California Legislation Prohibits Small-Engine Equipment Sales as of 2024
New legislation recently passed in California mandates that small off-road engines (typically defined as a spark-ignition engine producing 25 horsepower or less) can no longer be sold in the state as of 2024. Why? Carbon emissions. According to the California Air Resources Board, operating a leaf blower for one hour produces the same amount of pollution as driving a 2017 Toyota Camry 1100 miles, which equals the distance from Los Angeles to Denver.
And the impact of this law will be significant: 16.7 million small-engine devices are in operation in California, compared to 13.7 million cars. Most of these small engines are in lawn and garden equipment, owned by private individuals or landscaping companies. Eventually, they will all be replaced by clean energy alternatives. (Cars will be next, with the sale of gas-powered vehicles in California halting in 2035).
Landscaping, in particular, is big business in California: it’s projected to pull in $11.1 billion in revenue by the year 2024. Homeowners and businesses clearly want to pay someone else to care for their lawn and garden needs, and that appetite won’t diminish with the new law. There will still be exteriors to power wash and lawns to mow, regardless of the legislation.
Start Planning Now to Replace Your Tools
Obviously, legacy equipment that’s already in use can still be operated past 2024, but replacing it once it’s worn out is a daunting prospect, especially for small business owners who rely on gas-powered equipment. And even someone who doesn’t pay much attention to the news can tell you why: inflation is rising, supply chains are backed up, and business owners still recovering from the economic ravages of the pandemic don’t have a lot of cash on-hand.
But you can plan ahead and play the long game. Inflation might stabilize, but it probably won’t reverse much; homeowners and lawncare pros will look to buy new equipment in Q4 of 2023. For the best pricing and availability, start thinking now about how soon you can replace your gas-powered equipment.
Switching Might Actually Save You Money
The good news: if you can get over the initial start-up cost, electric tools might save you money in the long run. The electricity to operate them, on average, costs less than the fuel required for gas-powered tools. Plus, utility costs are generally more stable than gas prices, making it easier to forecast business expenses.
Additionally, electric tools require less maintenance than gas-powered equipment. There’s no hassling with oil filters, leaks, or mechanic fees. Employees don’t need specialized knowledge to troubleshoot their tools, and you’ll save a bundle on replacement parts.
That said, the costs of converting to electric tools can still be significant for business owners operating commercial-grade equipment. If that’s the case, consider point-of-sale financing for your purchase. Applying is quick and easy, and the loan is self-collateralized by the equipment—meaning that your other business assets stay protected.