Colorado could ban the sale of gas-powered mowers and blowers beginning in 2025 |

Colorado could ban the sale of gas-powered mowers and blowers beginning in 2025

ordan Champalou demonstrates a DeWalt electric string trimmer near Sloans Lake. Champalou has been mowing lawns since age 10 and now maintains four to five residential properties per week using all electric lawn tools.
Olivia Sun/The Colorado Sun via Report for America/Courtesy photo

All sales of gas-powered home lawnmowers, trimmers, and leaf blowers would be banned in metro Denver beginning in 2025 to attack severe ozone pollution, according to draft policies circulating at the Regional Air Quality Council and targeted for a vote by statewide authorities later this year. 

The most likely proposals would also ban summer use of existing gas-powered lawn equipment by big institutional users such as schools or parks and maintenance crews beginning in 2025 and by commercial users a year after that. 

Emissions from gas-powered lawn equipment make up a surprisingly high portion of chemicals that bake into summer ozone under Colorado’s hot sun. California already has a sales ban, beginning in 2024. Various Colorado local governments have offered incentives to turn in gas equipment for voucher discounts to buy new electric gear, but a full sales ban and summer-use ban is a big trial balloon the RAQC is floating in early working group drafts. 

The EPA in 2008 set ozone health limits of 75 parts per billion, then revised it further downward in 2015 to 70 parts per billion. State planners have said lawn and garden equipment contributes 2.5 parts per billion to that total on an average day. It may seem small, but compared to the other slices of the total that Colorado has the power to control, lawn and garden equipment is a tantalizing target. 

This table shows why it’s been so difficult for the northern Front Range to cut its ozone production back below EPA limits. Our background ozone starts high, and the biggest places to cut elsewhere are partially walled off by special interests and consumer habits.
Regional Air Quality Council/Courtesy image

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Colorado’s ozone was trending downward for a while as cars got cleaner, coal-fired power plants were retired, and other rules took effect. But in recent years, many metro area monitors are spiking into the 80s. 

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