Equipment Notes: Transitioning to Battery Power

California Emissions Standards Changes for 2024

by James Yundt, president & GM, Roofmaster Products Company

(Editor’s Note: James Yundt is the president and GM of Roofmaster® Products Company and has celebrated nearly 20 years of service with the third-generation company. He has worked in virtually every department at Roofmaster, and continues to oversee all areas of the company and lends his knowledge and industry expertise to sales, marketing, and manufacturing.)

Have you heard about the Leaf Blower and Lawnmower regulation changes that California enacted? It was passed by Assembly Bill 1346 back in 2021 and bans the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers and lawnmowers in the state starting in 2024. While contractors and homeowners may still use gas powered leaf blowers and lawnmowers, you may no longer purchase them new. You may recall the articles in the news that touted that these pieces of landscaping equipment emitted as much or more emissions than a light duty passenger car driving from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. This is all part of the push for California to be emissions free by moving to battery and or electric power.

What wasn’t as widely published was that this would also apply to machinery that uses Small Off-Road Engines that are under 25 gross horsepower. This then rolled up items like chainsaws, weed trimmers, golf carts, and specialty vehicles. We were told that construction and agriculture would be exempt. As we’re now seeing, if the machinery or equipment was not part of specific exemptions, then they would be prohibited from sale. This includes most roofing equipment such as pumps, material handling, tear off, application equipment, and generators.

Before you ask, no, I don’t know how the assembly believes we can roof with battery powered equipment. Screw guns and sawzalls? Sure. But with multiple trades onsite and some application equipment such as hot air welders that require clean power, batteries aren’t an option, and jobsite power is often three phase.

Manufacturers and distributors will still be able to sell affected equipment so long as they are using approved engines. This means that the engines are pre-2024. Many manufacturers and distributors have stock of 2023 equipment that is still able to be sold in California, but when that supply is exhausted, you will no longer be able to buy in California.

What does this mean for you? If you have any plans for buying new equipment, the best time to invest was yesterday. The second best time is today.