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Why California’s Move to Ban Gas-Powered Generators (and Lawn Equipment) Could Leave Californians in the Dark

Jon Hersey
October 5th, 2021
The Foundation for Economic Education
Comments (16)

This article was originally published by Jon Hersey at the Foundation for Economic Education. 

High voltage post or High voltage tower

“Excuse me,” says your landscaper. “The mower’s out of juice. Mind if I plugin?” You look from the immobile machine to your half-cut lawn. “Outlet’s over there,” you tell him. “But let’s knock $20 off your fee? What are we up to now, 25 cents a kilowatt-hour?”

Welcome to the future. Welcome to California.

The state, committed to net-zero emissions by 2045, is moving to ban sales of gas-powered landscaping equipment as early as 2024. This is not the first attempt. Politicians tried and failed to do the same in 2003. Since then, though, more than half of homeowners in the state have swapped out their consumer-grade equipment for “zero-emission equipment” (ZEE), meaning, battery-powered weed whackers, leaf blowers, hedge clippers, chainsaws, and even lawnmowers.

Many make the switch because, although lower-powered and less reliable (do batteries ever die at the right time?), battery-powered equipment is less noisy. That’s what prompted Mayor Stewart Welch of Mountain Brook, Alabama to begin switching his town’s tools over to electric. The bellow of leaf blowers disturbed his tennis game with a friend who, as chance would have it, had previously complained about the town’s noisy equipment. The city has spent $18,000 over the last year outfitting its public works crew with electric trimmers, blowers, and more.

According to Stanley Black & Decker, sales of the company’s electric yard equipment jumped 75 percent between 2015 and 2020. But, although lots of people are making the switch of their own accord, they’re not doing it fast enough, according to California’s legislative assembly.

The biggest holdouts are those who do landscaping for a living, and for good reason. I searched Husqavarna’s site high and low for battery run time info for its 550iBTX, which one landscaper reviewed as “The best electric blower on the market.” For $469? Not bad, I thought. After lots of web searching about the battery, I gave up and contacted support. Turns out, it does not come with one. The lowest-priced option will cost landscapers an extra $300 and lasts between thirty and sixty minutes. The one the associate recommended, though, costs $969 (yes, more than double the cost of the blower) and “lasts up to 3.5 hours,” he told me. That’s if you run it in “normal” mode, which is half the power of Husqvarna’s $459 gas blower; boost mode saps the power faster and is about 33 percent less powerful than the gas blower.

Some landscapers make electric work, and not just those whose equipment is paid for by taxpayers, as in Mountain Brook. Chris Regis, owner of Florida-based lawn care company Suntek, is able to charge customers between 10 and 20 percent more for all-electric lawn care. He says, “There are people who don’t care and say, ‘I just don’t want the noise.’” All power to them. That’s exactly how free markets work.

Given the numbers above, though, it would take a lot of lawns to make up one’s initial investment with only a 10 or 20 percent upcharge. But Regis’s investment is far greater. He has outfitted the company’s vans with solar panels for recharging batteries on the go—each van costing about $100,000. Reflecting on how much longer the same work now takes him, Jimi Layne of Mountain Brook’s crew asked, “Are we looking at dollars and cents?”

That’s an even more pertinent question in California, where energy prices are the highest in the continental US. (23.11 cents per kilowatt-hour, as of June 2021). Gas is more expensive there, too, in large part because of penalizing policies, but researchers predict electricity prices can only rise in the golden state, thanks to a host of factors. Prices are high, in part, because the size of the state increases transmission costs, as do wildfires on mismanaged public lands that have knocked out critical infrastructure, requiring replacement.

But the biggest contributor to high prices is the state’s push to adopt wind and solar, which require big upfront investments but nonetheless necessitate a reliable backup for when the sun’s not shining and the wind’s not blowing.

This problem came to the fore in 2020 when, for two days, California’s three big energy companies instituted rolling blackouts across the state because the grid could not meet demand. It was a self-inflicted wound. Given the state’s environmental restrictions, many coal-fired power plants are being decommissioned, and thanks to irrational fears, they’re not being replaced with clean, reliable nuclear energy, either.

Instead, taxpayers are being forced to subsidize massive investments in “renewables,” and power companies make up much of the state’s inevitable shortfalls by buying energy from more reliable, fossil-fuel plants in neighboring states. Unfortunately for Californians, on August 14, 2020, when the sun set and solar farms went offline, these companies realized they had miscalculated how big that shortfall would be. Western states were in the grip of a heat wave, and as Californians reached for the AC dials, they lost power altogether.

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    Author: Jon Hersey
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    Date: October 5th, 2021
    Website: https://fee.org/articles/

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    16 Comments...

