Bill to incentivize electric lawn equipment passes first committee

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DENVERSenate Bill 16, sponsored by Senator Hansen and Representatives McCormick and Sirota, passed through its first committee, the Senate Transportation &  Energy committee, today by a 5 to 2 vote. Section 8 of the bill creates a tax credit through retailers that could reduce the up-front price for consumers by 30% when they purchase electric-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers, trimmers and snow blowers. 

According to CoPIRG Foundation’s recent report, Small Machines, Big Pollution, gas-powered lawn mowers, leaf blowers and other equipment are big polluters. For example, a consumer-grade leaf blower emits nearly 300 times the amount of ozone-forming pollutants as a 2011 Ford F-150 pickup truck, and operating a commercial lawn mower for one hour can result in as much ozone-forming emissions as driving 300 miles. Switching to electric lawn equipment eliminates these emissions, plus electric equipment can be easier and less costly to maintain than gas-powered counterparts.

Coloradans have been exposed to dangerously high levels of ozone air pollution for over a decade as the northern Front Range has failed to meet EPA air quality standards. If the region can fully transition away from gas-powered lawn and garden equipment, it can achieve nearly one fifth of the reduction needed to meet EPA health-based air quality standards for ozone.

CoPIRG Clean Air Advocate Kirsten Schatz provided the following statement:

“Thank you to the Senate Transportation & Energy committee for hearing Senate Bill 16 today and passing it along to the next step in the process. The bill includes important incentives to reduce the up-front cost for consumers purchasing electric lawn and garden equipment by 30%. Transitioning away from dirty gas-powered equipment as quickly as possible is important because, pound for pound, gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers result in a surprising amount of ozone pollution. Coloradans have suffered from harmful ozone pollution for too long. Encouraging more people to make the switch to electric lawn and garden equipment is a great way to start to tackle our ozone pollution problem.”

The bill will next head to the Senate Finance Committee.