The Potluck

House Democrats introduce ban on new gas lawn mowers in 2025

By: - February 14, 2023 10:09 am

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A bill introduced in the Minnesota House would ban the sale of new gas-powered lawn mowers and other garden equipment like leaf blowers and weed whippers starting in 2025.

The bill (HF1715) is authored by Rep. Jerry Newton, DFL-Coon Rapids, and Rep. Heather Edelson, DFL-Edina, and requires all new garden equipment to be solely powered by electricity. The requirement would apply to all lawn and garden equipment — which does not include snow blowers — powered at or below 19 kilowatts or 25 gross horsepower.

If passed, Minnesota would join California, which passed the nation’s first ban on gas-powered lawn mowers, slated to take effect in 2024. Lawmakers in New York and Illinois have considered similar laws.

The push comes as a DFL-majority Legislature looks to accelerate the state’s transition away from fossil fuels. Gov. Tim Walz this month signed a bill requiring utility companies to produce 100% of their electricity from carbon-free sources by 2040.

Garden equipment like leaf blowers are typically powered with dirty two-stroke engines, which emit large amounts of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and other toxic air pollutants and greenhouse gasses. A study by Edmunds in 2011 found that a consumer-grade leaf blower emits more pollutants than a full-sized, high-performance pick-up truck.

While electric cars are far more expensive than their gas-powered counterparts, electric push mowers cost about the same as gas-powered mowers and are cheaper to maintain.

Newton and Edelson also introduced a bill (HF1716) requiring new ice resurfacing machines (e.g. Zambonis) to be all electric starting in 2025.

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Max Nesterak
Max Nesterak

Max Nesterak is the deputy editor of the Reformer and reports on labor and housing. Previously, he was an associate producer for Minnesota Public Radio after a stint at NPR. He also co-founded the Behavioral Scientist and was a Fulbright Scholar to Berlin, Germany.