Are RV Generators Now Banned In California?
Clean energy bills and pollution initiatives are rolling out across many American states. These laws are being put in place to reduce emissions and create a more environmentally-friendly country, but there is a lot of uncertainty about the specifics and timing of these laws. A new bill was recently passed in California that will ban the sale of new portable gas-powered engines. In later years, this ban will extend to include RV generators.
If you already have a generator in California, you will still be able to use it for now. The current stage of the initiative only prevents the sale of small off-road gas-powered engines. This includes devices like leaf blowers and lawnmowers.
Currently, the plan is to make these off-road engines meet zero-emission standards by 2024. Later on, portable generators (such as RV generators) must also have zero emissions by 2028. This bill has been met with significant amounts of support and opposition. We’ll explore the background and opposing viewpoints of this issue below.
RV Generator Ban in California
This bill was passed on October 11, 2021. There were 47 votes in favor and 22 in opposition, so the bill passed with a majority vote. There are several stages of this law that will come into effect at different times.
First of all, by July 1, 2022 a state board will create reasonable regulations that must be adopted by anyone who wishes to create or sell off-road engines in the state of California. These regulations will then go into full effect in January of 2024 (or sooner if that is deemed feasible by the board).
After January of 2024, nobody will be allowed to sell or purchase new items that are equipped with gas-powered off-road engines. This mainly targets lawn and garden equipment such as leaf blowers, weed whackers, and lawnmowers.
The ban has been put in place due to the heavy emissions that these items put out. The bill mentions that running a leaf blower for 1 hour creates as much pollution as driving 1,100 miles in a car (source).
Once the initial zero-emission standards and policies have been rolled out, they will then extend to portable gasoline-powered generators. This includes generators for recreational vehicles, boats, and homes. These generators must meet zero-emission standards by 2028 (source).
To make this transition easier for the people who must buy new equipment, the state of California has set aside $30 million to help landscaping businesses afford new equipment that aligns with the zero-emissions standards. This is being done so that small businesses can afford to keep up with the legal changes without losing too much money.
What about Californians who already own RV generators?
Californians who already own gas-powered generators, RV generators, and lawn equipment are still legally allowed to own and operate these items even after the bill takes effect (source). No new models will be created or sold after 2024 though. The primary focus of this law is to support the production and sale of new equipment that meets zero-emission standards.
To read the full text of the bill, visit leginfo.legislature.ca.gov.
Points in Favor
This bill was passed with a majority vote, and there are some compelling reasons that explain why it is being put into effect.
First of all, the primary focus of this bill is to reduce pollution. On average, small off-road engines emit 125 tons of reactive organic gases every day (source). By reducing the number of gas-powered engines, they aim to cut down this number and create cleaner air. Smog and pollution are major issues that California faces and this bill is designed to reduce pollution.
The bill also argues that the technology for zero-emission equipment already exists and this bill is designed to encourage the growth and implementation of this technology. With the financial support they are offering, it will be easier for businesses of all sizes to make the transition.
In addition, this bill gained support because many of the items that are being regulated or banned are not seen as essential. It’s much easier to regulate items like leaf blowers instead of cars. This is a small segment of products, but by implementing these changes, there could be a significant and positive impact on the pollution levels of California.
This bill is not a perfect solution to the pollution problems California faces, but it may be a step in the right direction.
Points in Opposition
This new law has also met quite a bit of opposition. With 22 dissenting votes, it was clear that the decision to roll out this initiative was not unanimous. There are several consequences associated with the new regulations and some businesses and customers are not prepared to make the switch.
One of the biggest cons of this new law is the fact that this could compromise the safety and comfort of many California residents. Blackouts are not uncommon in this state and many people rely on their generators as a source of backup power. They provide electricity for heating, internet access, lights, refrigerator, medical equipment, and much more!
Another issue with the ban is the fact that sometimes the alternatives just aren’t practical. Solar power and batteries are major sources of alternative energy, but solar power isn’t always available. If there are clouds, smoke, or other particles in the air then even clean sources of energy can run out. Gasoline is a reliable source of fuel that can be used to keep a home or vehicle operational in times of uncertainty.
Cost is another potential issue. Although California has set aside $30 million to help small businesses make the transition, this money will only stretch so far. Many individuals won’t receive help when they need to upgrade their lawn equipment and some businesses will probably be skipped over when the aid is being distributed.
Many RV owners are also upset about these regulations because RV generators are a major source of power for them. The president of the California RVDA said, “When RV parks lose power, as they often do, the only way to run oxygen tanks, CPAP machines, wheelchair lifts, air conditioners is a generator. Currently there is no other way.” (source).
RV generators are some of the most important pieces of equipment for campers. They need them to travel safely and enjoy a certain level of comfort they have come to expect. This ban might require RVers to travel out of state to purchase new ones.
This has become a safety concern for many residents. Some people are not confident that the technology is advancing fast enough to ensure their safety when other sources of power fail. All of these fears are valid and should be taken into consideration by the state of California.
How to make your voice heard
If you are a California resident and would like to weigh in on this decision, there are ways to do so. You can contact your state representatives and share your point of view. You can also participate in online petitions like Stay Powered California.
If you want to learn more about this organization and read about their goals and sign the petition, visit staypoweredcalifornia.org.
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