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    1. Apache says:

      California “IS” the test state for the left/NWO and unless you stop them first. This is what is planned for all other states. The recall for their governor was rigged and thus more is needed to stop these scumbags before they kill us all.

    2. Anonymous says:

      California could solve much more of their power, air quality, traffic, fire, etc. problems by banning their illegal migrants than by banning gas powered lawn equipment.

      But guess what they will do and why, it shouldn’t be hard.

    3. My own experience with enviro-nazis goes like this: Prior to 2005, I used to live in a more urban setting. I had a 1000sq. foot Cape Cod style house built in 1950 on a .2 acre city lot. The area had lots of nice old trees, meaning an annual leaf cleanup and removal. One fall day, while blowing leaves into a big pile for pickup, this little girl (meaning 18-24) was walking by and decides to come onto MY PROPERTY to scold me for using an evil gas powered leaf blower. I shut it off and decided to discuss the terms at which I would agree to be more environmentally responsible. I told her that for the entire year, I used about 4 gallons of gasoline and maybe a quart of 2-stroke oil to maintain my yard, at a cost of about $12 at the time. I told her this was her chance to prove she was on-board with me no longer using my leaf blower; I offered her $25 cash (twice what it would normally cost me) to use my rakes and she was more than welcome to manually rake my yard all season as needed. As the anger started to show on her face, I also said I would provide all the drinking water she would need, as well as feed her a meal if she was there working long enough. As you have guessed, she was not only NOT on board, but I got the usual libtard two-handed one-finger salute and profanity laced tirade. That is when I told her how disappointed I was about her not putting her money where her mouth is, and that she had no right to come onto my property to tell me how to live. I suggested she hastily leave before she won the silver bracelet award from the local PD. She stomped away still yelling her crap, but I could no longer hear her with my ear muffs on and the leaf blower screaming. Now I live on several acres in the woods. The annual leaf cleanup still occurs, but I don’t pick them up, I blow them into the woods. My back country road is 1 1/2 miles long and has 13 houses on it. No one would dare enter my property or any of my neighbor’s like that. Not only might they meet their demise, but their remains would probably never be found.

      • Anonymous says:

        Shouldn’t have told her anything except “get off my lawn!”.

      • I didn’t have the same experience, because I live in on of those Red states where to do such a thing would earn you a trip to jail quick. I also moved to the boonies and do the same exact thing with my leaves. Freedom is good.

      • Bill says:

        Due to her age at the time, it’s probable the greatest influence in her life were her “teachers and educators”. Based on your account she is not intelligent or even educated. Rather, she was obviously programmed, she simply isn’t capable of reasoning, all her responses were products of conditioning. This is just another example of educators trashing another life. She likely went to college and obtained a useless liberal arts degree, or due to lack of skills went on to take a lower wage job; either way, lives a dull and drab life. Maybe out there with blm or antifa or some screeching fem. group believing she is very progressive and making a big difference. Assuming she was 21 at the time she would be going into her laters 30’s now and may be feeling her first pangs of a wasted life.

    4. Darth Skippy says:

      “The time is come, the day draweth near: let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn: for wrath is upon all the multitude thereof.”
      “They shall cast their silver in the streets, and their gold shall be removed: their silver and their gold shall not be able to deliver them in the day of the wrath of the LORD: they shall not satisfy their souls, neither fill their bowels: because it is the stumblingblock of their iniquity.”
      — from Ezekiel 7

      Some of our fundy Boomers used such mental gymnastics to explain how helicopters made the sounds of animals’ hooves, and their windshield was like the face of a locust, and a missile is like an arrow, in Biblical language.

      Post-de-industrialization, what if people simply get paid in rations of grain and fight wars on horseback with weapons made of wood. It probably looks really similar to our non-essential laborers taking shields and flagpoles and ebt cards to an Antifa riot.

    5. Christian Soldier says:

      Most will dismiss this, yet this is the plan of the Lord God, for He planned the beginning, the middle and the end and His counsel will stand.

      Most cry the OT is not for us…yet as a born again by the Spirit of God, a blood bought slave of Christ I am called to preach the word of God…His full word, for it says in 2 Tim 3:16

      2 Timothy 3:16

      16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

      ALL of His word is for learning.

      I’ll point you to the book of Job, which was before the Lord gave the Law to Moses to give to the Israelites, Job walked the earth at the same time of Abraham….

      Key in on verse 23 below and see the Lord God is the One who is sovereign and does as He pleases…

      Job 12:20-24

      20
      He deprives the trusted ones of speech,
      And takes away the discernment of the elders.
      21
      He pours contempt on nobles,
      And loosens the belt of the strong.
      22
      He reveals mysteries from the darkness,
      And brings the deep darkness into light.
      23
      He makes the nations great, then destroys them;
      He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.
      24
      He deprives the leaders of the earth’s people of intelligence
      And makes them wander in a pathless wasteland.

