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2-Stroke Rule Q&A: Updated Weekly

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Submit your questions and then check back here for answers within the week. We will update this page with answers as questions come in.

Will the change from gas to lithium powered devices cause more fires, smoke and death as has happened in New York City?

Bill, Ogden

Lithium-ion batteries are generally safe and unlikely to fail with proper care. The lithium-ion batteries that caused fires in New York City were very large uncertified batteries used for e-bikes and scooters, and their malfunctions were related to quality control issues and improper battery charging.

When would this go into effect?

James, Ogden

As it is currently proposed, the rule will phase in over three years and will impact the activities of a different group each year:  

  • Summer of 2024 – Institutional operations including governmental and higher education groups
  • Summer of 2025 – Residential 
  • Summer of 2026 – Commercial lawn and garden operations

By the summer of 2026 all individuals in the five counties will be covered under the rule. 

How many days in the summer would restrictions be in place?

Terry, Orem

On average, the Division of Air Quality issues 44 mandatory action days during the summer in Salt Lake County as a result of ozone pollution levels. This can range from as few as 14 to as many as 62 days.  

Mandatory action days typically only last only about 1-3 days in a row, but in extreme instances like when wildfire smoke is present, they can last more than a week at a time.

How much of a difference would this policy make as opposed to, say, limiting car travel for non-work trips on poor air quality days? 

Alicia, Salt Lake City

The proposed rule has the potential to drastically reduce volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions throughout the greater Wasatch Front. 

While cars are certainly part of the larger air quality picture, VOC emissions from the lawn and garden sector are equivalent to ~60% of the daily VOC emissions from all vehicles traveling throughout the Wasatch Front. The proposed rule would help to substantially reduce emissions from this sector and would lead to improved summertime air quality. 

Does this mean I can’t use my lawnmower when the air quality is bad?

Rachel, Salt Lake City

No – the proposed rule restricts the use of 2-stroke lawn equipment. The majority of of gas-powered lawn mowers in use today have 4-stroke engines and are not included in this rule.

However, gas-powered lawn mowers still impact air quality. If you can, wait a few days to mow until air quality has improved, and next time you are looking to purchase a lawn mower, consider switching to electric.

I am a facilities manager for a local parks department. If I can’t use trimmers and leaf blowers on bad air quality days, what am I supposed to do?

Tyson, Provo

There are things you can do on days with poor air quality that will allow you to continue to maintain your facilities while also following restrictions on 2-stroke lawn equipment.

  • Use electric equipment. Electric equipment versions of gas-powered 2-stroke lawn equipment is quieter, cheaper to maintain, and provides a much safer experience for the user.
  • Defer maintenance to another day when the air has improved. Keep in mind, bad ozone days typically only last only about 1-3 days in a row, and happen about 41 days in an average summer. However, in extreme instances like when wildfire smoke is present, they can last more than a week at a time.
  • Conduct maintenance that doesn’t require 2-stroke lawn equipment, such as mowing the lawn.

Electric chainsaws for really big jobs just don’t cut it.

Ryan, Cottonwood Heights

While electric 2-stroke replacements have come a long way, we know that heavy-duty chainsaws used for large or commercial jobs are not there yet, which is why the rule only limits the use of small, <6 HP chainsaws.

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