Colorado has found another target in its effort to eliminate fossil fuels.
The state plans to phase out gas-powered cars by 2050. A Colorado city and two counties are suing oil companies for alleged damages from climate change. Another city restricted the construction of new gas stations, and a group of activists are hoping Colorado voters will gut the state’s oil and gas industry.
Now Denver is going after lawn mowers.
Under draft policies circulating at the Regional Air Council, all sales of gas-powered lawn mowers, trimmers and leaf blowers would be banned in Denver by 2025, the Colorado Sun reports.
As with many laws Colorado enacts targeting fossil fuels, the state took its inspiration from California, which enacted a ban on gas-powered mowers in 2021.
Joe Ferris, owner of Joe Ferris Lawns in Cheyenne, told Cowboy State Daily that if he had to replace all his gas-powered lawn equipment with electric, it would be the end of his business.
“I’d be spending a half million dollars,” Ferris said.
He said when adding the cost of replacing gas-powered vehicles, the expenses would be bankrupting.
Prior to downsizing his business in preparation for retirement, he had three trucks and three trailers, along with up to 10 mowers, three power rakes and 10 gas-powered trimmers.
It’s a pretty standard compliment for a lawn-care business, and Ferris said expecting small businesses like his to convert to electric would likely shut most of them down.
“Because most of them are small businesses,” he said. “They can’t afford that.”
Ferris said that he once owned a store that sold Snapper and Stihl equipment. He still has some of the electric chainsaws, blowers and trimmers from those lines.
“They’re not even close to the gas-powered equipment. I mean, the power is good, but you run out of energy in 30 minutes. And then you have to recharge the battery,” Ferris said.
He said each of the batteries can run $300 dollars.
“If you buy three of them, that’s another $1,000,” Ferris said.
He said he has an electric mower that he uses on his own lawn, “Just because I don’t like smelling like gas on the weekend.”
Unlike electric vehicles, electric push mowers tend to be around the same price as gas-powered mowers, depending on features.
More User Friendly
Kyle Peep, arborist with Tiger Tree in Laramie, told Cowboy State Daily the electric equipment can’t be beat.
He doesn’t do lawn care, but the Tiger Tree team uses electric chainsaws.
“Those are becoming more and more popular just because they’re quieter,” Peep said.
Just as Ferris prefers not to smell like gasoline, Peep said when working in a tree all day, it’s nice not to have to breathe in a bunch of exhaust fumes. When up in a tree, it’s also safer if you don’t have to pull-start a chainsaw.
“You just push a button and get it started,” Peep said.
He said when the saws run out of juice, he just pops in another battery and it’s ready to go.
The electric equipment, Peep said, also is easier to maintain without concerns about mixing fuel, and there are fewer parts in the machine.
Newer electric equipment also has standardized batteries, so the same battery can work on different machines.
“It’s just more user friendly,” Peep said.