      And to the nation who no longer fears the Lord God and turns from serving the Lord…

      Psalm 9:17

      17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

    6. Soon enough none of this will matter. There will be no spare gas to mow your lawn, much less run a leaf blower. There will be no electricity to charge one up either.

      The supply chains will have long collapsed and your food larder will be empty. There will be no fertilizer to grow food in soil that has been sterilized with pesticides and depleted of nutrients. Cannibalism will have exhausted the majority of edible humans.

      There will only be a few humans left and they will be using sticks to dig in the dirt for bugs to eat before the radiation from the empty spent nuclear fuel storage pools gets them.

      My contribution to doom porn for today…

    7. Andrea.Iravani. says:

      Functionally illiterate Failures in the surveillance state, stop hacking and violating my rights! You do not get to make the rules! The rules have already been made, and the rules are the constitution! If you do not like the rules, then move to another country!

      Andrea Iravani

    8. Anonymous says:

      They lean left out there? Will they need water?

    9. Anonymous says:

      Mayor Stewart Welch. Another mask wearing pillar of society.

    10. Bill says:

      The State and its cohorts have engineered the decline of culture, we are in a collapse of normality. This is why we are always hearing about the new “normal”. Everything, and I mean everything is a g*dd*m lie. Whatever the State says and does is not meant to enhance our quality of life, it is meant to destroy it. It says it wants equality, peace, justice, etc. This is utterly false, only the successfully propagandized believe it. Officialdom has frequently said to the only way achieve these is for all to give up some of our rights. This is actually the goal.
      Don’t be naive, everything the State does is calculated to undermine the people. For example, the State wants us to believe it enhances our rights by allowing same-sex marriage, same-sex use of restrooms, abortions, official recognition of an unlimited number of sexes, control of speech by calling it “hate speech”, etc. The State would have us believe because of these we are more free, more enlightened, and that society is better.
      But what we really get is loss of rights, cultural degradation, and confusion. History shows when society breaks down either the nation eventually dissolves or oppressive authoritarianism is instituted.
      The State plays a game, it gives privileges (like those listed above), but takes away actual rights. In reality this causes enslavement because privileges do not empower the people against the State, only our rights empower the people against the State.
      The gov’t does not endow rights because it cannot. It can give privileges, but our rights are ours by virtue of being born a human. Only our Creator can endow them, gov’t has no right to regulate, limit, or eliminate them. When gov’t attempts to do so it has lost any legitimacy, it reveals itself as anti-God and anti-freedom. I am convinced a large segment of the population would choose to live in a tyrannical system so long as they enjoyed their privileges. This is how degraded our culture has become.
      The greatest enemy of the State are those who insist on being individuals who think, speak, and act independently, who will not subordinate themselves to the State, those who insist on exercising their natural rights, and those who do not believe anything the State says and does not play their game.
      Degrading culture is an age-old technique to controlling a people. Bringing in new languages, or installing new gods (small g), instituting new customs, and changing borders are a few techniques. A simple review of history abundantly shows this.
      As for the electric powered versus gas powered, there is no such thing as “zero emissions equipment” – none. Whether you plug it in to run or it uses a battery it must be use electricity generated from the nearest power plant to be operable. If that power plant (or all the plants in that grid) do not have zero emissions (and it doesn’t) then your electric equipment cannot be called zero emissions equipment. First they eliminate gas powered equipment to eliminate gasoline emissions, then they’ll eliminate your electric powered equipment to further reduce overall emissions.
      I for one do not believe in the green house effect. Sure there is more CO2 now than a few hundred years ago, but CO2 has fluctuated greatly over thousands and even millions of years. There was a time when CO2 was 3000 -5000 ppm, yet no man was on the earth. Ice ages have come and gone, warm spells have come and gone, and CO2 went way up and way down, all long before man ever walked on the earth.
      I believe we need more CO2, not less. Plants and animals have a symbiotic relation the this planet; animals take in oxygen and expel CO2, plants take in CO2 and expel oxygen. Since 1999, due to the increase of atmospheric CO2 the amount of forest cover over the earth has increased 145 million net acres (an area the size of France).
      I know it sounds simplistic, but if the gov’ts of the world truly want to reduce CO2 just initiate a global tree planting campaign. But they won’t because there is no political or economic power to gain by planting trees. Rather, they want to achieve their goals by severely regulating all human activity,

    11. cranerigger says:

      One thing we know for certain – if CA’s management team is recommending it – then it’s absolutely wrong

    12. Anonymous says:

      Many more understand reset & build back better now.

    13. I just finished an hour’s mowing with the ride-on mower I converted to battery electric 8 years ago. Better yet it is now recharging from my solar panel array. Works great; no gas , no commercial electricity for 6 years.

      Live better electrically.

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