Top 15 FAQs about California’s Green Lawn Care Law

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California’s Green Lawn Care Law bans the sale of gas-powered lawn care tools to reduce both air and noise pollution. In this FAQ we’ll clear up some of the confusion about the law for homeowners, lawn care professionals, and retailers. 

For example, two big questions on the minds of Californians are:

  • Which gas-powered lawn care tools are covered? (Short answer: Gas-powered lawn mowers, string trimmers, leaf blowers and some other lawn care and landscaping tools manufactured after Jan. 1, 2024.)
  • Are there financial incentives available to make it easier to switch from gas to electric or battery-powered lawn care equipment? (Short answer: Yes, but much of those funds have been exhausted)

We’ll answer those questions in more detail and a whole lot more in this article. And, of course, you likely will want to read our in-depth look at California’s Green Lawn Care Law: What You Need To Know.

Let’s get started answering your questions:

1. What tools does California’s Green Lawn Care Law cover? 

California’s Green Lawn Care Lawn (known officially as Assembly Bill 1346) was signed by Governor Gavin Newsom signed Dec. 31, 2023. It banned the sale of new gas-powered lawn care equipment manufactured after Dec. 31, 2023. 

The law covers these common gas-powered lawn care and yard care tools::

  • Lawn mowers
  • String trimmers
  • Leaf blowers
  • Log splitters
  • Hedge trimmers
  • Edgers
  • Chainsaws operating below 45 CC

2. Why did California pass the Green Lawn Care Law? 

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The law aims to push California into a zero-emissions zone, reduce environmental damage, and minimize health risks associated with gas-powered equipment. A shift to battery-powered mowers and other equipment is expected to occur as soon as gas-powered stocks are completely sold.

According to the California Air Resources Board (CARB), the state is overdue for controlling the damage caused by SOREs (Small Off-Road Engines), as they emit the same amount of harmful gasses as a small car in use over the same period of time. 

The law’s goal: Reduce reactive organic gasses, oxides of nitrogen, and particulate matter, which will positively impact California’s residential and commercial areas.

3. Which gas-powered tools are excluded from the ban?

The new regulations will not affect the following gas-powered tools (in this initial phase):

  • Pressure washers
  • Air compressors
  • Chippers
  • Welders
  • Light towers
  • Portable generators
  • Most off-road vehicles with engines over 25 horsepower

4. Are there multiple implementation phases?

Yes, the new regulations involve a dual implementation phase, as follows:

  • Phase one – New standards roll out for all lawn care equipment except large pressure washers and generators. Took effect on Jan. 1, 2024.
  • Phase two – Addresses large pressure washers and generators. Goes into effect in 2028.

5. Why is there a phase two for some tools?

At this time, zero-emission alternatives for large pressure washers and generators are not as far along as those for lawn care and gardening tools, meaning that performance will be significantly impacted by a switch in the immediate future.

6. Will I still have access to gas-powered equipment?

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As long as stocks permit it, you can continue purchasing gas-powered outdoor equipment manufactured before Dec. 31, 2023. After inventories are depleted, you’ll have to switch to eco-friendly electric or battery-operated devices.

7. Do the new regulations also prohibit gas-powered equipment use?

No, the regulations apply only to the sale of gas-powered equipment.

8. Does California offer incentives for eco-friendly product purchases?

Switching from gas-powered to electric or battery-powered lawn equipment will be expensive, but you – as a homeowner of lawn care business owner – may be able to take advantage of federal, state, municipal, and utility incentives. In some cases, they can be stacked, which means the cost reduction will be substantial.

  • Local incentive programs – Plenty of cities throughout California offer incentive programs and rebates for the purchase and use of eco-friendly outdoor tools. For example, the Antelope Valley Air Quality Management District offers exchange incentives. Turn in your gas-powered lawn and landscaping equipment to receive an incentive on a new battery-operated tool. The same goes for other areas. Check this full list for updates.
  • The Promoting Reduction of Emissions Through Landscaping Equipment Act – This offers a 40% credit on purchasing lawn mowers, leaf blowers, hedgers, and other accessories for up to $25,000 a year and $100,000 over 10 years.

    The tax credit applies to equipment purchases on or after Jan. 1, 2023, and to retrofitting gasoline-operated tools to achieve clean, zero-emission alternatives.
  • The Inflation Reduction Act – The bill was signed by President Joe Biden on Aug. 16, 2022, features a tax credit of 30% for the purchase of large-scale electric lawn mowers – for a total of up to $7,500.

    To qualify, the equipment must weigh less than 14,000 pounds and have a battery capacity of at least 7 kilowatt hours. The incentives will end in 2032.

Any and all concerns can be sent to the CARB office. Comments or questions will be read and shared with members of the board.

10. Does battery-operated equipment offer the same performance as gas-powered?

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Not at this time. When it comes to professional-grade performance, most gas-powered tools still outperform battery-operated ones. 

11. Am I looking at higher lawn care and landscaping costs under the California Green Lawn Care Law?

Yes, your costs may rise as professional landscapers will likely have to pay more for battery-operated equipment that delivers the same performance. Lawn mowing companies and landscaping professionals also have to invest in spare batteries to continue mowing. 

Even after switching to battery-powered equipment, lawn care pros and landscapers may still be unable to deliver the same level of productivity, increasing operational costs that will eventually trickle down to you, the customer.

12. Do gas-powered lawn care tools really pollute that much?

According to CARB scientists, the answer is yes. In terms of pollution, think of it this way: Operating a gas-powered lawn mower for one hour equals the same amount of pollution created by driving a car from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. 

13. How many SOREs are currently in California?

Surprisingly (to some), SOREs outnumber passenger cars in the Golden State. Currently, California has 16.7 million SOREs, compared to around 13.7 million passenger cars. This means emissions from SOREs have also skyrocketed, surpassing emissions from cars.

14. Will I be allowed to purchase gas-powered equipment from other states and use it in California after the new regulations kick in?

Yes, this will be an option.

15. What are some good electric-powered mower options for 2024?

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Whether it’s price, performance, or a particular use for your mower, this list of options addresses the needs of different types of buyers:

  • Worx Power Share Cordless Mower – Considered one of the top electric mowers for small to medium-sized yards, its compact size doesn’t compromise performance. It features a full bag indicator, a mulch or bag option, six height adjustments, and an extended battery life turbo boost feature.
  • Greenworks 20-Inch Cordless Lawn Mower – This one stands out for the best value offered in 2024, able to maintain lawns larger than 10,800 square feet (roughly four tennis courts). A high-end cordless mower, the Greenworks operates at 40 watts and can run for about 45 minutes when fully charged. It has dual battery ports and intelligent mowing technology that adapts to the condition of your grass.
  • Ryobi 20-Inch Brushless Self-Propelled Mower – If you don’t mind a little extra investment, this mower can be just what you need. With a 40V lithium-ion battery and sleek design, this Ryobi mower stands out as a premium option. Its brushless motor offers frictionless mowing, making it quieter and prolonging the motor’s life.

Want to avoid the new California law? Hire a lawn care pro

The switch from gas-powered to electric or battery-powered lawn care equipment will in reality take years, but if you want to avoid the added expense of purchasing new tools when current ones give out, hire a local lawn care pro to keep your lawn green and healthy.

And let your lawn care pro deal with California’s Green Lawn Care Law. 🙂

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Andie Ioó

In my free time, I enjoy traveling with my husband, sports, trying out new recipes, reading, and watching reruns of '90s TV shows. As a way to relax and decompress, I enjoy landscaping around my little yard and DIY home projects.