EPA to Tighten Standards on Lawn Equipment

Reader Contribution by Aly Van Dyke

Kiss your gas tank good-bye. Well, for your mower anyway.

By 2011, the EPA will require a 35 percent reduction in emissions produced from gas-powered lawn equipment with less than 25 horsepower.

There are some shocking statistics out there about the impacts of gas-powered lawn care equipment. One site I found said Americans use 800 million gallons of gas in one year spent solely on their lawns and that 17 million gallons are lost to spillage alone. The same site said running one gas-powered motor for one hour produces the same pollution as driving eight new cars at 55 mph for one hour. That’s nuts.

EPA officials say the regulations will save 190 million gallons of gas and 300 lives a year, though the changes will cost about $236 million.

Electric lawn-care equipment is already out there, though it is more expensive. According to an article in the Washington Post, electric mowers will cost 18 percent more in three years than gas-mowers do today.

The initial cost may be expensive, but electric mowers save you money in the long run – and help our environment by reducing the release of hydrocarbons into our atmosphere.

If you don’t want to buy a new electric mower yet, don’t worry, there will still be gas-powered mowers on the market until 2011, and even then most will be grandfathered in. In the meantime, here are some ways you can reduce your mower’s impact on the environment. Remember, though, that the older a mower gets, the less efficient it is, thus more hydrocarbons and other particulates into the environment with age.

If you do want to look into buying some electric (or even solar!) lawn-care equipment, here’s an article with some advice on how to make your choice.

One man in the Washinton Post article put it pretty succinctly:

“If they’re a tree-hugger, they’ll pay extra for the environmentally friendly one, and if they think it’s a bunch of bunk, they’ll take the cheaper one.”

By 2010, the EPA requires a 70 percent reduction in emissions from recreational boats.

There are ways we can help the environment in our daily lives; sometimes we just need to a push in the right direction.