Washington D.C.’s “Leaf Blower Regulation Amendment Act on 2018” just went into effect, and it’s effectively a local ban on gas engine leaf blowers.
This is a local regulation, meaning it affects Washington D.C. residents and landscapers or city officials who work in the area.
Shown above is a Husqvarna gas engine blower. If you’re caught using this in Washington D.C., you’ll be subjected to a fine of up to $500 for each offense.
An October 16, 2018 draft of the bill points out that, as of that time, over 170 municipalities in 31 states have enacted regulations on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers.”
Regulations differ depending on the location, but D.C.’s is an overall outright ban that doesn’t look to have any exemptions.
The ban applies to everyone in the D.C. area, including residents and landscapers. According to their FAQ, if a resident hires a landscaper who uses a gas-powered leaf blower, and a complaint is filed against them but the landscaper cannot be identified, the fine may be issued against the homeowner.
It seems that noise control is at the heart of this D.C.’s regulation.
There have been additional talk, complaints, and local ordinances about gas engine leaf blowers over the past 2 years. Many more people have been working from home due to the pandemic, and they’ve experienced how noisy landscaping machinery can be in the spring, summer, and fall.
California recently announced a ban on gas engine leaf blowers, lawn mowers, and other gas-engine lawn & garden and landscaping tools, and this is expected to go into effect starting in 2024.
Whereas many modern gas engine leaf blower regulations are tied to their significant noise levels, California’s are tied to air pollution complaints.
Reports say that California’s regulation also affects generators and pressure washers, as it applies to a broad category of small gas engine equipment.
California’s is the first state-wide ban on the sale of gas-engine leaf blowers.
With D.C.’s local ban now in effect, and California’s expected to go into effect 2 years from now, there’s a high likelihood we’ll see an increase in gas blower bans and regulations, whether motivated by a desire to reduce noise pollution, emissions and pollutants, or both.
Battery-powered cordless leaf blowers have become quite good.
In addition to being quieter than gas engine blowers (at least from everything I have seen, heard, and read), cordless blowers don’t give off any fumes or emissions.
Landscapers in my area seem to use gas-engine tools exclusively, with many using different brands of tools. But when using different brands of cordless outdoor tools, each tool usually works with a completely different style of battery pack.
Bans and regulations are sure to cause headaches for landscapers and other existing equipment owners.
But for someone who is looking to buy new equipment, are there any downsides to these types of bans? In other words, why might someone still want to buy a gas engine blower over a cordless battery-powered blower?
What do you think the gas engine outdoor power tool industry will look like in 5-10 years?