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New Ann Arbor Ordinance Restricts Use of Gas-powered Leaf Blowers

Archived News Release: June 20, 2024 - In December 2023, Ann Arbor City Council passed an ordinance with new restrictions on the use of gas-powered leaf blowers within Ann Arbor city limits. The ordinance states that, beginning in 2024, the use of gas-powered leaf blowers will be prohibited in Ann Arbor from June 1 to Sept. 30, meaning the summer ban has already gone into effect. Violations will result in a civil fine of at least $100 for a first offense and at least $250 for a subsequent offense. Ordinance violations can be reported to the Ann Arbor Police Department Community Standards at 734.794.6942.

Outside of this summer ban, the use of gas-powered leaf blowers will remain permitted in Ann Arbor from Oct. 1 to May 30 until Jan. 1, 2028. From Jan. 1, 2028, onward, the use of gas leaf blowers will be prohibited throughout the entire year in Ann Arbor. These use restrictions do not apply to electric leaf blowers, which are still permitted in the city.

The purpose of this ordinance is not only to promote the city's sustainability goals by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also to protect the health and welfare of Ann Arbor residents. Using a gas leaf blower for one hour can emit the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as driving a car over 1,000 miles. In addition to greenhouse gas emissions, gas leaf blowers also release harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like formaldehyde and fine particulates. Exposure to these pollutants increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease and cognitive impairment. Additionally, gas leaf blowers can operate as loud as 100 decibels, which is almost as loud as a jet flyover at a sporting event. This high volume can cause hearing damage as well as stress from noise pollution.

The city says a great alternative to using a gas leaf blower is to skip the leaf blower all together, noting leaving whole or mulched leaves on a lawn provides a much-needed habitat for pollinator species, while a broom or rake can be used to remove leaves from sidewalks or driveways. If a leaf blower is instead being used to remove mowed grass from a sidewalk or driveway, the area being mowed can be reduced by planting native groundcover in place of turfgrass, or by extending the area of garden beds.

Another alternative to using a gas leaf blower is to use an electric leaf blower. Electric leaf blowers are a healthier alternative to their gas-burning counterparts and are widely available. They produce no harmful air pollutants during operation, and they run more quietly than gas leaf blowers. Lawn care companies and property owners are encouraged to watch the Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations (OSI) electric lawn care episode on Green Light, their new series on CTN, to learn more about how to implement electric lawn care. During this episode, they interview Mike Van Patten, director of commercial property management at Oxford Companies, and Gordan Smith, co-owner of NetZero Tree Care, to discuss their success with using electric lawn care. OSI will also launch resources by December 2024to help lower the cost of transitioning to electric leaf blowers.

Residents, business owners and property owners who are interested in learning more about the ordinance, alternatives to gas leaf blowers, how to sustainably dispose of gas leaf blowers, or sustainable lawn care are encouraged to take a look at the OSI gas leaf blower phase-out and pollinator aware yard care webpages.

The City of Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations was founded in 2018 and is guided by the Ann Arbor Carbon Neutrality Plan: A2ZERO. A2ZERO strives toward one unifying vision: Together, creating and implementing a just transition to carbon neutrality, community-wide, by the year 2030. Learn more at  ​

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Media Contact Information

Missy Stults
Sustainability and Innovations Director
[email protected]

Ann Arbor has 123,851 residents, spans 28.97 square miles and is frequently recognized as a foremost place to live, learn, work, thrive and visit. To keep up with City of Ann Arbor information, subscribe for email updates, and follow the city on Twitter and Facebook. The city's mission is to deliver exceptional services that sustain and enhance a vibrant, safe and diverse community.