Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A polluter

Gallon for gallon...2006 lawn mower engines contribute 93 times more smog-forming emissions than 2006 cars, according to the California Air Resources Board. In California, lawn mowers provided more than 2 percent of the smog-forming pollution from all engines.
Some of the dirtiest engines on the market are those running our country's lawnmowers. The state of California wants to tighten emission requirements for small engines, which would almost certainly require catalytic converters on lawnmowers.

It sounds like a great idea, however, the lawnmower engine industry has dug their heels into the ground and are stridently opposing the regulation. They're concerned about the added cost to produce the engines. And certainly they're not worried about their own bottom line...
Patricia Hanz, an assistant general counsel for Briggs & Stratton, said, "We acknowledge that there's an air quality problem in California." But she added that Briggs engines were 70 percent cleaner than they were than 15 years ago, before regulation.

To meet the new standards, she said, would require a minimum 30 percent price increase "across our product line."

Ms. Hanz did not explain the components of this projected price increase. The E.P.A. estimates that a catalytic converter and new hoses would cost a company about $20 to $25 per machine, on average.
Honestly, who wouldn't be willing to pay $20 to $25 more to not smell like exhaust after they mow their lawn? That it would be helping the environment is a bonus. I've long thought that cracking down on terribly polluting small engines, such as those in lawnmowers, snowmobiles, ATV's, and small construction equipment, would be a great step towards reducing smog.


Chairman said...

Well, we all know that those little 2-stroke engines are pretty inefficient, and loud as all get out (can't muffle those bad boys - you lose all of your power).

My solution? Migrant lawnmowers. You can probably get 6 illegal immigrants to hand cut and rake your lawn for $25, some ice water, and a cold 12-pack when they're done. No air pollution.

I think that we may have a business plan, actually... For $35, I'll drive out 6 workers, each with those old-school hand-pushed grass trimmers and a rake. They go out, and whoop up on the lawn, and rake it up - in and out in 30 minutes. Figure that you can book it so that you can get 3 houses done in 2 hours. Each work crew works 8 hours, for a total of 12 houses. Bring in $420. Pay out $288 (6 workers x 8 hours x $6/hour). Sign them on as independent contractors, so no insurance. Figure about $20/day for upkeep of the hand-pushers and rakes and buying trash bags. Maybe another $10 a day for gas money to get from site to site. And spend $2 a day to get them a cold beer back at the office when they're done. Clear $100 a day for each work crew.

Just need a steady supply of people willing to work for $6 an hour...


CLauff said...

With the lack of regulation regarding the flow of illegal immigrants into this country (and then being allowed to stay here), I don't think you'd have any problem pulling off that masterful business propostion.