Small Engines in California
SORE Population in California (millions)
Emissions are significant
Today, operating the best-selling commercial lawn mower for one hour emits as much smog-forming pollution as driving the best-selling 2016 passenger car, a Toyota Camry, about 300 miles – approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. For the best-selling commercial leaf blower, one hour of operation emits smog-forming pollution comparable to driving a 2016 Toyota Camry about 1100 miles, or approximately the distance from Los Angeles to Denver.
The need for additional controls
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) adopted emissions standards for small engines in 1990 and was the first agency in the world to control emissions from these engines. Due to the regulations put in place by CARB, small engines are 40-80% cleaner today than they were before the program began. In the early 2020s, however, total smog-forming emissions from small engines are projected to exceed those from passenger cars in the South Coast Air Basin because passenger car emissions will continue to decrease. By 2031, small engine emissions will be more than twice those from passenger cars.
CARB actions to reduce emissions
Because of California’s ongoing air quality challenges, additional emissions reductions are needed from small engines. In 2020, CARB will consider new emission standards to achieve additional reductions from small engines to help California meet its goal of reducing smog-forming pollutant emissions from mobile sources by 80 percent in 2031. Significant emission reductions will be achieved through a combination of regulatory and incentive approaches, and a major shift to zero- emission electric equipment will be needed to meet the 80 percent reduction goal.