NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Compared to Lawn Mowers, Cars are Environmentally Friendly

May 6, 2004

Due to technological improvements, newer automobiles are less polluting than they have ever been. In fact, compared to the much smaller engines in lawnmowers, they are pristine:

  • In one year, a gas-powered lawnmower pollutes the equivalent of 43 new cars, each driven over 12,000 miles.
  • Retiring just 4,000 gas-powered mowers would reduce air pollution by 20 tons per year -- equivalent to the amount generated by oil refineries over a two-day period in Los Angeles.

Gas-powered emit their fair share of pollutants, and many states are enacting programs to do something about it, according to the New York Times.

  • In Phoenix, a buy-back program which began in 1996 has eliminated 15,504 gas-powered mowers.
  • Recently, clean air authorities in the Los Angeles basin announced a lawnmower "buy-back" program, where those who turn in their old gas-powered lawn mowers receive a $300 credit toward purchasing an electric mower.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger hopes to expand the Los Angeles program to the whole state and include rebate credits for older-model vehicles as well.

Source: Ben Bergman, "To Cut Smog, Los Angeles Places a Bounty on Mowers." New York Times, May 5, 2004.


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