily increased cost for those who live in the Golden State.