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Fox News
Fox News
5 Jan 2024


Americans in Silicon Valley are torn about whether the long-term climate impact is worth Democratic officials' green-fueled consumer regulations as gas-powered lawn equipment is phased out for electric yard tools. 

"It sounds like pandering to a base," Ken, of San Jose, California, told Fox News. "It creates a false sense of security." 

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But Richard, who previously owned a landscaping business, said he only uses battery-powered yard tools. 

"They're lighter. They're easier to maintain," he said. "If you have the appropriate number of batteries and supplies… I don't see any problem with it."

lawnmower in grass

A California law is regulating gas-powered lawn and garden equipment in 2024.  (NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/BELGA MAG/AFP via Getty Images)

A California law is requiring newly-manufactured small off-road engines, including primarily leaf blowers, lawn mowers and other lawn or garden equipment, to produce zero emissions starting in 2024 as part of the blue state's green-fueled regulations. The law, signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2021, doesn’t prohibit the use of existing gas-powered lawn tools but begins to phase out the equipment for certain electric machines in 2024, raising concerns for some Americans about consumer choice as they face growing restrictions on gas stoves and traditional cars.

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"I think for some uses, some niche cases, electric things are fantastic, but in the case of these high-powered quick uses, I don't think they're very good," Steve said. 

American in Silicon Valley

Steve, of San Jose, California, says the U.S. isn't ready for the green revolution, despite the benefits of switching to certain electric products.  (Fox News/Jon Michael Raasch)

But Travis said there are downsides to both options. He raised concerns about battery production polluting the air. 

"You're still polluting the air either way," Travis said. "It's just which one's more beneficial long-term." 

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Supporters have argued that gas-powered lawn and garden equipment emit high pollutants, which can lead to asthma and other illnesses from air pollution. The latest gas-powered lawn mowers running for one hour produce similar emissions as driving a car 100 miles, according to the California Air Resources Board, a state agency that regulates air quality.

But critics have said regulating or eliminating gas-powered products is federal overreach and harms consumer choice. Others have raised ethical concerns about alleged forced child labor in poor conditions to produce batteries.

Gas stove/burner

Democrat-led cities are proposing measures to ban gas-powered products like stoves, raising concerns among critics that the regulations harm consumer choice. (Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

And some, like Steve, said a complete switch to electric-powered equipment just isn't realistic, despite climate benefits. 

"I think that the performance profile is not yet there in terms of electric vehicles or electric tools," Steve said. "It's not quite there in a major way to match traditional, conventional oil and gas."

"I don't think the United States or the world is able to make the switch, however good and convenient and environmentally friendly," he said. 

Megan Myers is an associate producer/writer with Fox News Digital Originals.