Apr 19, 2023 - News

Utah is paying lawn companies to trade in their noisy, gassy machines

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As the grass turns green and flower buds unfurl, it's time to listen for the melodic songs of birds, the buzzing of bees and the gentle flutter of ...

... your neighbor's two-stroke leaf blower.

Driving the news: The state is offering up to $3,000 to lawn care companies to ditch their two-stroke engines and switch to electric equipment.

  • The deadline to apply is April 24, so you don't have long to beg your provider to sign up — and ask your neighbors to do the same.

Why it matters: Lawn equipment is a leading source of air pollution in northern Utah, emitting 8 tons per day of harmful gasses called volatile organic compounds, according to state environmental regulators.

  • That's second only to cars (13 tons) and ahead of industry (6 tons).
  • A gas-powered leaf blower causes as much pollution as driving a car 727 miles.

Yes, and: Equipment powered by a two-stroke engine is six to eight times as loud as electric equipment, per the company Leaf Blowers Direct.

Zoom out: More than 100 local governments nationwide have restricted gas-powered leaf blower use in recent years, Yahoo News reports.

Erin's thought bubble: I didn't realize how much noise lawn machines brought to my neighborhood until I began working from home during the pandemic — or tried to work despite the racket.

  • I got an electric mower, string and hedge trimmers, leaf blower and chainsaw — all far cheaper than gas-powered versions.
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