Gas-powered leaf blowers fall out of favor in Fairfax County

Government agencies in Fairfax County, Virginia, said only battery-powered leaf blowers will be purchased moving forward, as the county phases-out the use of gasoline leaf blowers.

With the pollution and noise from gas blowers, the county said it wants to lead by example and is encouraging contractors and residents to follow suit.



The Park Authority and Department of Public Works and Environmental Services said they have “discontinued the purchase of gas-powered blowers and are exclusively purchasing battery-powered blowers moving forward.”

But the conversion will take some time. The county said it currently owns seven battery-powered blowers, compared to more than 100 gas blowers.

With a life span of up to 10 years, gas-powered blowers will be replaced with battery-powered ones, according to the county.

Last year, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the plan to phaseout gas powered blowers.

“A gas-powered leaf blower produces exhaust containing both hydrocarbons and nitrous oxides both of which are components of smog,” according to the county’s website. “Two-stroke engines, which are used in gas-powered lawn equipment, emit greenhouse gases and are dirtier than engines in most cars and trucks these days.”

In addition to air pollution, switching to quieter battery-powered blowers will lower the volume.

“The noise from gas-powered lawn equipment is not only annoying, it’s also a health risk, both to the person operating the machinery and to those nearby,” according to the county website. “This exposure can lead to learning loss, headaches and hypertension.”

The goal of phasing-out gas blowers was part of the county’s Countywide Strategic Plan.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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