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California’s Ban On Gas-Powered Tools: Can Gardeners Switch To Electric Tools With A Half Off Coupon?

Original source: The Mercury News.

Sarah DussaultBay Area News Group.png

Though Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed a bill that bans the sale of most new gas powered tools by 2024, gardeners and landscapers say a $30 million state subsidy isn’t nearly enough to help small operators make the switch to electric.

The state agency responsible for administering the subsidy estimates it has only enough to give each self-employed gardener a 50% coupon for one tool, far from the truckload of leaf blowers, lawn mowers, small chainsaws, brushcutters and trimmers most haul around.

In fact, local governments have learned they need to offer more. In Southern California, a regional air quality district that has been running a similar incentive program since 2017 saw few takers until it increased rebates to 75% per tool. The district paired that with an outreach program and encouraged landscapers to test electric equipment.

The California Air Resources Board is still figuring out who will qualify for the rebate but Assemblymember Marc Berman, one of the authors of the bill, said he’s open to adding more funding if needed.

“Let’s not make the perfect be the enemy of the good,” said the Menlo Park Democrat.

Environmentalists hailed the first-in-the-nation law for advancing California’s clean energy goals, noting the state estimates that smog-forming pollution from small gas-powered engines will surpass emissions from passenger cars this year. But electrifying the landscaping industry creates financial and physical burdens for the estimated 60,000 one-person and often unlicensed landscaping operations, an industry with an average income under $40,000 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There’s an argument for subsidizing the transition. An electric leaf blower and batteries cost nearly twice as much as a comparable gas version. California estimates that a full transition of nearly 3 million tools used by landscaping professionals will cost  $1.29 billion.

Bryan, a landscaper who asked to be identified by his first name only because he fears losing business, uses a mix of electric and gas equipment. The electric ones fall short.

“I have 10 to 15 houses a day, right now, but with electric (tools), I may do seven or five houses a day,” he said. That’s a loss of $1,000 a week.

Already, Bryan has told his kid he can’t afford books or a new laptop. The cost of a full conversion by purchasing all electric tools, he said, would require him to raise prices 30%. He fears his residential clients will purchase their own tools and do it themselves, pushing him out of a job.

When the bill was signed, Berman and Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez of San Diego called it a win for both the environment and human health. Electric tools have already been widely adopted by California homeowners, but only a

Click SOURCE for the rest of the story Photo Credit: Sarah Dussault/Bay Area News Group

... GO TO $30 million state subsidy isn’t nearly enough TO READ MORE

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