California takes next step to ban small engines
By Mike Brezonick11 October 2021
Gov. Gavin Newsome over the weekend signed into law a bill that will prohibit most small off-road engines used in equipment such as mowers, leaf blowers, pressure washers, welders and generators, from being sold in the state of California.
Assembly bill 1346, signed by Newsome on Oct. 9, requires the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to “adopt cost-effective and technologically feasible regulations to prohibit engine exhaust and evaporative emissions from new small off-road engines,” by July 1, 2022. Following the regulations, it’s expected that the rules would then take effect in 2024.
The law states that “technical feasibility” will be determined by a range of factors, including emissions from small off-road engines in the state; expected timelines for zero-emissions small off-road equipment development; increased demand for electricity from added charging requirements for more zero-emission small off-road equipment; use cases of both commercial and residential lawn and garden users; and expected availability of zero-emission generators and emergency response equipment.
The bill stated that in 2020, California daily NOx and reactive organic gas (ROG) emissions from small off-road engines (SORE) were higher than emissions from light-duty passenger cars. Small engines emitted an average of 16.8 tons per day of NOx and 125 tons per day of ROG, according to the legislation, which said “without further regulatory action, those emission levels are expected to increase with increasing numbers of SORE in California.”
The bill also stated that “currently, there are zero-emission equivalents to all SORE equipment regulated by the State Air Resources Board. The battery technology required for commercial-grade zero-emission equipment is available and many users, both commercial and residential, have already begun to transition to zero-emission equipment.”
The bill requires CARB to identify and, to the extent feasible, make available funding for commercial rebates or similar incentives to support the transition to zero-emission small off-road equipment operations.