Small engines & air pollution

Gas powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and line trimmers produce more smog and greenhouse gas than you might think. Small engines account for a disproportionate amount of air pollution because pollution controls aren’t high on the list of features that consumers shop for. Compared to an average car, the average lawn mower produces 12 times the amount of emissions for every gallon of fuel burned. Regulation of powertool emissions is a recent development, and still a work in progress. The EPA estimates that without new pollution controls, engines under 50 horsepower will account for 18 percent of smog-forming emissions from mobile sources nationwide by 2020.

Many of these engines individually emit up to 50 times more pollution per horsepower than a typical truck engine. A chainsaw, for instance, typically operated for two hours, emits as much smog-forming hydrocarbons as a new car driven 3,000 miles, according to [California Air Resource Board] staff estimates, while a lawn mower running for 30 minutes will match a car’s hydrocarbon output over 172 miles. Combined, the pollution from all small engines operating in the state [of California] is equal to the hydrocarbon from 3.5 million 1991 model cars, each driven 16,000 miles a year.

Choosing an electric lawn tool shifts the pollution from small engines to power stations. These power stations are cleaner due to efficiencies of scale, and they also have strong emissions controls. Certain emissions (such as Sulfur Dioxide and particulate bound Mercury) are heavily regulated due to their environmental effects. On average, scrubbers at coal powered electrical plants capture 36% of these emissions with the potential for 98% emission control using existing technology.

Battery powered trimmers and electric lawn mowers are great alternatives that offer the same performance without toxic emissions. Protect your little slice of the planet and help green the world at the same time!

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Comment