Gas-Powered Leaf Blowers Prohibited in Residential Neighborhoods

A graphic of a person using a leaf blower with text of gas-powered leaf blowers prohibited in residential neighborhoods

Gas-powered leaf blowers are prohibited in residential neighborhoods. Earlier this year, the City Council established their Council priorities for the year and while it's been a City law since 2005(PDF, 604KB), the City is reminding the public to go with an electric or battery-powered blower, or grab a rake or broom, for landscaping and garden clean ups in our residential areas. Gas-powered leaf blowers not only pollute our air but make a lot of noise that disturb our neighborhoods.

The City of Palo Alto is asking for the community’s help to educate neighbors and local gardeners in using electric or battery-powered leaf blowers or rakes. Palo Alto is a great place to live and work because residents and businesses show pride, care, and concern for their property, neighbors, and environment. City staff are committed to working with the community to ensure that our city continues to be a healthy and safe place to live, work, and visit. Here's what you can do to help.

Convert to Electric or Battery-Powered 

Using a gas-powered leaf blower may be subject to fines. Convert to an electric-powered leaf blower to limit noise and air pollution. Be sure that your electric or battery-powered leaf blower has a noise level of 65 decibels or less at 50 feet (generally, the model number will indicate the equipment's noise level). Don't forget to make your electric leaf blower or extra battery available to your landscaper for their use. Using a gas-powered leaf blower may be subject to fines, so now is the time to convert to electric. 

Share this Information with Neighbors

Some of your neighbors may not be aware of the effects of gas-powered leaf blowers. If you have a relationship with somebody using or employing a gardener that uses a gas-powered leaf blower, you may consider sharing this webpage or downloading the flyers below to keep everyone informed. 

Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Flyer (English)(PDF, 4MB)              Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Flyer (Spanish)(PDF, 4MB)

Report Gas-Powered Leaf Blower Usage

If you see – or hear – someone using a gas-powered leaf blower in a residential area, there are a couple ways to report it. While we recommend education first, residents can submit a report using the Palo Alto 311 app with the day of the week and time of violation.

Education and awareness are the City's first line of defense when it comes to violations. When you report a violation, the City sends an alleged violation warning to the address provided. If a city code enforcement officer can confirm the violation during a follow up inspection, a citation may be issued to property owners. Additionally, Palo Alto Police may issue a citation to someone using a gas-powered blower in a residential area in violation of the ordinance, if they observe the violation.  

Local Resources

 

California Resources

  • The California Air Resources Board sets standards for leaf blowers and lawn mowers. Subscribe to receive the latest information regarding lawn, garden, and landscaping equipment.
  • The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has featured Lawn and Garden Equipment Exchange Programs in the past. Please reach out to grants@baaqmd.gov if you’d like to be included in future communications about any similar programs that may open.
  • Small off-road engines (SORE) are spark-ignition engines rated at or below 19 kilowatts. Engines in this category are primarily used for lawn and garden equipment. See the SORE Fact Sheet to learn more about their emissions.
  • California recently passed a law, AB-1346, banning the sale of gas-powered leaf blowers and lawn mowers starting in 2024. The law also establishes emissions reductions for existing gas-powered leaf blowers as of July 1, 2022. To make the switch easier, the bill also requires the California Air Resources Board to identify and, to the extent feasible, make available funding for commercial rebates or similar incentive funding.