Leave aside, for a moment, the usual complaints about leaf blowers and lawn mowers — that their noise and smell are noxious and inescapable in most neighborhoods. There’s another, more pressing reason to phase out gas-powered garden equipment: This year, for the first time, leaf blowers, weed whackers, lawn mowers and other devices with small off-road engines are expected to produce more smog-forming emissions than passenger cars.
How is that possible? It’s in the numbers — there are more blowers, trimmers and other small engines in California than there are sedans and coupes. And unlike cars, which have gotten cleaner under increasingly stringent emissions standards, garden equipment hasn’t been regulated as strictly.