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Mower, Trimmer Discounts Aim To Cut Pollution

The Department of Environmental Quality wants to help Utahns to swap out noisy, exhaust-sputtering gas lawn equipment with quieter and cleaner electric models.

They're doing it through the CARROT incentive program.

“Some of our scientists have run some numbers,” says Lisa Burr, who oversees incentives at DEQ. “Emissions from one gasoline mower operated for one hour is equivalent to a passenger car traveling 169 miles.”   

Running a gas trimmer means around the same pollution as driving 159 miles.

Registration opens at 8 a.m. Wednesday to get discounted lawn equipment through the CARROT program. Mowers that usually cost $399 dollars will cost as little as $100 for people who trade in their gas-powered machines. And people can buy a discounted trimmer for as little as $25 with a gas trade-in.

The electric mowers and trimmers will be available for pickup on April 23. But there’s a limited number of them, and Burr expects the electric yard equipment to go fast, like they did last year.

“As soon as it was announced that this incentive was available for lawn equipment,” she says, “the phones were ringing off the hook and the registrations were taken immediately.”

Funding from the State Legislature is paying for the program this spring. But lawmakers didn’t renew the appropriation for next spring, even though cutting emissions like these is considered essential to cleaning up the Wasatch Front’s air.

Judy Fahys has reported in Utah for two decades, covering politics, government and business before taking on environmental issues. She loves covering Utah, where petroleum-pipeline spills, the nation’s radioactive legacy and other types of pollution provide endless fodder for stories. Previously, she worked for the Salt Lake Tribune in Utah, and reported on the nation’s capital for States News Service and the Scripps League newspaper chain. She is a longtime member of the Society of Environmental Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors. She also spent an academic year as a research fellow in the Knight Science Journalism program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. In her spare time, she enjoys being out in the environment, especially hiking, gardening and watercolor painting.
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