Seattle City Council bans gas-powered leaf blowers


The Seattle Times reports that the Seattle City Council has approved a plan to ban gas powered leaf blowers used by the city and contractors by 2025 and homeowners by 2027.

Leaf blowers often garner the wrath of neighbors as early morning yard cleanups can be noisy, but banning gas powered versions of the popular yard tool isn’t going to reduce the noise any time soon.

A typical commercial grade gas powered leaf blower is about 70 decibels vs an electric blower which comes in about 61 decibels. On the decibel scale that is about twice as loud, but in reality, the difference would be similar to a vacuum cleaner and an air conditioner. To the average listener, there isn’t much difference.

Additionally, the proposal cites a reduction in CO2 emissions but banning gas powered blowers won’t have any negligible effect on reducing CO2 emissions. The gas not being used in leaf-blowers, will be used in other gas-powered vehicles and equipment instead.

The detriments of the policy, ignoring the government overreach, however, will have a much larger impact.

First, the cost of replacing perfectly functional leaf blowers for both the City of Seattle and ultimately homeowners and yard maintenance companies will be expensive. Secondly, while a homeowner will be able to blow a yard free of leaves in a relatively short amount of time on one battery charge, a yard maintenance company will need multiple batteries charged each day and potentially several leaf blowers to achieve the same they do today with a simple can of gas.

This policy is a feel-good policy that will have little impact on the perceived problems it was supposed to solve, will increase costs and should be repealed.

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